GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
El Saddik
First Name:
Title of Paper:
Exploring the institutional framework to drive GCC sustainability agenda
Paper Proposal Text :
The GCC States have witnessed unprecedented social and economic transformations manifested through the sole reliance on hydrocarbons to fuel their energy-intensive industries. Their development seems to be gained at a high environmental cost producing unprecedented pressures on the regions’ natural resources and its management capabilities. Yet, the GCC states have seized the initial global appeals for green economy as an opportunity to position themselves in the global post 2008 era. Since then, they have embarked into launching various “green” based strategies and plans, and kicked off high profile supply-driven sustainability initiatives and investments.
From a policy and institutional perspective, it is believed that the decision-making processes related to the sustainability agenda, as any other strategic issues, are mostly controlled by the ruling families. Development reports in the region often conclude that sustainability related policy-making is not only ambiguous, but challenged by the weak institutional framework and accountability mechanisms impacting data availability and reliability and leaving community and stakeholders’ participation often nominal. In fact, the dynamics for involving other stakeholders such as the civil society, the public opinion, media, academia and the private sector in decision-making seem to be non-existing. The existing institutional mechanisms are ill-equipped and mostly government facilitated and managed. Most NGOs and media in the region are often bound by regulatory constraints. Yet the availability of the social media is increasingly providing an alternative and powerful means of public dialogue. Besides, though various research and development pockets have emerged in the region, notably Qatar, UAE and Saudi, the link between science and policy is still in its infancy. Processes for informing decision-making with academic research input and expertise are to be improved.
My paper will attempt to explore the political-environmental nexus within the existing institutional frameworks. The eminent questions will be: What are the existing institutional frameworks that drives GCC responses to the emerging environmental challenges? What prompts sustainability policy domestically within GCC? What institutional dynamics prevail and what role do the domestic actors play in setting and pushing the sustainability agenda forward in the GCC? The research is timely given the recent discussion on the sustainable development goals and means to achieve them.