The Sultanate of Oman is located in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula, with a population of 4 million and an economy predominantly dependent on oil. The country is one of the most water scarce in the world and climate change is likely to worsen drought and desertification, threaten water security and disrupt agricultural production. Rising temperatures increase the risk of heat-related morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, the incidence and severity of natural disasters, such as the cyclones experienced in recent years, are expected to rise.
SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS
• Under a high emissions scenario, mean annual temperature is projected to rise by about 5°C on average from 1990 to 2100. If emissions decrease rapidly, the temperature rise is limited to about 1.5°C.
• Under a high emissions scenario, and without large investments in adaptation, an annual average of about 81,300 people are projected to be affected by flooding due to sea level rise between 2070 and 2100. If emissions decrease rapidly and there is a major scale up in protection (i.e. continued construction/raising of dikes) the annual affected population could be limited to about 100 people. Adaptation alone will not offer sufficient protection, as sea level rise is a long-term process, with high emissions scenarios bringing increasing impacts well beyond the end of the century.
• Under a high emissions scenario heat-related deaths in the elderly (65+ years) are projected to increase to about 34 deaths per 100,000 by 2080 compared to the estimated baseline of just over 3 deaths per 100,000 annually between 1961 and 1990. A rapid reduction in emissions could limit heat-related deaths in the elderly to about 7 deaths per 100,000 in 2080.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION
Oman has an approved national health adaptation strategy and has conducted a national assessment of climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation for health. Country reported data (see section 6) indicate there remain opportunities for action in the following areas:
• Implement projects or programmes on health adaptation to climate change.
• Implement actions to build institutional and technical capacities to work on climate change and health.
• Strengthen adaptive capacity by building climate resilient health infrastructure.
• Strengthen the health surveillance system to be able to detect potential effects of climate change on health (e.g. pattern of malaria, asthma, and COPD incidence and prevalence in the country and its relation to heat waves, dust storms etc.).
• Include the health implications of climate change mitigations actions in the national strategy on climate change.
• Enhance awareness of climate change and health among public health and medical practitioners at the private and public sector level; thereby strengthening the first line of defence in protecting human health from climate change.
• Conduct valuation of co-benefits to health of climate change mitigation policies.