19 JUNE 2002

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Malta Chamber of Planners gets European recognition

The Spring 2002 Assembly of the European Council of Town Planners (ECTP) has recently accepted the Malta Chamber of Planners as its 23rd member. The ECTP is made up of the organisations which are, or have the potential to be officially recognised as the national professional institutes or associations of chartered or certified planners in the countries where they are established, and whose members have the appropriate academic background and practical experience in the field of spatial development planning.

The Malta Chamber of Planners is an autonomous institute of professional practitioners of spatial planning in Malta. It was established in order to promote quality and ethical conduct in the practice of planning in the Maltese Islands. It has encouraged and is advocating the diffusion of a culture of collaborative and transparent planning within the different sectors of the public service, and in private sector organisations. A few years ago it presented the Maltese Government with a draft for a bill for an act which would regulate the practice of planning in Malta.

It should be noted that officially, planning has been practised in Malta since 1992, and to date, it is a relatively unregulated activity when compared with other professions which are active in the Islands. This means that there are no clear guidelines concerning the academic background and the type of practice which would be required for a person to be permitted to operate in Malta as a chartered or certified planner. In the opinion of the Chamber, 10 years is too long a period for institutions like the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (previously the Planning Authority) to operate in an environment where the practice of planning is not guided by principles and codes which are specific to its role in society.

It should be noted that the ECTP was formed in order to oversee, through collaboration with national professional institutes, the attainment of high standards of planning practice, ethical conduct, and education which are consistent across the European Union (EU). Indeed, the ECTP collaborates closely with the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) in the endeavour of the latter in the development of a Europe-wide common core curriculum for University-level courses leading to the attainment of planning degrees.

In view of the increasing levels of the involvement of spatial planners in the formulation and realisation of EU level regional policy, and of local development initiatives in Member and Candidate States, the role of the ECTP has attained a high degree of significance. Given this state of affairs, the ECTP has initiated a programme designed to keep its members continuously updated with developments in EU policies in fields, like economic development, environmental protection, public health, and transportation, which planners operating in Member and Candidate States should be conversant with in the day-to-day practice of their profession. From the point of view of the Malta Chamber of Planners, membership in the ECTP enables its members to network, participate in projects, and compete with their European colleagues on a level playing field. Their ability to operate effectively at a European level, however, would be greatly assisted once planning is recognised as a viable and distinct profession in Malta.



Copyright © Network Publications Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07, Malta
Tel: (356) 21382741-3, 21382745-6 | Fax: (356) 21385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt