Sustainable development in the Arab world – is the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region fit for the challenge?

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region and the wider Arab world are faced with multiple interconnected dilemmas embedded in the social, economic, and environmental pillars of sustainable development. The question of how to design effective sustainability strategies that are aligned with the context of the GCC region is a relevant one. In this special issue, contributors have investigated the obstacles to sustainable development in the GCC region, the impact of current development patterns on the sustainability agenda, and the way in which countries react to local, regional, and global sustainability pressures and debates. The issue aimed to provide a platform for academics to present policy-relevant research and practical steps being taken towards realising genuine sustainable development within the GCC region, while teasing out the major obstacles to this process. This regional focus is motivated by the shared challenge of GCC countries of reforming carbon-based economies as well as their systems of high subsidisation and universal benefits in order to incorporate sustainable concerns, merit based rules, and more targeted policies. While these challenges are shared with other Arab countries, as well as other countries exporting oil and gas, the origins, current patterns, and future directions of sustainability reforms in the GCC region reveal interesting lessons to be learnt.

Esmat Zaidan , Mohammad Al-Saidi and Suzanne H. Hammad

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