Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA) is a not for profit, non-governmental organisation, committed to preserving Malta and Gozo’s architectural and rural heritage as well as to ensuring a healthy quality of life.
Our organisation lobbies for the better preservation and use of the heritage of the Maltese Islands, not only for the sake of preservation but also as an agent of social regeneration.
Since we set up in 2006, FAA has established a positive track record in saving sites for future generations, beginning with the Tal-Papa farm, an oasis of rare endemic plants and protected fauna dating back to the 16th Century, which has been protected through FAA’s intervention. We have similarly ensured the protection of St. John’s Co-Cathedral and the Palazz ta’ Rohan at Balzan, Ta’ Ħaġrat Temples at Mġarr, Villa Bologna in Attard, the Art Deco House and Villa Bonici in Sliema, as well as the Palazz ta’ Rohan at Balzan, Villa Mekrech and Palazzo Giannin in Għaxaq. FAA’s campaigning has saved streetscapes and public facilities in Mellieha, Sliema, Balzan, Senglea and Marsaskala as well as protecting a watercourse in Mellieħa and virgin land in Żebbuġ, Marsalforn, Qala Valley, Ramla l-Ħamra hillside and Ħondoq ir-Rummien from being built up. Our lobbying has brought about MEPA Reform and most importantly, we are empowering the public with the awareness of its environmental rights.
FAA is also active in saving trees, both as regards the preservation of existing mature trees, and in promoting the planting of trees in urban areas. As such FAA was instrumental in the saving of some 50 trees on the Senglea waterfront as well as the 70 trees that form the tree canopy at Salina. FAA strongly opposed the Victoria Local Council’s proposed uprooting of the trees at Pjazza Indipendenza (it-Tokk), taking the matter all the way to the Gozo courts, which confirmed that the trees cannot be touched other than for light pruning.
FAA organises cultural walks and talks to increase the appreciation of Maltese heritage and environment. It also organises annual architecture awards along with the University Department of Architecture, to make tomorrow’s architects aware of the particular requirements of sensitive rural and urban conservation areas.
FAA is now building a Maltese Heritage Website focusing on history, architecture, art and culture, in order to encourage students to appreciate their heritage. This will also serve to attract cultural tourists to Malta.
FAA considers that improvements in land use planning, water conservation, air quality and public transport are key to a better quality of life. FAA’s pressure has resulted in laws regulating construction sites, MEPA reform and MEPA decisions to reduce over-development, preserve streetscapes and protect public green areas.
FAA has established the public’s right to environmental information, environmental justice and to participate in decisions that affect residents, as set out in the Aarhus Convention.
When FAA was set up, it was thought that the citizen is powerless to change things for the better. Our lobbying is changing that perception, to the benefit of all residents of the Maltese Islands.
An engineer by profession, Paul Cardona has worked for the last 51 years in the marine industry having worked in Japan, Singapore and the UK.
Founder member of the FAA. This was brought about by what was happening to Malta’s built heritage and the environment when politicians paid lip service to the well-being of our heritage, environment and quality of life, generally favouring the unchecked destruction of this country. The creation of the FAA turned Paul’s anger into the energy that guides FAA in its many battles of the past and present. Paul’s main function in FAA is to apply his professional and business life experience to help steer FAA.
ANNE MARIE KISSAUN
Anne Marie Kissaun started her career in Malta, gaining valuable experience working for three local companies, however in 2003, she left Malta for London. She held various posts there, including that of secretary to the High Commissioner at the Malta High Commission, secretary to the Managing Director of the Commonwealth Secretariat followed by a similar post at the Malta Tourist Office and lastly at Save the Children Fund, each giving different valuable experiences. A few years after her return from UK, Ms Kissaun volunteered with FAA, being very interested in its work, having always appreciated the greenery that surrounded her in the UK. Heritage is also very important to her, being an important part of our Maltese identity and what makes Malta such a gem.
Sensitised by her studies in Baroque architecture, Astrid Vella co-founded the NGO Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA) with Helen Caruana Galizia in 2006 in order to preserve Malta’s urban and rural heritage and promote a healthy quality of life. FAA’s campaigns have raised awareness of the demolition of heritage buildings, the sprawl of construction over green areas all over Malta and Gozo and the uprooting of trees.
In 2009 Astrid Vella won the local Volunteer of the year Award and went on to win the Special Jury prize for the most deserving candidate at the EU Voluntary Work Awards. As FAA Coordinator, Astrid Vella oversees FAA’s environmental campaigns, efforts to save trees, as well as cultural initiatives, including the restorations that FAA has undertaken in order to save artworks at risk.
Born in Germany, Jorg Sicot’s family immigrated to South Africa, where he received his primary and secondary education. Moving back to Germany, Jorg worked as a professional photographer, social worker and architect. The relocation to Malta in 2004 allowed him to expand his professional career as an architect with numerous local companies, eventually running his own business as an interior architect and project manager in the construction industry, specialising in conversions of heritage properties. Regarding Malta as his home, Jorg’s concern for environmental issues led him to become an active volunteer with FAA, where he has since become a committee member. Apart from campaigning actively on various issues within FAA, he also writes articles on various environmental topics and aesthetic concerns, in order to raise awareness on these issues.
JOHN PAUL CAUCHI
John Paul Cauchi studied medicine and specialised in environmental public health. He currently works as an environmental health researcher within the University of Malta, and hopes to put environmental health concerns at the fore of the environmental NGO field. He also has a special interest in climate change issues, and looks forward to dedicating more time to that field in the future. A keen athlete and trekker, John Paul has been an active member of the board on FAA since December 2014, and is also chairperson of TerraFirma (of which FAA is co-founder) – Malta’s environmental NGO platform, which seeks to empower local NGOs to strengthen the voice of civil society in Malta.
HELEN CARUANA GALIZIA
Helen Caruana Galizia co-founded FAA with Astrid Vella in 2006, both inspired by the late Julian Manduca whose untiring work for Malta’s environment as well as his investigative journalism is well known. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science and worked for over twenty years as an educational adviser with mature students in London. Helen is well known as a food writer (co-author with her sister Anne of “The Food and Cookery of Malta”, in print in various editions since 1973). She is committed to the Food Sovereignty movement and to Slow Food and continues to carry out research into the development of Maltese and Gozitan cookery as an important part of our cultural heritage. Helen is the author (as Helen Tomkins) of “Mr Lewisham: A Life of Les Stannard”.