Law Updates

Nature Reserves Under Omani Law

The most recent issue of the Official Gazette published three royal decrees issued by His Majesty establishing three nature reserves: The Buraimi Oasis Natural Reserve, the Dhahirah Natural Reserve, and the Al-Jabal Al-Gharbi Natural Reserve. Some of you might be wondering, what is the purpose of these royal decrees and what are nature reserves? This blog will attempt to provide a very quick overview of this interesting area of law.

The purpose of these nature reserves is to ensure special protection for designated areas of land or water to conserve their natural or cultural environment. This includes the protection of specific types of terrestrial or aquatic animals or plants. These nature reserves are established to maintain the integrity of ecosystems, preserve biodiversity, and protect natural and landscape sites. The law mandating the establishment and management of these nature reserves is the Nature Reserves and Wildlife Conservation Law, and article 10 of the law specifically requires the promulgation of a royal decree to establish a protected nature reserve.

Under this law, the designated areas are required to be carefully managed to minimise human impact while allowing for certain regulated activities that do not conflict with the goals of conservation. A significant aspect of the law is the mandatory environmental assessments required for development projects in or near reserves, ensuring any potential impacts are mitigated. The law also implements a strict permit system for activities like hunting, trapping, and biological sampling within reserves to control and monitor interactions with wildlife.

Additionally, it establishes penalty measures, including fines and imprisonment, to deter violations and emphasise the seriousness of conservation efforts. Designated employees are granted judicial enforcement powers to address infractions effectively. Moreover, the law mandates public awareness campaigns to educate and garner support from the public.

For those interested in learning more about this important field, you can read the law in full in English by clicking on the link below: