Environment and Sustainable Development
As a matter of fact, Oman is characterized by pioneering initiatives in the field of environmental actions relevant to accelerated economic and social development, and a large response with global environmental awakening at the regional and global levels.
Since the dawn of the renaissance, legislative pillars have been translating the Sultanate's keenness to provide all ingredients for success to achieve the development goals and ensure the right of all generations to benefit from the diverse natural resources in a balanced and fair manner.
Developmental plans in the Sultanate have started since 1975 and the initial principles of the need to link development to environmental preservation were developed. They also included the future vision of the Omani economy, which represents the development strategy to the year (2020) the basic pillars to preserve the non-renewable natural resources. The Law on "Environment Protection and Combating Pollution" issued by Royal Decree No. (10/83) emphasizes the need to provide greater health and social care for the citizens, protect the nation's natural wealth and economic resources, preserve historical and cultural heritage and to avoid any damages result from various activities and projects carried out in everywhere in the Sultanate.
Furthermore, in order to harmonize development and environment, the method of prior environmental studies which include the study of the potential negative environmental impacts and actions to be carried out to reduce them is applied. Evaluation is carried out on stages. Environmental assessment for projects is carried out through follow-up and inspection programs for all sources of pollution and all the different industrial establishments to ensure their commitment to environmental legal requirements.
Many legislations and regulations that included aspects of environmental work, climate affairs and natural resources preservation and protection were issued and are continuously developed in accordance with new developments and in line with the requirements of development.
Strict requirements were developed to reduce greenhouse gases, harmful particles and vapors, odors and noise generated from the industrial business. There is an integrated system to monitor and manage the types of pollutants through continuous inspection and monitoring using fixed and mobile monitoring devices. The competent authority of the Ministry oversees the life cycle of chemicals (import, export, production, use, sale, purchase, manufacturing, storage, transport and disposal) to ensure proper circulation for each of those deal directly with by the application of a national action plan for the management of chemicals which aims to achieve a sound and integrated management for chemicals. The issuance of the Royal Decree No.(46/95) of trading and use of chemicals in the Sultanate is considered one of the leading chemicals management initiatives. System of extensive field visits was also adopted for those deal with these materials to determine the extent of their commitment to rules and regulations adopted, in addition to the establishment of the Standing Committee for chemicals through which coordination mechanisms are activated, and urge to unite efforts at the national level for the management of these materials and the elimination or reduction of risks to human health and the environment. The Sultanate also joined the conventions that discuss topics related to chemicals such as the Rotterdam Convention and the Convention on the prohibition of the use, production, store and use of chemical weapons and the destruction of those weapons. It also joined Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
Concerning hazardous waste management, the Ministry is seeking to develop methods to manage and reduce their negative effects through the issuance of a list of hazardous waste management governs the handling of hazardous waste of all kinds, It also seeks to implement the national project for the management of hazardous waste.
Moreover, the Ministry is concerned with the protection of water sources from pollution by taking actions to properly manage water resources and to ensure protection from pollution. Many of royal decrees were issued in order to achieve the above mentioned such as the Royal Decree No.(115/2001) on protecting drinking water sources from pollution. To achieve the required protection, a number of actions were taken, most notably were the establishment of sewage treatment plants in most of the states of Oman, an integrated system for field visits, collecting samples of the different sources of water pollution in order to ensure compliance with regulations and laws that ensure the protection of groundwater from pollution. It also issued the necessary measures to protect groundwater from pollution. A list of non-hazardous solid waste management and a list of hazardous waste, a list of re-use of wastewater, a list of anaerobic decomposition and detention tanks, absorption drilling and stop the use of wells non-conforming to Omani specifications for drinking water were issued.
Biological diversity is preserved by taking several important legal measures to prevent damage to the natural habitats, the protection of wildlife and the creation of special observatories to monitor the birds in a number of regions of the Sultanate.
