Four GCC countries — Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates — together submitted a concept paper at the just-concluded UN climate conference that noted their plans to cut emissions and improve climate resilience as endorsed by the conference.
The four countries have pledged to present their plans in the near future.
The decision opens the door for the participating countries to present "Economic Diversification Plans" under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a joint statement from Qatar National Food Security Program (QNFSP) and the Directorate of Energy and Climate Change, UAE, said.
Commented Dr Adel Khalifa Al Zayani, Director General of the Supreme Council for the Environment, Bahrain: "Although GCC countries have unique challenges presented by weather extremes and scarce water resources, this has not prevented us from stepping up our climate efforts and international commitments."
GCC countries have a wide range of projects that represent substantial contributions to clean energy technology and energy management.
The drive for low-carbon development reaches into other parts of infrastructure development as well, including investments such as the light rail system in Dubai and the one under construction in Qatar, the statement noted.
Cutting-edge urban development
Cutting-edge urban development projects such the UAE's Masdar City and Qatar's Lusail City reflect the regional commitment to raising the bar for innovative practices.
Once completed, the Msherieb Project in Doha will represent the world's highest concentration of "green" buildings, with 108 of its 110 buildings earning sustainability certifications, including the first-ever platinum LEED mosque. The scope of these projects reaches to the very core of the economic drivers for each of the nations.
Major investments in transforming industrial processes have seen the countries build on their experience as energy producers to develop technologies for reducing gas-flaring, improving carbon capture and storage and even launching the world's largest Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project in Qatar's Al Shaheen field.
Large investments in education and research point clearly to a regional commitment to pushing even further.
The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, the UAE's Masdar Institute and the Doha-based Qatar Science and Technology Park, Qatar Energy and Environment Research Institute, and the just-announced Qatar Climate Change Research Institute are well on the way to delivering significant returns economically while contributing to solutions needed on climate issues.
In their submission to the COP18/CMP8 sessions in Doha, the four GCC nations put forward that the principles of the UNFCCC's Bali Action Plan include recognition of national plans that deliver progress on climate issues through economic diversification and sustainable development.
"The joint initiative is a powerful signal of the region's seriousness in driving clean energy, enhancing energy security, creating jobs and protecting the climate," said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE's Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change.
Dr Khalid Abouleif, the Chief Negotiator on Climate Change for Saudi Arabia, noted: "We stand ready for cooperation and action on these global issues."