Muscat: The challenges and opportunites present before our community in the wake of COVID-19 and climate crisis will be discussed next at the webinar organised by Ithraa, the Sultanate's government authority for investment promotion.
The webinar is part of Ithraa’s Inside Stories discussion, which covers topics pertinent to the economic landscape in Oman and how it is impacted by local and global events.
“COVID-19 has impacted us all in one way or another and, whether we realize it or not, the climate crisis is already affecting many aspects of our lives. As we come to terms with the post-pandemic ‘new normal’, we also need to start preparing for the differences coming to our weather system as a result of the changing climate – hotter summers and more extreme weather events,” said Ishaq Al Busaidi, Ithraa’s Director General of Marketing and Corporate Communications, and organiser of the popular quarterly Inside Stories initiative.
Nasima Al Balushi, Ithraa’s Director General of Investment and Exports added: “We need to think now about what this will mean for our everyday life and what it’ll mean for our business community. We have to apply the lessons of COVID-19 and see how we can transform the challenges that will arise into opportunities. Indeed, there are already a number of exciting circular economy projects connected to this listed on the Invest in Oman portal.”
There is considerable evidence that decisive climate action generates economic vitality. In fact, International Labour Organisation studies suggest climate policies could potentially create 24 million new jobs. Transitioning to a low-carbon economy has already created a $1 trillion annual global market in renewable energy, climate-smart agriculture, green buildings, carbon-efficient transportation and other infrastructure.
And according to the International Finance Corporation a shift to low-carbon, resilient economies could translate into US$23 trillion investments globally through to 2030. Research indicates a strong correlation between COVID-19 and the climate crisis. Deforestation and wildlife trade have heightened the likelihood of viruses leaping the species boundary, air pollution increases human vulnerability by weakening respiratory systems; and the expansion of air travel allows pandemics to spread more quickly.
According to Potsdam Institute Director, Johan Rockström, scientific evidence shows these factors are interconnected and part of the same planetary crisis. Indeed, scientists have long warned of the inevitability of a pandemic due to the relentless encroachment onto natural ecosystems and wildlife, resulting in the repeated breaching of ecological boundaries.
Climate change amplifies the risks of diseases such as COVID-19 spreading. In the wake of the pandemic a transition to a Circular, Lean, Inclusive and Clean (CLIC) economy presents significant opportunities for Omani businesses. Smart local businesses know that change means new opportunities and climate business is not only a positive humanitarian move – it is potentially a highly lucrative one.
Oman already exports to over 130 countries and with expanding international consumer demand for greener goods this will create additional opportunities for Omani exporters. Research shows the provision of sustainable products and services bolsters sales, market share, brand value and reputation. pointed out Al Balushi.
Bound by a shared commitment to environmental sustainability, local businesses and investors understand there is a clear alignment between doing good for the planet and doing good business.
Al Balushi added: “In fact, Omani companies leading the transition to a CLIC economy realise it’s not about bravery – but about the bottom line.”
The 16 June Inside Stories webinar will be moderated by Khalid Al Haribi, Founder and MD, Impact Integrated. To participate, register at: https://bit.ly/2UtxIkB
The evening panel includes: Aiman Al Shukaili, Head, Renewable Energy, Petroleum Development Oman, Suaad Al Harthi, Executive Director, Environment Society of Oman, Rayan Al Kalbani, Co-founder and Executive Director, Mazoon Environmental and Technological Services, Dr. Amer Al Hinai, Director, Sustainable Energy Research Centre, Sultan Qaboos University, and Dr. Thuraya Al Sariri, Assistant Director General, Nature Conservation, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.