The Sultanate of Oman is located in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula and has a total land area of 309,500 square km. The country’s population was estimated at 2,782,435 in 2010, with 72% living in urban areas. Oman’s GDP per capita is US$11,192, with its economy dominantly dependant on crude oil. Investments are being made in economic diversification through the development of non-oil based economic activities through privatization, industrialization and tourism. The goal is to reduce the oil sector’s GDP contribution to 9% by 2020. Arable land is only 0.2% and agricultural production has been steadily declining since oil was discovered in 1962. In 2000, the agricultural sector’s GDP contribution to the national economy accounted for almost 2%, and it is projected to decline further with the negative impacts of climate change. Oman imports more than 50% of its food to meet the needs of its population.
Oman has three major land systems: the coastal plain, the mountain ranges, and the internal regions. The topography of rugged mountains and desert plain, coupled with hot, humid and dry weather conditions with strong, southwest summer monsoon winds, renders the country vulnerable to natural hazard risks, including droughts, storms, and sand and dust storms. Climate variability is likely to increase and negatively impact the country’s agricultural sector.
Oman’s economic development is at risk to the potential impacts of climate change. Groundwater pollution and the increase of water salinity are of growing concern. Soil salinity and desertification are increasing, while beach pollution from oil spills is also very detrimental to the environment. Furthermore, a range of socioeconomic and institutional factors hamper Oman’s ability to respond to current and projected changes in climate, including: low national institutional capacity; lack of long-term reliable data or technical capacity to analyze data; uncertainties in regional and local climate scenarios; and low institutional or technical capacity to interpret, modify or develop existing models. These challenges must be met in order to strategically respond to climate change and its impacts.
Selected Indicators for Impacts and Vulnerabilities