The 13th EkoSkola Parliamentary SessionApril 20, 2018
84 students from 42 schools schools convened this morning at Parliament for their yearly appointment with the islands’ policy makers. The event was organized by Nature Trust- FEE Malta which runs the Eco-Schools programme, in joint collaboration with the Office of the Speaker.
Students expressed their rising concern about various issues and decisions that in some way or another are affecting their quality of life in their homes and school communities. Not only did the students express their concerns but they also brought forward tangible recommendations of which most have already been tried and tested in their schools but have as yet to be endorsed in the House of Representatives to bring about the much desired change. Buildings in Malta, organic farming, marine litter, recreational areas in Gozo, voting rights and responsibilities of 16-year olds, eating responsibly – improving kids’ menus in restaurants, noise pollution and the effects of the road widening exercises were amongst the issues discussed.
Nature Trust-FEE Malta have been running the Eco-Schools programme for the past 15 years and are firm believers that; notwithstanding their tender age and irrespective of their gender, socio-cultural background and religion all students are capable of participating in decisions that ultimately affect their quality of life. Mr Vincent Attard – Executive President of Nature Trust-FEE Malta said that; ‘Year after year students keep coming to Parliament full of expectations, and innovative ideas only to realize that just a fraction of their recommendations are heeded and perhaps surface many years later in some budget speech. Instead of losing hope they keep coming here determined more than ever and with various other recommendations to question why so many precious time is being lost and at what cost’.
During the sitting there were also a number of interventions from various schools highlighting the work being done at school through the other ESD international programmes YRE (Young Reporters for the Environment) and LEAF (Learning About Forests) and the We Eat Responsibly Project which are also run by Nature Trust –FEE Malta.
The highlight of the session was undoubtedly the tabling of the motion were once again, the students called on the MPs to endorse their unstinting efforts and urged them to act on their recommendations. The motion specifically asks for more frequent meetings with the Members of Parliament as is the case in Gozo were the first ever Regional Eco-Schools Committee is being presently established with representatives from all the Eco-Schools in Gozo to meet up with the Minister for Gozo on a frequent basis. The motion was unanimously approved.
The 13th EkoSkola parliamentary sitting was chaired by Deputy Speaker Hon. Claudette Buttigieg and attended by a number of MPs from political parties.