The Governments of the United States of America and the Sultanate of Oman (?the Governments?), recognizing the importance of protecting the environment while promoting sustainable development in concert with the expanded bilateral trade and investment ties accompanying the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement, have, through the Joint Forum on Environmental Cooperation (?the Joint Forum?), developed the following Work Program pursuant to the U.S.-Oman Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Cooperation (the ?MOU?).
The Annex to the MOU identifies the following as priorities for environmental cooperation between the United States and Oman , with the goal of building human and institutional capacity in the management and conservation of natural resources:
? Environmental Laws and Regulations
? Environmental Impact Assessments
? Environmental Incentives
? Public Participation in Environmental Protection
? Integrated Water Resources Management and Protection
? Coastal Protection and Preservation of Marine Resources
? Protected Area Management and Conservation of Flora and Fauna
? Cleaner Production and Environmental Technology
? Chemical and Hazardous Waste Management and Disposal
? Environmental Disaster Preparedness
II. MUTUALLY-IDENTIFIED GOALS
Prior to the convening of the Joint Forum, participants in an informal network of interested parties from both governments initiated several projects adhering to the MOU Annex priorities. Building on this foundation, the Joint Forum has developed and is putting forward the following Work Program, incorporating activities to be pursued during the period 2006-2008, including activities that are currently underway, in the planning stages, or proposed. The Joint Forum intends to review progress toward achieving the objectives of this Work Program in future consultations to assess cooperative environmental activities undertaken pursuant to the MOU. The objectives and activities set forth in this Work Program may be updated and modified by future consultations between the Governments, and the implementation of activities is contingent upon the availability of funding and other resources from the Governments and other sources.
a) Environmental Laws and Regulations
Strengthening the capacity to develop, update, implement, and enforce
environmental laws and regulations.
? A course on the Principles of Environmental Law and Enforcement was delivered in Manama , Bahrain in May 2005.
? A regional enforcement training course for Inspectors is planned for Amman , Jordan for February 2007.
? A regional enforcement networking workshop, planned for Amman , Jordan for February 2007, will build on the INECE conference attended in Marrakech , Morocco in April 2005.
? A course on institutional strengthening of environmental organizations will be delivered in Muscat in March 2007.
? A course on the Role of Science in Environmental Law will be delivered in Muscat in April 2007.
b) Environmental Impact Assessments
Improving capacity to conduct and review environmental impact
assessments and to perform appropriate follow-up activities such as
? A course on Principles of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was delivered in Muscat in September 2006.
? An EIA course for Reviewers is planned for Muscat for December 2006.
c) Environmental Incentives
Encouraging cleaner production, compliance assistance, and other non-
regulatory mechanisms to contribute to the achievement and maintenance of
high levels of environmental protection.
? Delivery of a water resources management and economic incentives workshop in 2007.
d) Public Participation in Environmental Protection
Promoting public participation in environmental protection efforts and
public access to information and access to justice on environmental issues
and sharing experience regionally.
? A course on Public Participation in Environmental Law will be delivered in Muscat in April 2007.
? Work with Oman Environmental Society NGO and other relevant organizations and businesses on public outreach and stakeholder involvement to promote turtle nesting population conservation.
? Share U.S. experience with creating an advisory committee system and assist Oman in establishing a national advisory committee on trade and environment matters.
? Development of an international environmental public participation toolkit for use by multi-stakeholder audiences.
? Capacity building on strengthening the role of environmental NGOs to assist with the implementation of and support for environmental management in the Middle East region.
e) Integrated Water Resources Management and Protection
Sharing research and strategies to promote water conservation, re-use,
watershed management, and the replenishment of aquifers.
? Omani participation in a regional workshop in Tunisia in 2006 on water reuse practices.
? Omani participation in a regional workshop in Tunisia in September 2006 on water reuse and food safety practices.
f) Coastal Protection and Preservation of Marine Resources
Protecting coastal environmental zones and estuaries and preventing the
over-exploitation of living and nonliving marine resources.
? Sector-specific regional enforcement training on addressing marine pollution from vessel traffic in the Arabian Gulf will be held in Manama , Bahrain in September 2007.
g) Protected Area Management and Conservation of Flora and Fauna
Integrating ecotourism with protection of flora and fauna, including sea
turtles and other migratory or endangered species.
? A Turtle Nesting Population Conservation Project to encourage conservation through pollution control, responsible ecotourism and public outreach will begin in late 2006.
? Share U.S. experience in implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and assist Oman in its efforts to accede to CITES through legislation currently before the Council of Ministers.
? Study tour/capacity building with U.S. national parks on best practices, park management, law enforcement, concessions and maintenance, currently planned for 2007 .
h) Cleaner Production and Environmental Technology
Strengthening capacity to establish a Cleaner Production Center and
promoting the growth of the environmental technology business sector.
? Build on the Pollution Prevention and Cleaner Production course delivery in Muscat in December 2005 through a grant to a U.S. NGO to work on follow-on regional capacity building to establish cleaner production centers.
i) Chemical and Hazardous Waste Management and Disposal
Capacity building in chemical management and risk assessment, as well as
in inspecting and monitoring hazardous waste facilities.
? A course on Principles of Hazardous Waste Management and Disposal will be delivered in Muscat in October 2007.
? Delivery of a course in Chemical Emergency Planning and Preparedness, possibly in 2008.
j) Environmental Disaster Preparedness
Sharing experience in the review and preparation of contingency
mechanisms for oil spills and other environmental disasters.
? Share experience in oil spill contingency mechanisms and preparedness, possibly in 2008.
As the Joint Forum further defines cooperative programs, projects and activities under its Work Program, it intends to strive to identify performance indicators and benchmarks to measure the progress made in accomplishing or otherwise furthering the goals and objectives of such programs, projects and activities and to facilitate public reporting of that progress. To the degree that the Governments use independent sources of monitoring data and evaluation to assess progress, they intend to collaborate with those other sources in identifying suitable performance indicators and benchmarks.
IV. MONITORING AND EVALUATION
Through their participation in the Joint Forum, the Governments intend to seek and consider input from relevant local, regional and international organizations regarding relevant environmental conditions and indicators and views on the utility of cooperation under this Work Program. The Governments also plan to encourage public participation in setting goals for and implementing environmental collaboration, and to make information on activities carried out under the MOU available to the public on a regular basis. As part of their regular consultations of the Joint Forum under the MOU, the Governments plan to establish benchmarks and indicators in order to evaluate progress made toward meeting the goals established under the Work Program.