“Development is not an end in itself; it is for building human; its tool and its maker. Then, sustainable development shouldn’t stop on the concept of wealth and building the economy, it should go beyond that to accomplish human’s progress and to find the citizen who is capable to contribute greatly and consciously in constructing the country ,” a saying of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, confirming that individuals are the effective weapon in sustainability.
Sustainable Development can be defined as the compatibility between individuals’ consumption of economic, social and cultural resources- within the environment capacity- and its durability for future generations.
The dangerous environmental crisis that the world has witnessed in the past three decades have led to the realization of the need to adopt a new development form. These crisis resulted from incompatibilities between supply and demand; that is, between what is available of natural resources and what human really needs. The new form should guarantee the compatibility between development’s demands of integrated economy, fair social patterns, acceptable cultural symbols, and clean healthy environment. Therefore, the international community exerts its extreme efforts to achieve such sustainability by raising awareness of the importance of sustainable development among societies. Moreover, it convenes international conferences to draw up plans that ensure international cooperation to protect the environment and its resources and to maintain them for future generations.
In this regard, the sultanate is considered as an important and attractive location for sustainable development due to its political and economic stability, peaceful area among the horrors of wars in the Middle East, geographical location that overlooks international and regional sea lanes which facilitates trading flow, strong infrastructure, qualified human resources, guiding governmental policies, encouraging social dialogue, respectful human rights and work standards agreements, and extreme efforts to protect environment. All these basics form a stable base for sustainability in Oman.
According to the ICT Sustainable Development Report 2015, issued by ITA, Oman has widely used ICT for the sake of achieving sustainable development. The technology of information and communication is wide-spread in Oman due to what the world witnessed of rapid development of such technologies, and in an endeavor to move Oman toward eGovernment. E-Government will facilitate the contact between citizens and their needs. It will also provide them with e-services, being available at hand. In fact, these technologies contribute in building trust between citizen and Government’s policies. Through different means of social media, government authorities, decision makers, and officials will be able to get public opinion, complaints and needs, and thus, achieving the goals of sustainable development.
Thus, the Sultanate has adopted an approach to fasten the process of development and its sustainability through designing clear and feasible long-term development plans and five-year plans. These plans were achieved in a balanced manner since His Majesty took the lead. Although the plans were not comprehensively accomplished, they are in the progress of achievement. The followings are the long-term development plan strategies:
Development plan strategy in the First Phase (1976-1995):
This period is characterized by focusing on finding and developing new sources of national income that support oil revenue and supersede it in the future and increasing the percentage of investments intended for profit-earning projects especially in the field of industry, mining, agriculture, and fishing. It also centers on developing human resources to be active in Oman economy and distributing the investments equally and geographically for different governorates in order to eliminate living inequality, with giving high priority for less privileged governorates. Moreover, it focuses on continuing the infrastructures’ skeleton and on supporting business by removing all obstacles in the way of updating trade markets.
Development Plan Strategy in the Second Phase (1996-2040):
The strategy of second long-term plan is based on a number of goals such as:
- Reaching continuous and renewable economic diversification.
- Providing and developing educational and health services.
- Providing Omani citizens with training and improving their skills.
- Formulating policies aim to raising the standards of living and ensuring that sustainable development benefits all.
The Sultanate has gone ahead in achieving these goals that will benefit both the citizens and the country today and tomorrow.
Although the future economic vision “Oman 2020” has not ended yet, the Sultanate deems it necessary to prolong the vision to be “Oman 2040” as the first vision of development plan includes a far-reaching goals in considerations to many circumstances. According to the “Oman2040” concerning committee, the formulation of this vision is heavily depending on the contribution of different community groups and units which will help reflexing the economic and social status as is, work on its weaknesses, and clearly set its objectives and vision.
Even before these goals were included in the international agenda, both long-term plan strategies in Oman have covered some of the millennium development goals that UN and most countries have agreed on to be committed on in 2000. Such millennium goals have been drawn up as a step from UN authority to eradicate number of issues and problems that the world is suffering from, to identify development priorities, and to live in a world of well-being and peace. The following are details of 2015 millennium development goals and what have been achieved in Oman so far:
- MDG1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
- MDG2: Achieve primary universal education.
- MDG3: Promote gender equality and empower women.
- MDG4: Reduce child mortality.
- MDG5: Improve maternal health.
- MDG6: Compact HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
- MDG7: Ensure environmental sustainability.
- MDG8: Develop a global partnership for development.