4 Jul 2019

The Oman National Spatial Strategy (ONSS), a landmark project initiated by the Supreme Council for Planning (SCP), aims to optimise land-use to ensure sustainable socio-economic development across Oman. Under the ONSS, Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS) for all governorates of the sultanate will be outlined based on the goals and objectives of Oman Vision 2040. Royal HaskoningDHV was appointed by the SCP in 2017 to develop the RSS for the Governorates of Dhofar and Al Wusta, the two southern governorates measuring around half of the size of Oman.

A sustainable future for Oman’s southern region | Royal HaskoningDHV

At the end of June 2019, Royal HaskoningDHV presented three alternatives for the RSS, where discussions were held with 120 representatives of major stakeholders to help define the new strategy - the main planning framework for sustainable land-use over the next 20 years.

The meetings were hosted by the Governor of each region while the Supreme Council for Planning, the motor behind creating the Oman National Spatial Strategy and the Regional Spatial Strategies for each of the 11 governorates, overlooked the process and facilitated table discussions where participants were asked to express their preferences on a series of 10 -12 questions in the field of urban planning, economic development, environment, transportation and infrastructure. Based on the preferences discussed, a preferred option for the strategy will be developed.

For both regions, three unique alternatives have been developed to tackle several challenges, to benefit from the advantages of each region and to develop an integrated strategy to achieve these goals and objectives.

Leon van Velzen, Project Manager at Royal HaskoningDHV commented, "Over the last two years, our team has studied and analysed different subjects such as economy, urban planning, Infrastructure, environment, agriculture, tourism and energy by conducting intensive data collection and surveys alongside stakeholder meetings, site visits and economic, urban and transport modelling."

"After conducting a comprehensive data collection and analysis, several site visits, stakeholders’ meetings and conducting a detailed SWOT analysis for each region, our team developed three unique regional spatial alternatives for both Dhofar and Al-Wusta. Now that we have held discussions in each of the regions, we will refine the strategies further, with the aim of shaping the future for Oman."

As part of the project, Royal HaskoningDHV is helping to build a National Transport Model to improve accessibility to the interior regions of Oman, leveraging the key assets of Salalah Airport and the Port of Duqm. Improved accessibility will in turn boost investment into these regions, therefore making them more attractive to businesses and visitors alike.

Ziad Al Mahmoud, Director Transport and Planning Middle East at Royal HaskoningDHV added, "The next step is to develop the final alternative including the implementation plan and the institutional framework. This is planned to be presented towards the end of 2019."