Sociologist from Malta

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Feedback to public consultation on Water Catchment Management Plan

I have submitted the following: 

Ministry for Energy and Water Management​
(​Energy and Water Agency)
water-energywateragency@gov.mt

Re: Consultation on the Significant Water Management Issues in preparation for the development of the 3rd Water Catchment Management Plan  

Link: 

With reference to the consultation in question, may I propose that the proposal and consultation exercise employs a social impact assessment process, to ensure greater outreach and deliberation with stakeholders. An SIA could produce valuable evidence for policy formation and implementation.  Various methods, both quantitative and qualitative could be used within social impact assessments. The former refers to generalisable data especially through numbers, while the latter produce in-depth data on matters. Research methods in SIAs may therefore include, for example, quantitative perception surveys and qualitative methods  which involve a deeper look into social realities. Besides, elite interviews may verify the advice, concerns and interpretations of persons who are experts or who have experience in the respective field under analysis. SIAs should involve the participation of different stakeholders, ideally through mixed research methods. Analytic indicators should be provided and the entire process should be subject to peer review by independent experts in the field. 

This means that if a study is being carried out by a team of social scientists, this should be scrutinised by other independent social scientists. This could help identify shortcomings and possible improvements to the same SIA.


Social impact assessments should not be one-off exercises: To the contrary, they should be ongoing processes which engage with various stakeholders and which report back so as to ensure effective policy processes. They should also use complementary research methods so as to ensure reliable and valid data.


In this regard, you may refer to international SIA standards, for example those set by the International Association for Impact Assessment, which is accessible from this link:


Dr Michael Briguglio
Sociologist









Ħsibijiet (62) Narrattivi pubbliċi

Pajjiżna mhux nieqes mill-kontroversji soċjali. 

Kemm il-darba ninnota li jinħolqu narrattivi li jiġu ripetuti fl-isfera pubblika, minn netwerks differenti u f'setturi varji, illi mhux bilfors ikunu ibbażati fuq evidenza jew proċess deliberattiv. Jistrieħu fuq twemmin li n-netwerk "tiegħi" bilfors għandha monopolju fuq il-verita' u interessi leġittimi. Fl-istess ħin, min mhux magħna huwa bilfors kontra tagħna. Ma jimpurtax jekk ħaddieħor isaqsi mistoqsijiet jew saħansitra jippreżenta evidenza li ma taqbilx man-narrattivi ta' dawn in-netwerks.  Anzi, ġaladarba dak il-ħaddieħor mhux wieħed minnha, niddemoniżżawh, għax bilfors ħażin. Ħalliha li nagħmluha tal-bravi u tal-inklussivi.

Analiżi ta' dan it-tip ta' fazzjonaliżmu dommatiku, ta' dawn il-proċessi ta' poter tista' ssir dwar kwistjonijiet, organiżazzjonijiet u kampanji speċifiċi. Jistgħu jiġu analiżżati id-diskors, il-kompożizzjoni u l-iffinanzjar tan-netwerks, l-interessi, l-istrateġiji u l-antagoniżmi fost inkontri u proċessi soċjali oħra.


Navigating through Covid - Michael Briguglio

In my op-ed in today's Malta Independent I discuss various dilemmas which we face when navigating through Covid-19.

You can read the article here:

https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2020-09-17/blogs-opinions/Navigating-through-COVID-6736226986


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Feedback to public consultation on the trapping of finches

My feedback to public consultation: Conservation of Wild Birds (Framework for Allowing a Research Derogation To Determine Malta’s Reference Population of Seven Finch Species) Regulations, 2020

 Attn:

Ministry for Gozo 
(Wild Birds Regulation Unit)
wildbirds@gov.mt

With reference to this public consultation, I am submitting the following points for your consideration.

1. The policy proposal will allow trappers to keep the birds they trap without any form of enforcement or accountability. This goes against the spirit of the policy framework in question 
2. The scope of the scientific study should be to improve the conservation of finches rather than to be used as a political excuse to derogate from the directive in question. The methodology requires scientific accreditation and independent peer review.
3. The methodology being proposed will allow around 4,000 non-scientifically trained people to trap birds simultaneously using live decoys and electronic lures in a small island state. This looks like a case of over-pressure on migrating finches. The methodology requires scientific accreditation and independent peer review.
4. The proposal and consultation exercise requires a social impact assessment process, even more so since the policy proposal looks tailor made to accomodate one lobby amid a much broader field of stakeholders. An SIA could produce valuable evidence for policy formation and implementation.  Various methods, both quantitative and qualitative could be used within social impact assessments. The former refers to generalisable data especially through numbers, while the latter produce in-depth data on matters. Research methods in SIAs may therefore include, for example, quantitative perception surveys and qualitative methods  which involve a deeper look into social realities. Besides, elite interviews may verify the advice, concerns and interpretations of persons who are experts or who have experience in the respective field under analysis. SIAs should involve the participation of different stakeholders, ideally through mixed research methods. Analytic indicators should be provided and the entire process should be subject to peer review by independent experts in the field. 

