Sociologist from Malta

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Feedback to public consultation - Maltese Gas Price Methodology

With reference to the following public consultation, https://meae.gov.mt/en/Public_Consultations/MEW/Pages/Consultations/MalteseGasTransmissionSystemReferencePriceMethodologyinaccordancewithCommissionRegulationEU2017460of16March2017.aspx

I sent the following to the Ministry for Energy and Water Management (Melita TransGas Company Ltd.)

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With reference to the initiative above, I am hereby appealing to the Ministry for Energy and Water Management (Melita TransGas Company Ltd) to employ 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:

A social impact assessment reviews the social effects of development and social change, both intended and not.

The International Association for Impact Assessment defines an SIA as the process of analysing, monitoring and managing the intended and unintended social consequences, both positive and negative, of planned interventions and any social change processes invoked by those interventions.

Such changes may range from natural disasters to population growth and from policy interventions to singular development projects. Consequently, SIAs investigate the effects on people’s everyday lives in terms of culture, politics, community, health, well-being, aspirations, needs, rights and responsibilities, to name a few.  They provide data for policymaking, which is based on evidence.

Social impacts under assessment should include all those things relevant to people’s everyday life. This may include one’s culture, community, political context, environment, health, well-being, personal and property rights as well as fears and aspirations.

Social impact assessments can help verify the consequences and impacts of policy proposals in relation to the communities involved. Hence, a basic starting point for such assessments should be the compilation of a community profile. A social impact assessment that does not understand the society in question is practically worthless.

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 surveys of concerned populations who are asked questions on their perceptions of the change in question. Ethnographic methods may involve a deeper look into everyday practices of people, while elite interviews may verify the advice, concerns and interpretations of persons who are experts or who have experience in the respective field under analysis.

Methods may also involve the analysis of discourse on the subject in question, for example by looking at what is being pronounced in the public sphere, whether by the public, civil society, political actors, the media and the like.

SIAs should involve the participation of different stakeholders, ideally through mixed research methods.

Some other factors which should be included in social impact assessments include the consideration of reasonable alternatives to development proposals as well as comparative analysis of similar development proposals and related good or bad practices.

Analytic indicators should be provided and the entire process should be subject to peer review by independent experts in the field.

Social impact assessments should not be one-off exercises which are rubber-stamped by authorities without any sense of critical engagement. 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.

Recommendations and mitigation measures could therefore be in place, and these would be based on social-scientific evidence.

It is also important that SIAs are peer-reviewed. 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, conflicts and possible improvements to the same SIA.

Dr Michael Briguglio
Sociologist


Feedback to Public Consultation regarding Light Pollution


I sent the following to the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning (Environment & Resources Authority and Planning Authority)

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Public Consultation: Guidelines for the Reduction of Light Pollution in the Maltese Islands

With reference to the commendable initiative above, I am hereby appealing to the Environment & Resources Authority and the  Planning Authority to employ 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


Feedback to Public Consultation - Jerma Palace Hotel in Marsascala


I have submitted the following to the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning:

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Public Consultation - Comprehensive Plan to Regenerate Derelict Site of Former Jerma Palace Hotel in Marsascala

With reference to the initiative above, I am hereby appealing to the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning to employ 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 public consultation regarding SIAs dated 17 May 2019. Link: https://meae.gov.mt/en/Public_Consultations/MTI/Pages/Consultations/PAproposestointroduceSocialImpactAssessmentProcedures.aspx

My correspondence dated 31 May 2019 to the PA regarding refers in link below. To date, I have not been informed of any policy update in this regard. 


Dr Michael Briguglio
Sociologist


Firefighting or uniting - Michael Briguglio

My op-ed in today's Malta Independent discusses the political ramifications related to the investigations of Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder.

You can read the article from the following link:



Friday, June 19, 2020

A brief look at Montenegro - One of the Malta Labour Government's energy partners

A joint investigation by Reuters and Times of Malta reveals evidence that  Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech secretly made a €4.6 million “profit” via his secret company 17 Black off Enemalta’s decision to buy a wind farm in Montenegro. 

In reaction, the opposition Partit Nazzjonalista stated that the Police should interrogate those involved in the Enemalta deal, adding that Joseph Muscat (Ex-Prime Minister and current consultant of Prime Minister Robert Abela), Keith Schembri  (ex-Chief of Staff of Joseph Muscat and Panama Papers protagonist) and Konrad Mizzi (ex-Minister and Panama Papers protagonist) had taken personal interest in the project.

In the meantime it is pertinent to note how Montenegro is rated according to three top global democracy indexes:

Freedom House considers Montenegro to be 'partly free' (worse than 'free' but better than 'not free'), and within it 'corruption is a serious issue'.

Varieties of Democracy dubs Montenegro an 'electoral autocracy +'  (Liberal Democracies are ranked highest, followed by Electoral Democracies; Electoral Autocracies and Closed Autocracies respectively).

The Economist Democracy Index rates Montenegro in the 84th place out of 167 countries. It is dubbed a 'hybrid regime' (worse than 'full democracies' and 'flawed democracies' but better than 'authoritarian regimes). 

In their seminal work 'Democracy in Small States', scholars Jack Corbett and Wouter Veenendaal state that Montenegro 'has applied to join the EU and has met many of the necessary criteria, but organized crime and freedom of speech remain stumbling blocks to accession.... The political system is dominated by a single party - the Democratic Party of Socialists - the origins of which can be traced back to the old communist party within the federation of Yugoslavia'.

