Climate Change: Partnership Opportunities in the Framework of EU-GCC Relations

Tackling the multiple challenges of climate change is a matter of the highest priority for both the Gulf states and the European Union.  Incoming EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced that a “Green Deal for Europe” will be her top priority, while all six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are similarly signed up to carbon emission reductions as part of the 2016 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

While the Gulf countries have often been criticised for the size of their ‘carbon footprints’, it is important to recognise that the Gulf region is one of the most vulnerable when it comes to the impacts climate change, including: increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, advancing desertification and more extreme weather events. Already, the impact of climate change is observable on the fragile ecosystem of the region, which in turn is threatening serious consequences for the economic and development advances achieved in this part of the world over recent decades.

This paper by Dr Mohamed Abdelraouf for the Bussola Institute argues that the six countries of the GCC are as deeply concerned by the impact of climate change as their European counterparts, and they are determined to make a significant contribution to climate change research, while also playing a full part in international negotiations to resolve the challenges posed by our warming planet.

Outlining the principal challenges ahead, this paper also explores the potential for partnership between the EU and the GCC countries in this shared endeavour, and marks the start of a major programme of research by the Bussola Institute aimed at supporting and encouraging cooperation between Europe and the Gulf on this closely shared agenda.

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