Oman gives top priority to environment

Zainab al Nassri –
Muscat, Nov 27  –
A ceremony to celebrate the publication of the document on the protection and development of the environment in the Arab world, was held on Tuesday at the State Council, Al Bustan, under auspices of Mohammed bin Salim al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs.
Dr Yahya bin Mahfoudh al Mantheri, Chairman of the State Council, Mishaal bin Fahm al Salami, President of the Arab Parliament, Tariq al Habib, Minister of the Environment of Lebanon, members of the Arab Parliament, members of the State Council and Majlis Ash’shura, and a number of Arab ambassadors, took part.
The document, which includes 18 articles, is a manual to guide the development of legislation, policies and plans, and propose appropriate steps to protect the environment and preserve its natural resources.
The document underscores the dangers facing the environment and the need for an environmental security policy to resolve it.
The Arab Parliament approved this document at the 29th Arab Summit in Saudi Arabia in mid April this year as a reference document in the field of environment.
In his welcoming speech, Dr Khalid bin Salim al Saidi, Secretary-General of State Council, pointed that the ceremony coincides with the Sultanate’s celebrations of the 48th National Day, confirming that selecting the Sultanate to
be a place to launch the document is an affirmation of its role in supporting joint Arab action and appreciation of its efforts in the field of environmental protection.
Talking about the Sultanate’s environmental efforts, Al Saidi said, “The Omani Environment Day, which falls on January 8 each year, shows Oman’s interest in the environment through the participation of all segments of society in conserving natural resources. The Sultanate is keen to participate actively in the international efforts to preserve and protect the environment, believing that environmental challenges do not recognise the borders and do not adhere to geography. We have joined many international conventions and protocols in the field of environmental protection.”
Al Saidi mentioned that “the response of Arab Parliament to this vital issue stems from its role towards all issues of the nation as a successful experience of joint Arab action and recognising the urgent need to exert more efforts to meet the environmental challenges and mobilise resources to implement new initiatives within the framework of regional cooperation to protect ecosystems in Arab countries”.
Al Toobi said that the declaration of the document for the protection and development of the Arab environment is a great achievement and an important step in the completion of the Arab action for the protection of environment and preservation of its natural elements.
Since the beginning of the Renaissance, the government has worked to establish a balance between the protection of environment and the requirements of development, Al Toobi said.
“That was done by taking into consideration environmental issues in planning and implementation processes of development projects. Great attention has been paid to the management of the environmental sector to ensure the safety of the environment, combat pollution, protecting wildlife, and maintaining a sustainable use of natural resources, within the basic objectives of conservation of environment,” he said.
The President of the Arab Parliament thanked the Sultanate for hosting the declaration ceremony, noting that this reflects its interest of environment as one of the top ten countries in the world in caring for environment, and the first Arab country to offer a global award in the name of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos for the preservation of environment.
“The launch of the document in the Sultanate is a tribute from the Arab Parliament and appreciation of the Sultanate’s efforts in protecting the environment so that it has become a model not only at the regional level, but at the international level,” he said.
“The document focuses on environmental security as one of the pillars of Arab national security, sensing the dangers facing environment in the Arab countries and continuous violations that lead to depletion of natural resources,” he stressed.