GCC must focus on stronger integration (Zawya, 25/12/2012)

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will need to look thoroughly into its future plans with regard to its development as an entity. More than three decades since its establishment, the GCC is yet to attain progress on numerous issues and in different areas. This is important, especially for its future outlook.

Leaders from the GCC countries met at a two-day summit in Bahrain. The summit discussed a number of important issues. Saudi Arabia has called for building a coordinated defence mechanism as well as a security system amongst the GCC’s members. In addition, Bahrain highlighted the changes taking place in the region and how it is affecting the overall scenario in the Arab world.

The crucial issues facing GCC are on more than one level. For one thing, unfolding events in the region have to be addressed and a unified stance adopted. This is the case with the conflict in Syria as the ongoing violence has brought about an increase in the number of deaths as well as heightened the threat of a possible disintegration of the nation.

In addition, the GCC has once again raised its concern over the attitude as well as actions of Iran with regard to its nuclear programme. Iran continues to adopt a high-handed approach and a policy of secrecy that has raised questions about the true intentions of its nuclear programme.
In addition to these external factors, there are many internal challenges that GCC needs to address. For one thing, the population growth and the increase in the number of young people across the GCC is something that has to be addressed in order to enable this generation to realise its potential. This has implications on education, workforce, housing and other sectors.

Moving forward, there is an urgent need for the GCC to translate words into action with a stronger integration process as well as a practical approach that will bear fruit.

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