For the first time in Maltese climbing history a local club has joined the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) as a full member. The application of the Malta Climbing Club (MCC) was unanimously approved by delegates at the UIAA General Assembly, held on the 21st October in Shiraz, Iran. The UIAA now represents 92 member associations from 69 countries. MCC president Simon Alden attended the assembly and delivered a presentation giving some background to the sport of climbing in Malta, the activities of the MCC and its future plans on attaining membership.
In a related development, as new members of the UIAA, the MCC were invited to participate at the foundation meeting of the European Union of Mountaineering Associations (EUMA) that took place at the headquarters of the German Alpine Federation (DAV) in Munich on 25th November. The MCC is now formally a founding member of EUMA whose aim is to tackle climbing and mountaineering related issues from a European perspective.
This is a historical moment for the sport of climbing in Malta and it is hoped that representation in the UIAA and EUMA will lead to many positive initiatives to strengthen the structure of the sport on the Maltese islands. It is expected that the MCC will change its name in the future to reflect its new status.
This development opens up the possibility of stakeholders affiliating themselves with the MCC. Following meetings, the Gozo Climbing Association (GCA) has expressed its intention to affiliate itself with the MCC to facilitate future cooperation and support climbing activities in the sister island. The MCC is also in discussion with other local stakeholders such as the Malta Rock Climbing Club (MRCC) regarding the way forward.
The topics which need to be tackled locally are clear, and were listed in the presentation to the UIAA General Assembly in Shiraz. These include:
- Continuing to bring together the local climbing community
- Furthering our contact with government entities, including Sport Malta
- Setting up a training and certification structure
- Setting standards for commercial operations, suitable for eventual regulation
- Promoting Mountaineering and Alpinism
- Local availability of insurance for instructors and individual climbers
- Securing premises and setting up an indoor climbing facility suitable for holding international events
- Organising local and international competitions
- Representing Sport Climbing on the Malta Olympic Committee
It is sincerely hoped that the local climbing community will pull together and recognise that this step can only be of benefit to our beloved sport. The MCC committee has invested a lot of personal time in order to make UIAA membership possible – I would like to thank in particular club secretary Dr Johann Briffa for his dedication and organisational work as well as committee members Bernard Abela, Aaron Attard, Kyle Bonnici, Stephen Farrugia, and Inigo Taylor.
Of course, working on all of the above action points will take a lot of time and energy (all voluntary) so if anyone feels he or she can contribute in any way, please contact the MCC committee. In particular, the services of a lawyer and an accountant would be of great benefit. Finally, we always appreciate when climbers of every level of experience contribute some of their time, using their ideas and knowledge to help us achieve the objectives above.