This means that if a study is being carried out by a team of social scientists, this should be scrutinised by other independent social scientists. This could help identify shortcomings and possible improvements to the same SIA.


Social impact assessments should not be one-off exercises: To the contrary, they should be ongoing processes which engage with various stakeholders and which report back so as to ensure effective policy processes. They should also use complementary research methods so as to ensure reliable and valid data.

 

Dr Michael Briguglio
Sociologist


Photo: The Malta Independent


Monday, September 07, 2020

#Ħsibijiet (61) Klassiżmu politiku

Meta wieħed janaliżża l-istrateġiji ta' dawk li jeċċellaw fl-esklużjoni ta' min ma jappartjenix fin-netwerks tagħhom, wieħed jista jinnota diskors selettiv u kontradittorju. Id-diskors jiġi analiżżat kemm b'dak li jintqal, kif ukoll b'dak li ma jintqalx: Dak li jiġi mwarrab mill-aġenda politika.

In-nuqqas ta' trasparenza tikkumplika l-affarijiet. Izda analiżi strutturata ta' dan il-klassiżmu politiku jurik kif jitfasslu dawn in-netwerks, kif u meta toħroġ il-propaganda u x'għodda tintuża għal dan il-għan.  

 





  

Feedback to Public Consultation - Aarhus Convention National Implementation Report 2021

I submitted the following with regards to this public consultation.

 To: 

aarhus.malta@era.org.mt
Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning
(
Environment & Resources Authority)

Re: Public Consultation - Intent and Objectives: Consultation on the Aarhus Convention National Implementation Report 2021
Link: 
https://meae.gov.mt/en/Public_Consultations/MECP/Pages/Consultations/IntentandObjectivesConsultationontheAarhusConventionNationalImplementationReport2021.aspx

With reference to above, I hereby propose that the policy process employs a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) process, which is in accordance with international standards for example those set by the International Association for Impact Assessment, which is accessible from this link:

In this regard, please refer to my correspondence dated 31 May 2019 to the PA regarding SIAs. To date, I have not been informed of any policy update in this regard.

A copy of my correspondence can be obtained from this link: 

Dr Michael Briguglio
Sociologist




Sunday, August 30, 2020

#Ħsibijiet (60) Dibattiti u Due Diligence

Fil-futur qrib, it-tesserati tal-Partit Nazzjonalista ser jikkonfermaw lil Adrian Delia jew jagħżlu lil Bernard Grech bħala Kap tal-Partit. 

F'isem it-trasparenza u d-demokrazija, nemmen li t-tesserati u l-pubbliku għandhom dritt li jkunu mgħarfa dwar id-due diligence taż-żewġ kandidati u li jaraw dibattiti bejnithom.

Nittama li din tkun elezzjoni fejn tiġi rispettata l-intelliġenza ta' min ser jivvota. Fejn ikun hemm deliberazzjoni bejn ideat, stili, proposti u persunaġġi differenti, u mhux strateġiji sensazzjonalisti u distruttivi minn wara l-kwinti. 



Thursday, August 27, 2020

The breakdown of Omerta'

Today's court hearings regarding the murder of #DaphneCaruanaGalizia:

Last November 23rd, I sensed a breakdown of omerta'. In my blog I wrote as follows:

"When Mizzi and Schembri were not fired during the Panama Papers scandal it was clear that they had disproportionate power within the ruling elite.
The recent turn of events indicates that implosion may be knocking at the door of the same elite. The requests for presidential pardons hints the breakdown of omerta' and the spread of distrust and panic. Government's refusal to urgently discuss matters in Parliament, as requested by the Opposition suggests that the ruling elite is trying to cover up its newly found weakness and confusion by stonewalling debate. It is trying to put on a brave face behind precarious unity. A waiting game is in place, but in the meantime cans of worms may still be opened within the judicial process. Behind the apparent unity of the power bloc, elites may be calculating the best way to save themselves.
In such instances I admire those who see the bigger picture and act accordingly, irrespective of their affiliations and orientations. There are plural possible political outcomes, but the great unifier is that the current situation is untenable"