The Għajn National Water Conservation Awareness Centre in Rabat, managed by The Energy and Water Agency, has won the prestigious European Sustainability Award for 2019, organised by the European Commission. This was awarded during the Sustainable Europe 2030 – From Goals to Delivery conference, organised in Brussels by the European Strategy Centre of the EC.
Through its efforts to raise awareness on the challenges facing the water sector in the Maltese Islands, within the context of sustainable resources management, the Centre was awarded the 2019 European Sustainable Award for the public entities category. This was the first edition of these Awards, with the theme chosen being ‘Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality’.
This prize is awarded to those projects and initiatives that focus their efforts in turning the Sustainable Development Goals into concrete actions and opportunities. In fact, in its actions, the Għajn Water Conservation Awareness Centre, addresses 10 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is a United Nations initiative.
Ever since its opening back in April 2017, the Centre has welcomed close to 6,000 visitors, of which 2,500 were children on school visits, with the aim of promoting water conservation awareness and sustainable water resources management. One of Għajn’s main targets is the future generation with specific focus on primary and secondary school students. In fact, the Centre carries out daily organised school visits in winter and hosts hundreds of Skola Sajf students in the summer months. All the interactive, educational games, which have been specifically designed for the Centre have themes that correspond to those being thought in local schools as part of the National Curriculum. Therefore, these visits consolidate what is being taught in formal education, in an informal manner. Furthermore, through the support of the LIFE-RBMP Malta Project, schools are able to make use of free transport facilities to and from the schools. In this way, a school visit to the Centre is completely free of charge, making it more accessible to all children.
The Centre also hosted several other groups ranging from youth associations, NGOs and senior citizen associations who also had the opportunity to experience the Centre’s water conservation message.
Different organisations and associations have helped the Centre deliver its water conservation message, such as MIO-ECSDE (Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development) and Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean who supported the development of the Centre’s tailor-made educational programme. Ekoskola Initiative and Nature Trust Malta also provided invaluable support on the educational content, together with HSBC Water Programme who set up a Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at the Centre.
Energy and Water Management Minister Joe Mizzi congratulated the Energy and Water Agency for the awarding of this prestigious European prize. He remarked that this is not simply an award for the Centre or the Agency but for the country as Malta managed to win this amongst all EU member states that participated.
To mark this award, GĦAJN will be holding an open week between the 24th and 28th April. More details on the event are available here.