Therefore, the Sultanate began in (1983) to establish an integrated natural reserves system. It also prepared detailed plans for the design and management of nature reserves. In addition to that, the Sultanate signed the "Convention on Biological Diversity" and ratified by Royal Decree No. 119/94 in 1992. It was followed by the development of "National Strategy and Action Plan of biodiversity" in 2000by the Ministry in coordination with the competent authorities.
Eighteen nature reserves were also announced legally by royal decrees on one hand, and management plans for the announced reserves were prepared on the other hand.
For the advancement of vegetation, many nurseries were created for the propagation of wild plants and collecting wild plants seeds and the distribution of seedlings and implanting them in the affected areas.
A number of legal actions were taken to reduce the destruction of natural habitats and for wildlife protection under the Ministerial Decree No. 101/2002 on the prohibition of killing, hunting or sniping wild animals and birds, and the Ministerial Decree No. 196/2002 on preventing logging. The Ministry achieved great success in the implementation of the wild deer numbering project in the Sultanate to be able to follow them in their environments and natural habitats. Oman also acceded to the International Convention to Combat Desertification under Supreme Decree No. (5/96), which formed a committee of concerned authorities to coordinate with the competent authorities to implement a number of measures and projects to reduce the phenomenon of desertification:
- Issuance the Law of Pasture and Livestock Management by the Royal Decree No. 8/2003, which identified a number of measures taken by the government to implement, including restoring degraded land cultivation and protecting it from overgrazing.
- Implementation of a project to combat desertification in Dhofar governorate.
- Rehabilitation of pastoral lands, the creation of sensor module and the introduction of information systems to monitor desertification phenomenon.
The Sultanate has taken a number of important measures to protect the marine environment from pollution by enacting environmental laws and regulations governing maritime traffic and ensure the safety of the marine environment of the Sultanate. A suitable mechanism was developed to control oil tankers in the Omani marine environment according to the National Contingency Plan to Combat Oil Pollution so as oil spill combat response procedures include oil spill in case it occurs within the Omani maritime area supervised by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs in collaboration with other competent agencies in the Sultanate in the light of conventions jointed by the Sultanate of dealing with the affairs of the marine environment and conservation, such as:
- London Convention 1972
- MARPOL Convention 1973
- Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment in 1979 (ROPME)
- International Maritime Organization (IMO) 1974
Oman also paid special attention to the marine environment through a variety of environmental legislation and laws such as Royal Decrees, Ministerial Decisions and regulations to organize work, reduce wrong practices, conduct research and studies, prepare plans to protect the marine environment. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs has made great strides in the protection and conservation of Marine bio-resources through the implementation of coastal zone management plans, planning uses of the coastal territory, the establishment of the coastal nature reserves, rehabilitation of bays and mangrove cultivation in various regions of the Sultanate as well as the implementation of coral reef management plans and initiating environments cleaning campaigns.
The Ministry also oversees all projects related to the coastal environment to study the environmental impacts and to develop appropriate mechanisms and programs to address them so as not to cause any damage to the coastal environment.
In support of this orientation, Sultanate has committed to most conventions emerged from Rio Conference on Environment and Development (1992), which aim to accelerate sustainable development. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in (1992) was an important stage to ensure international cooperation based on the recognition of the need to achieve integration between development and the environment to ensure the sustainability of the development process. The Conference approved action comprehensive global plan for the 21st century known as the century table (21) or agenda (21), and on its lights the Sultanate presented, during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa, a national report (link) included the most important measures taken by the Sultanate at the national level and its views on the implementation of the Agenda 21 on sustainable development. The report was updated in 2012 according to the new data for all relevant sectors.
Link of the movie of sustainable development in the Sultanate of Oman
The Ministry in coordination with the Ministry of National Economy previously included the environmental dimension indicators in the first issue of sustainable development indicators bulletin which was prepared in 2007 in cooperation with various relevant authorities to sustainable development. It also prepared a manual for the methodologies of sustainable development indicators in all social, economic, environmental, and digital dimensions. The ministry is currently finalizing the preparation of a report on the state of the environment in the Sultanate, which estimates the current environmental situation and future aspirations.