health impact assessment

Development continues to take place at an accelerated pace in Oman in many different areas.  The construction of new beltway around Muscat, the construction of an aromatics plants in Sohar, the extension of tourists resorts along the coast and new housing developments in the various urban centers.  Of the ongoing development projects, the Sohar port construction, a joint venture between the Oman Government and the Rotterdam Port Authority, is arguably the largest, with a temporary work force of about 12,000.

Yet, the EIA regulations appear not to have kept up with time and the institutional arrangements between the health and environment authorities offer much room for improvement. The broad conclusion is that current EIA arrangements in Oman are neither sufficient nor adequate to deal with the broad range of health issues arising from the country's rapid development.

The health concept, reflects a narrow focus on pollution-related health issues. However, even in this area, the case of the community whose health status is affected by a cement factory proves the system lacks in effectiveness.

There is an increasing awareness in the MOH that current procedures result in a heavy burden on the Ministry, with a trend upwards in health problems mirroring the rise in development activities in recent years. 

The priority areas in need of action are: the creation of an enabling policy environment for HIA, linked to EIA, and for the application of the national HIA guidelines; the establishment of functional institutional arrangements between the MOH and the MOE&CA for effective impact assessment procedures, awareness creation on HIA over a broad ranged of sectors involved in development activities; and human resources development for HIA within the MOH.

Mission and Vision

Creation of an enabling policy environment for implementing Health Impact Assessment

Specific Objective

  • To facilitate incorporation of effective health dimension into national development policies and into legal and regulatory framework governing management of the human environment.
  • To adopt sound environmental health guidelines and standards and
  • To provide an environment that promotes health


Main Achievements

  • Drafting of HIA Guidelines with the support of WHO/STC
  • Establishment of  separate section  on HIA in the Directorate
  • Short term training of one senior staff in HIA and EIA