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MASTER OF ARTS IN ISLANDS AND SMALL STATES STUDIES
ASSIGNMENT TITLES FOR SEMESTER 1 (2015/16)
Study Unit: ISS5001- Overview of Environmental Concerns for Islands and Small States
As course work, students will be expected to respond to 8 assignments set by the lecturers by
writing 8 essays (circa 2000 words).
Deadline:- Tuesday 29th January 2016 at 12.00 (however students are advised to complete these
assignments earlier, so as not to spread the load over the whole semester).
Clearly indicate the assignment question on your work. No assignments will be accepted by e-mail
and no plagiarism will be tolerated.
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1. Alternative Energy (Dr Ing. Charles Yousif)
Take a local council of your choice and investigate the level of sustainability in the locality. Comment on
the achievements made so far (positive and negative).
Propose new suggestions that the local council can take in the area of energy and alternative energy. It
would be interesting if you manage to interview the environment officer of the local council and see what
future plans they are making in this field. You can also use internet resources as well as the Local Council
Association Website.
You DO NOT have to cover all aspects of sustainability but only some of them.
The end result of your assignment should be a condensed policy document for the next 5 years, should
you get elected to the post of Environment Officer within that Council.
Keywords: (Energy, electricity, transport, waste management, solar heating, photovoltaic, renewable
energy, homes, commercial sector, public areas, street lights, educational campaigns, special industries
(within the locality).
Hints: Why sustainability? How can sustainability be fostered in a small locality? What are the main
drivers of sustainability? How can the general public contribute towards sustainability? Use some ideas
from the two lectures or some EU or local legislation.
2. Agriculture and Fisheries (Dr Philip Von Brockdorff)
Refer to the first two Rural Development Plans for Malta (2004-2006 and 2007-2013) and explain why a
'new approach' is needed to address structural problems faced by Maltese agriculture. Would you consider
the measures outlined for the third Rural Development Plan consistent with this 'new approach'?
3. Background from Barbados to Samoa (Prof. Lino Briguglio)
What do you understand by the following terms?
 Barbados Programme of Action (1994)
 Mauritius Strategy (2004)
 Samoa Outcome documents (2014)
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4. Sustainable Tourism (Prof. Lino Briguglio)
Discuss the concept of sustainable tourism in the context of small islands. Make special reference to the
Maltese Islands.
5. Sustainable Development (Prof. Lino Briguglio)
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What do we mean by sustainable development?
How is it measured?
What do you understand by the UN Sustainable Development Goals?
What are the major five sustainable development concerns for Malta?
6. Climate Change (Prof. Lino Briguglio)
What do you understand by climate change?
Why is climate change of major concern for small islands?
What do you understand by the Kyoto Protocol?
Briefly define these terms:
- mitigation,
- adaptation,
- greenhouse gases,
- climate scenarios,
- deduction and attribution,
- downscaling of climate change models,
- ENSO,
- extreme weather events.
7. Threats to and Conservation of Marine Natural Resources (Prof. Alan Deidun)
What do you understanding by Mainstreaming and Integrating Climate Change into Development Plans
and Policies?
Illustrate, through concrete examples, how the negative impact of different human activities on the marine
environment can be mitigated within small island states. Besides examples from the Maltese Islands, you
are encouraged to cite examples from other small island states as well.
8. Nature Conservation (Dr Sandro Lanfranco)
Write a brief appraisal on the topic listed below:
The introduction of alien species into island environments is considered a major conservation concern.
Briefly describe the effect of the following species introductions and any measures that may have been
implemented for their control:
 Mongoose in Hawaii;
 The Brown Tree Snake in Guam;
 The Hottentot Fig (Carpobrotus edulis) in Menorca.
Your report shall be assessed according to the following criteria:
Content. Content will be assessed on the basis of its accuracy, relevance and on whether it is up-to-date.
Subjective interpretations will be assessed on the accuracy of interpretation of factual frameworks. 70%
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Organisation & presentation. This refers to logical flow of ideas, accuracy and efficacy of graphical
presentation and appropriate presentation of results. It does not refer to the ability to apply fancy fonts or
novelty borders round pictures. 15%
Referencing. This is essential. Any statements of fact that you make need to be substantiated with a
reference. Use a recognised style sheet (you can model this on some scientific journals). Remember that
web pages are also to be referenced. 15%.
9. Water Resources (Perit Raphael Axiak)
Explain which water resources available in the Maltese Islands are sustainable to satisfy the water
requirements. Discuss the result of both proper management and mismanagement of these resources.
Points to mention:
The fresh water resources in the Maltese Islands are limited: groundwater (aquifers) and non-conventional
sources (reverse osmosis/distillation). Planning and management need to resolve issues: water policy
coordination; geographic coordination of water management; pricing and water allocation; water supply
security; environmental systems and policy; water management conflicts; and sustainable development.
Water resources mismanagement could lead to the destruction of the resource itself.
10. Spatial Planning (Perit Raphael Axiak)
Integrated spatial planning systems are crucial in the sustainable governance of islands and small states.
Critically discuss integrated spatial development planning as adopted in the Maltese Islands.
Points to mention:
Integrated spatial planning is important in islands and small states due to their limited land areas, high
population densities, stronger conflicts and competing uses of the limited land, as well as the need to
protect the natural environment due to unique physical characteristics and the endemic biodiversity.
There could be sectoral plans on separate topics and subjects, however, these cannot be effective as much
as an integrated plan. An integrated plan would seek to strike the right balance between all sectors,
thereby being more conducive to sustainable development.
11. Waste Management (Perit Raphael Axiak)
Discuss the characteristics and objectives of a sound waste management strategy, and explain the
limitations of islands and small states in dealing with waste as a resource.
Points to mention:
There is a hierarchy of measures which are envisaged in a waste management strategy, the top priority
being given to reduce, reuse and recycle. The energy from waste principle is applicable to the lower end
of the hierarchy so as to reduce the amount of solid wastes to be finally disposed. However, islands and
small states also face the problems of economies of scale in dealing with such technologies.
12. Coastal Zone Management and Marine Pollution (Perit Raphael Axiak)
Discuss the objectives of integrated coastal zone management as an essential tool for the sustainable
development of islands and small states, and explain how suitable coastal zone management practices
help to reduce marine pollution.
Points to mention:
An overview of the concept of ICZM needs to be discussed (to reduce conflicts and to promote
sustainable use of natural resources). The identification of proper tools is also required (such as
management plans, etc.). The likely impacts on the environment resulting from the lack of such ICZM
plans need to be identified, thereby enforcing the notion that ICZM is not a commodity but a necessity.
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