Muscat: His Highness Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham Al Said, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth on Monday presided over the opening ceremony of the first edition of “Oman Conference for Environmental Sustainability”.
The three-day conference focuses on topics related to air pollution and climate change.
Dr. Abdullah Ali Al Amri, Chairman of the Environment Authority, Head of the committee organising the conference, said during the opening statement that the Sultanate of Oman was and still is on the lead among countries that accord attention to environmental systems and biodiversity.
The first environment-related institution was established in the 70s and legislation to protect the environment was issued in 1976, he added.
Al Amri reiterated that the conference stems from a deep-rooted belief in the importance of research and its role in reaching effective solutions to tackle various issues and challenges.
He pointed out that the conference comes at a time when climate change and air quality issues are at the top of the agenda of various international political, environmental and economic events.
Al Amri said that the conference aims to discuss integrated management, best practices, international experiences and environmental legislations in fields related to air quality and climate change. The event also highlights the latest technologies, innovations and 4IR tools used in detecting and reducing air pollution and alleviating its social, health and environmental effects.
Oman Conference for Environmental Sustainability sheds light on the latest policies and strategies related to the adaptation and reduction of climate change effects in a bid to achieve net carbon emissions, Al Amri added.
He further pointed out that the number of scientific papers participating in the conference reached 80 out of hundreds of submitted papers. The selected papers will be published on the Journal of Environmental Science and Pollution Research.
Al Amri added that the number of participants is 400 from 25 countries. In addition, 100 participants are taking part in the youth ecothon, which is held on the sidelines of the conference.
In his turn, Sami Dimassi, representative of the UN Environment Programme and Director of the UN West Asia Office said that climate change and air pollution are two sides of the same coin, which necessitates addressing both issues coherently.
Dimassi added that based on science, the planet is facing a climate crisis, a biodiversity crisis and waste pollution crisis.
He also mentioned that many major scientific reports on climate action indicated that the world needs to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 45% in order not to go above 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by 2030.
He affirmed that organizing this important conference which deals with issues at the core focus of the UN priorities, indicates the ability and political will in the Sultanate of Oman to organize such international environmental conference and events that address urgent environmental issues.
The inaugural ceremony saw the announcement of the winners of the Green Branch Award, designed to recognize the efforts undertaken by institutions and individuals to promote environment conservation and to highlight their distinguished contributions in this field.
In the Institutions Category, the prize went to Omani Indian Fertilizer Company (OMIFCO), International Integrated Energy Group (OKEO), Shell Development Company and the Environment Society of Oman (ESO).
In the individual category, the winners of the Green Branch Award were: “Basmatna Ghair” Team, Qurayyat Divers Team and Mohammed Said Al Hinai. A company called “44.1 Firm” bagged the honorary prize of the Green Branch Award.
The first day’s tasks included a dialogue session titled “Reducing emissions and improving air quality: insights and results from the 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”.
In addition, 28 working papers were presented during four parallel sessions, with the participation of experts, scientists and specialists from Oman and abroad.
The conference included an environment exhibition that showcased the latest technologies, solutions and technologies in various environmental fields.
Specialised workshops focusing on green hydrogen energy and methane management were held on the sidelines of the conference, which promotes the values of research, development and innovation through the establishment of environment-action initiatives like “Youth Ecothon” (“Manafaa Initiative”).
The initiative is designed to open up vistas for local participation of Omani students from public and private universities, so that they could propose ideas for environmental projects with low-risk developmental return, notably on the topic of “Air Pollution and Climate Change”.
Oman Conference for Environmental Sustainability has been organized within the context of national priorities of Oman Vision 2040. Attended by experts, scientists and specialists from Oman and abroad, the focuses on methods of conservation of the environment and natural resources in accordance with the government’s directives for the implementation of the future vision.
The Environment Authority is organising the first edition of the conference in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme, Sultan Qaboos University, the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and Al Roya Foundation for Press and Publication.
The conference serves as a discussion platform aimed to present Oman to the world as a strategic centre that is capable of organizing and hosting such international environmental events for the management of urgent environmental issues.
The conference coincides with the Sultanate of Oman’s celebrations of Oman Environment Day. It underscores the significance of coordinating environmental action involving governmental, academic and research institutions, regional and international organizations, as well as private sector companies, civil society organizations and individuals.
The overall aim is to collaborate all efforts for the establishment of an environment whose elements are sustainable and safe, whose ecosystems function in an effective and balanced way and whose resources are renewable.