Friday, May 07, 2021 | Ramadan 24, 1442 H
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Balancing development and environmental conservation


Oman has always been at the forefront of environmental conservation. It’s commitment to the environment has been recognised internationally, as it has been listed as one of the top 10 countries that work for conserving nature and its resources.

Setting up of the Unesco-Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Protection in 1991, not only raised the high standards of Oman’s commitment in the field, it emerged as the first such effort in the Arab world on an international level. The first recipient of the award was an environmental institute in the State of Filakroze in Mexico in the same year.

The Sultanate derives its energy to conserve the environment from the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, who was an environmentalist by heart and always considered conservation of the environment while doing large scale development of the country. Despite having world-class infrastructure and very high development standards, the country still has value for sustainable development, which many developed and developing countries aspire to achieve.

The late Sultan’s speech at the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil summarises the country’s environmental policy and its commitment towards conservation.

“As human beings co-existing on this planet, we have gravely neglected the vital necessity of conserving the environment and natural resources due to the lack of collective coordination. Indeed, we have taken a potentially opposing course of luxury and industrial progress, regardless of the resulting imbalance between development and the environment, and without taking into account the dire consequences of the effects upon the atmosphere and the ozone layer, rivers, and seawater, the extermination of certain species, the destruction of forests, and the contamination of once fertile soil. Should this continue, humanity will court collective suicide. The conservation of the environment is the responsibility of all of us, a responsibility that knows no political boundaries. Therefore, man, wherever he lives, must order his life accordingly. This must be done in a planned, rational way and taking into consideration the numerous causes of pollution, whether natural, biological, industrial, chemical, or physical.

‘‘We, in the Sultanate of Oman, through our deep personal interest and the directives we have given our government to act in concert with neighbouring countries, are making energetic efforts to protect our environment and territorial waters from pollution and other problems,” he said while focusing on being sustainable while doing development which is necessary for day-to-day living.

Oman is home to diverse natural beauties like mountains and sea, greenery, and desert. It makes beautiful landscapes and vegetation, which is rare in countries situated in the arid zone. The country has seen massive development in all the sectors in the recent past. The policymakers in the country have struck a beautiful balance between development and conservation of nature.

It has a dedicated Environment Authority that looks after all the spheres of the environment, including preservation and protection of the environment. With policies and community engagements the authority is in constant touch with the environmental issues and awareness among the masses.

Kaushalendra Singh


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