42 years since founding the GCC: Integration towards the future

Bahrain joins Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states in marking the 42nd anniversary of the establishment of this leading geo-political bloc on May 25.

The bloc has built a solid foundation of cooperation that has driven substantial progress for its state members and peoples since its establishment. This has led to optimism and confidence in ongoing development plans and their ability to shape the future.

Over four decades have passed since the first founding summit in AbuDhabi in 1981, during which the GCC has proven to be a resilient unit despite many challenges and regional and international crises that have occurred.

This is an occasion to recount the exceptional efforts of the founding GCC leaders, who have laid out the foundation for over 40 years of outstanding development.

GCC leaders have invested in the geo-strategic importance and political and economic influence of the GCC, succeeding to gain the trust and respect of the international community.

The leaders created a duo of balanced internal policies that safeguard the unity and sovereignty of the GCC, and a foreign policy that supports international security, peace and stability.

The objectives and achievements realised by the GCC since its establishment focused on building societies in member states and their progress in multiples disciplines. The directives of GCC leaders guided this path towards implementing the goals stated by the statute of the council.

Within this framework, the Kingdom of Bahrain worked towards supporting joint GCC action and consolidating integration and collaboration among member states in various areas.

Bahraini foreign policy and diplomacy contributed to unifying GCC ranks and stances and decisions, whether through proposing and enacting initiatives or active participation in implementing recommendations and decisions from key GCC summits and meetings.

In line with the policy led by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the follow up of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Bahrain has demonstrated keenness in joining the efforts of the GCC members states in achieving prosperity and stability for the people of Gulf.

Bahrain has actively engaged in activating GCC agreements aimed at boosting partnership and integration.

Significant levels of advancement and modernisation were the result of those joint efforts which led to an economic and urban boom that has been secured by sustainable development projects and optimal investment in natural resources.

GCC states also invested heavily in the education of their citizens and their capacity building, making them both the goal and driver of this development process.

The 42nd anniversary of founding the GCC bloc comes amidst rapid changes and challenges; be it security, political, economic, environmental or food security. This necessitated stronger collaboration to address those pressing challenges and further reinforce the stability and progress of the GCC, which has been evident in the determination of the member states to focus on unifying their stances and deal with international and regional developments with thorough deliberation.

Within this context, the GCC continues to enhance cooperation and partnership with most key regional and international players to achieve common interests. The success of the approach has been reflected in the advanced rankings of GCC states in many development indices, and how they have become preferable destinations for investment and living.

It is not only resources that make the GCC states an attractive destination, but also their stability and vibrant communities that have become increasingly known for embracing the values of co-existence and openness.

GCC collaboration has resulted in multidisciplinary progress in many areas including the GCC interconnection grid; economic and financial cooperation; trade; customs; investment; tourism; logistics; transportation, logistics and aviation; energy; environment; technology; education; youth, sports, culture, media and arts; security, defense, intelligence, cybersecurity and counter terrorism.

One of the most prominent current joint economic projects is the GCC railway which has seen significant momentum. The railway project will be a big boost for GCC trade exchange, better travel connectivity for citizens and residents and it will contribute to supporting investments and GCC economic integration. In turn, this will have a positive effect on land trade routes on Arab, regional and international levels and will reflect on global economic growth.

The railway will extend for 2117 kilo metres from Kuwait in the north, going through all GCC states to reach Oman in the south. Trains will be diesel-powered and will travel at a speed of 220 km/h.

Source: Bahrain News Agency