Oman Sustainability Issues

The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Oman:

1. Climate Change

CO2 emissions in Oman were 87,835,773 tons in 2016. CO2 emissions increased by 2.09% over the previous year, representing an increase by 1,799,168 tons over 2015, when CO2 emissions were 86,036,605 tons.

CO2 emissions per capita in Oman are equivalent to 19.61 tons per person (based on a population of 4,479,219 in 2016), a decrease by -0.55 over the figure of 20.16 CO2 tons per person registered in 2015; this represents a change of -2.7% in CO2 emissions per capita.


2. Unemployment and Poverty

Oman’s Unemployment Rate dropped to 3.08 % in Dec 2019, from the previously reported number of 3.11 % in Dec 2018. Oman’s Unemployment Rate is updated yearly, available from Dec 1991 to Dec 2019, with an average rate of 4.66 %. The data reached an all-time high of 5.07 % in Dec 1994 and a record low of 3.08 % in Dec 2019. Despite Oman’s vast oil reserves, large segments of the population still suffer from poverty. The main causes of poverty in Oman are unemployment, underpayment and lack of economic diversification. Thousands of migrant workers still live in poverty, and 40 percent of Oman’s own citizens remain unemployed. Historically, the high unemployment rate has not weighed on Oman’s economy because oil revenues have enabled the government to distribute allowances to its citizens. Since 2014, however, global oil prices have fallen by 50 percent. With oil accounting for 46 percent of Oman’s GDP and 84 percent of government revenues, the price decrease has forced the government to tighten its budget and start taxing citizens—instead of distributing allowances. Unless the oil market turns around or Oman begins taking serious efforts to diversify its economy, the causes of poverty in Oman may multiply and its progress toward the Millennium Development Goals may reverse. Poverty in Oman will only continue to get worse if changes are not made at a national level.


3. Education

Relying on the government as the main source of funds is probably the most prominent challenge facing the education sector. The requirements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its impact on the future of jobs and the skills required in the labor market are also among the main challenges at hand. It is estimated that 65 percent of primary school children will be employed in jobs that do not yet exist. Oman’s education system needs therefore to be upgraded, developed, and prepared to meet the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 


4. Water Crisis

The water sector faces many challenges, foremost among which are limited natural water resources, due to the country’s location in the zone of arid and semi-arid lands and its reliance on annual rainfall for the replenishment of its limited water resources. This represents a challenge in terms of balancing water uses, renewable resources, and the preservation of water resources from depletion and pollution, in addition to the salinity and degradation of groundwater quality in coastal areas (Al Batinah and Salalah coastal areas).


5. Homicide

Intentional homicides are estimates of unlawful homicides purposely inflicted as a result of domestic disputes, interpersonal violence, violent conflicts over land resources, intergang violence over turf or control, and predatory violence and killing by armed groups. Intentional homicide does not include all intentional killing; the difference is usually in the organization of the killing. Individuals or small groups usually commit homicide, whereas killing in armed conflict is usually committed by fairly cohesive groups of up to several hundred members and is thus usually excluded. Oman has witnessed a dip of nearly 40 per cent in crimes over the past four years, according to the Sultanate’s Assistant Attorney General.