In the meantime, Maltese tax payers and energy consumers keep being robbed on a daily basis due to the privatization and selling of public energy assets by the Joseph Muscat government. Robert Abela's government has retained the same energy policy. 

Links:







Thursday, June 18, 2020

#SaveManoelIsland - The struggle continues

Well done to FAA - Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar and Inħobbu l-Gżira who persisted in this struggle. I am proud to have done my part on this matter, in which I have been active since the 1990s.  Read more here:

Objection to DB overdevelopment in Pembroke

I have just sent this objection to the Planning Authority regarding the updated plans by DB group for its City Centre project (Info: https://www.pa.org.mt/en/pacasedetails?CaseType=PA/03807/17%20))

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To:
representations@pa.org.mt
Subject: PA/03807/17

Attn Planning Authority

I am hereby objecting to DB Group's project on the ex-ITS site (PA 3807/17).

I endorse the objections being made by NGOs and Local Councils regarding violations of planning policies.

I am also hereby appealing to the Planning Authority to employ 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



Monday, June 15, 2020

#Ħsibijiet (54) Politika li temmen fid-dinjita' tiegħek

Il-qafas ta' l-istatut tal-Partit Nazzjonalista huwa riżultat ta' proċess twil ta' djalogu u dan huwa suġġett għall-approvazzjoni tal-Kunsill Ġenerali tal-Partit.

Dan hu proċess ta' demokrazija u deliberazzjoni, u mhux xi eżerċizzju mgħaġġel ta' rubberstamping ta' ejja ħa mmorru. Huwa proċess trasparenti u miftuħ, u mhux wieħed ta' xi klikka  minn wara l-kwinti. 

Il-proposti jixhdu demokrazija ħajja, kemm fl-organizazzjoni bottom-up, kif ukoll fil-valuri li jpoġġu l-persuna fiċ-ċentru tal-politika. Il-gender mainstreaming, id-demokrazija fuq livelli lokali, reġjonali u nazzjonali, l-anti-diskriminazzjoni u l-ħarsien tal-ġid komuni huma kollha parti minn dan l-istatut. L-outreach soċjali u r-riċerka huma valoriżżati, u dan ifisser li minflok mal-Partit jippretendi li għandu xi monopolju fuq moħħok, huwa partit li jisma', li janaliżża biex jifhem lis-soċjeta' li qed ngħixu fiha sabiex jipproduċi politika verament tan-nies.

Din hi l-politika tal-perżważjoni u tad-djalogu. Politika li temmen fid-dinjita' tiegħek, u mhux li tikkunsidrak bħala numru. Politika li tivvaloriżża d-djalogu, u mhux tmewwitha.

Nistiednek taqra il-punti ewlenin ta' dan l-istatut minn dawn il-links:


Sunday, June 14, 2020

#Ħsibijiet (53): Il-Partit Nazzjonalista

Il-proċess ta' riforma fil-Partit Nazzjonalista huwa bżonnjuz u pożittiv. 

Il-fatt li hemm pożizzjonijiet differenti u teħid ta' deċiżżjonijiet fi ħdan il-partit juru li l-proċess demokratiku qiegħed hemm u qiegħed jaħdem. Din tixhed trasparenza, għaliex id-deċiżżjonijiet li jieħu huma suġġetti għad-diskussjoni interna u esterna u huma kontinwament taħt skrutinju kemm mill-attivisti u t-tesserati fil-partit kif ukoll mill-pubbliku u mill-media. Hemm deliberazzjoni, b'parteċipazzjoni wiesgħa, f'livelli differenti, u mhux mistura mill-pubbliku. 

Naħseb li meta wieħed jagħsar id-diskors, il-mottos, u l-evoluzzjoni tal-Partit Nazzjonalista, isib li l-essenza tiegħu għandha tkun dik li tfassal politika li tgħaqqad fil-kuntest tas-soċjeta' Maltija. F'dan ir-rigward, b'Nazzjon wieħed jista' jifhem soċjeta' inklussiva, demokratika u deliberattiva. Waħda li tisma' daqs kemm titkellem. 

Umbrella; mużajk; proċess demokratiku:  Politika li minflok ma tipprova tinponi narrattiva monolitika fuq is-soċjeta' Maltija, taddatta u tevolvi mar-ritmu soċjali ta' pajjiżna u tipproponi politika għall-ġid komuni u għad-dinjita' tal-persuna. 

Għalhekk il-PN għandu jkun parti mis-soċjeta' Maltija daqs kemm għandu jkun aġent tal-bidla. Bħall-għeruq indukrat f'ekoloġija li tagħti l-frott. 

Aqra iktar hawnhekk:


Friday, June 12, 2020

Magħtab development proposal requires studies before consideration

I have just sent this objection to the Planning Authority regarding PA 3012/20 - The outline application for the construction of a Waste to Energy Plant at Maghtab. (Info: https://www.pa.org.mt/en/pacasedetails?CaseType=PA/03012/20 )

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With reference to the above, I am hereby appealing to the Planning Authority to employ a Strategic Environment Assessment, an Environment Impact Assessment/Statement and a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) process.  As regards the latter , please note that this goes beyond a one-off survey. You may wish to refer to my correspondence dated 31 May 2019 to the PA regarding SIAs. A copy of my correspondence can be obtained from this link: 


The Planning Authority should ensure that these assessments/studies should also look into alternatives. This should be done before processing the application in question.

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You too can write to the Planning Authority - deadline today - send your email to representations@pa.org.mt and refer to PA 3012/20. You can also send your objection from this link: https://www.pa.org.mt/en/pacasedetails?CaseType=PA/03012/20