On September 16, the Sultanate of Oman will join other countries in the world to observe International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, which is also known as World Ozone Day with the theme “Protocol@35: global cooperation protecting life on earth”.
The date was designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994, commemorating the date in 1987 when nations signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
The theme recognises the wider impact the Montreal Protocol has on climate change and the need to act in collaboration, forge partnerships and develop global cooperation to address climate challenges and protect life on earth for future generations.
The Sultanate of Oman is one of the first countries to make great efforts in all issues related to the environment and climate, and has been in the process of adopting several measures in its efforts to protect the ozone layer. The most significant among these steps is the formation of a national team and developing an electronic system to monitor import of ozone-depleting substances.
As part of the country’s interest in environmental issues and climate affairs and its continued support for these efforts, and its contribution with the international community in the protection of the ozone layer, Oman acceded to the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol in London and Copenhagen on September 28, 1998 under Royal Decree No 73/98.
Ratification of the Paris Agreement on April 24, 2019, was a conclusive step forward in Oman's commitment to join the international efforts to combat climate change. The country has engaged through its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to reduce their absolute greenhouse gas emission by 2 per cent by 2030.
The Second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) affirms that Oman has been successful in the protection of the ozone layer as it has pioneered the reduction of the consumption of the most important ozone-depleting substances, such chlorofluorocarbons, hydro-chlorofluorocarbons, and halons which destroy the earth's protective ozone layer.
However, Oman is not considered safe from global climate change, as its geographical location near the sea and oceans make it more vulnerable than any other country in the region. Ratification of the Paris Agreement on April 24, 2019, was a conclusive step forward in the country’s commitment to join the international efforts to combat climate change.
The country is well-known for its sweltering summers and low annual rainfall, and it has become even hotter over the past five years. Oman was the location of the world's hottest low temperature ever recorded. On June 26, 2018, and over 24 hours, the temperature in the coastal city of Qurayat, never dropped below 41.9 Celsius, most likely the highest minimum temperature ever observed on Earth.
Detailed climate simulation reveals that the Arabian Gulf and the Sultanate of Oman form a particular regional hotspot where climate change is likely to cross the survivability threshold in the absence of drastic carbon cuts.
Moreover, much of Oman's population, infrastructure, and economic activity are located in coastal zones and are vulnerable to sea-level rise, salt-water intrusion, and more frequent extreme tropical cyclones.
Still, through the country’s recently developed Climate Change Strategy, national stakeholders have begun to identify climate-resilient opportunities within a set of key vulnerable sectors, namely water resources, marine biodiversity, and fisheries; agriculture; urban areas, tourism and infrastructure; and public health.
However, several gaps and barriers that hinder reaching NDC adaptation goals related to effective adaptation planning for climate-resilient development, which according to a recent report are limited data, information, and knowledge available for undertaking vulnerability.
Adding to them are limited experience with methods and tools to support climate risk-informed decision-making in critical sectors, insufficient national budgets to address the scope and magnitude of climate change impacts effectively and insufficient national regulatory frameworks in place to support effective adaptation planning.