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Ministerial Council Data
Events And Competitions
Laws and Regulations
Cooperation in the field of Human and Environment Affairs
Cooperation in the field of Human and Environment Affairs
Cooperation in the field of Human and Environment Affairs
Scientific and Technical Cooperation
Cooperation in education
Scientific and Technical Cooperation
Cooperation in the field of employment and social services
Joint Social Action
Cooperation in the Filed of Health
Joint Municipal Action
Joint Action in the Field of Housing
Joint Youth Action
Joint Sport Action
Cooperation in the fields of scientific and technical research has been accorded special attention , since the very beginning of the GCC process. Article (4) of the GCC Charter provides that Member States shall stimulate scientific research and technological progress in the fields of industry, mining, agriculture, water and animal resources, to establish scientific research centers and to establish joint ventures. Both the Unified Economic Agreement, 1981, and the Economic Agreement, 2001, stress these objectives. The latter provides "Member States shall adopt, as basic priorities for development, policies to support joint scientific and technical research, and develop their own joint scientific, technical, and information technology databases, including the adoption of the following policies:
• Increase the funds allocated to scientific and technical research.
• Encourage and provide the necessary incentives to the private sector to contribute to the funding of specialized scientific and technical research,
• Ensure that international companies operating in the GCC States sponsor specialized programs for scientific and technical research in the Member States.
• Establish a native scientific, technical, and information technology base that fully utilizes the expertise of international and regional organizations.
• Integrate scientific research institutions in the GCC States in order to develop and activate the scientific, technical, and information technology base, and to work jointly to set up common research centers.
The Economic Agreement further provides a number of measures to be taken by the Member States in this framework as a minimum:
• Develop mechanisms for achieving optimal utilization of scientific and technical research in both public and private sectors, and continued coordination between the executive bodies, on the one hand, and the outputs of the scientific, technical, and information technology base, on the other.
• Support and develop technical information networks, systems and centers in Member States, and adopt programs to facilitate information dissemination and exchange among the institutions of scientific and technical research in the GCC States.
To meet the said objectives, a committee was formed to enhance cooperation among Member States in the field of scientific and technical research. Functions of this committee are coordination, cooperation and unification of positions. The fields through which these functions can be performed include developing policies and programs of scientific and technical research and proposing areas of scientific and technical joint action.
The role of universities and research institutes is crucial for the comprehensive and sustainable development process in Member States. The competent committee enhances partnership and cooperation between scientific and technical research institutions and industrial and production plants through developing interlocking relations between scientific research and development in Member States.
The decision of Supreme Council at the 22nd session (Muscat, December 2001) pertaining to adoption of opinions of the Consultative Commission concerning scientific and technical research, and its decision at the 27th session (Riyadh, December 2006) concerning conducting joint GCC study on use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes according to international criteria, represents the most prominent routes of the joint action in the current decade. The Secretariat General follows up and coordinates among the GCC States and executes some activities and actions. Given below are a summary of what has been executed.
I. Follow up of Scientific and Research Cooperation
• Preparation of a Booklet on reports sent by the Member States on their opinions concerning the status of scientific research and future plans.
• Agreeing on the preparation of State of Qatar’s preliminary feasibility study on the creation of a fund to support activities of the joint scientific research among the GCC States.
• Exchange of field visits to researches in the GCC States.
• Making arrangements to hold a meeting for the working group of officials of earthquakes monitoring centers in the GCC aimed to introduce the activities of these centers and study the possibility of linking them.
• Working to follow up the proposals from the authorities concerned with scientific research pertaining to the proposal of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques on accelerating the performance and removing the obstacles that come in the way of various aspects of joint process between the GCC States.
• Approving the preparation of a report by the State of Qatar highlighting aspects of joint cooperation between the research centers in the GCC States in the field of environmental activities.
II. Promoting the Use of Nuclear Technology for Peaceful Purposes by the GCC States
Energy consumption rates of electric energy and desalinated water, whose
production depends on oil and gas products in GCC Member States, are of the highest rate worldwide, which is attributed to the increased population growth rate, development plans and the volume of projects. Therefore, GCC Member States have decided to seek another source of energy to use it as an additional source beside oil and gas in order to achieve economic development and social welfare. GCC Member States are of the view that nuclear energy could be utilized to achieve this objective along with supporting international efforts for developing other renewable sources of energy.
This trend will certainly provide greater quantities of oil and gas exports to international markets, which will enhance their stability by increasing supply and consequently increase national revenues. This will reduce oil and gas depletion rates and prolong production period in order to preserve this non-renewable resource for future generations. Besides, this will provide additional potentials to the transfer of advanced technology for peaceful purposes.
This strategic trend for utilizing nuclear energy in power generation and water desalination is encouraged by many factors: Such as the use of this source will help reduce carbon dioxide emission, one of the gases causing global warming phenomenon. Moreover, the high levels of safety and performance of nuclear energy has abated the public concern about the construction of nuclear reactors. In addition, the costs of utilizing nuclear energy depend mainly on the capital costs of the construction of nuclear reactors. This, of course, protects nuclear energy from price fluctuations.
GCC Member States have taken the first step towards this trend when the Supreme Council at the 27th session (Riyadh, December 2006) decided to conduct a joint study on the uses of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes according to international standards. In implementation of this decision, GCC Member States agreed that IAEA would conduct a preliminary feasibility study on the use of nuclear energy for power generation and water desalination to be followed by a detail study and implementation work program.
(1) Initial Meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
The GCC Secretary General held a meeting with the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency in February, 2007, in which his Excellency placed for discussion many topics of common interest and methods of cooperation between the GCC Secretariat General and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The two sides discussed the technical bases of constructive cooperation and agreed that the International Atomic Energy Agency shall provide technical support to the GCC States in their quest for the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, including expertise and advice required to conduct the joint study in this regard. Accordingly, a close strategic relationship has been established that is based on close cooperation in which International Atomic Energy Agency shall provide the technical support. The GCC, in its process relies on the international legitimacy in this field.
The Supreme Council, in the 9th Consultative Meeting, held on 15th May 2007, went through the Secretary General's report in this regard and decided to assign the working group to follow up the progress of the preparation of the primary feasibility study by International Atomic Energy Agency , and to provide information and allocate one million dollars to cover the follow up of the study. It also directed the Secretary General to submit a presentation of what has been achieved and urged to complete GCC States' accession to the IAEA's membership and promote the cooperation between the GCC Secretariat General and the IAEA, and to enhance abilities of the Secretariat General.
(2) Joint Ventures Among the GCC States in the field of Peaceful Nuclear Applications
A working group of the Member States has been formed to follow up the cooperation and implementation of the joint venture among the Member States in the field of peaceful nuclear applications. The team, since its formation in 2007 held a number of meetings to discuss the joint issues in this field and follow up the projects assigned to it by the Ministerial Council. These meetings included scientific discussions, in specialized fields by experts and specialists.
(3) Primary Feasibility Study on use of Nuclear Energy for Power Generation and Water Desalination
In implementation of the Supreme Council's decision at the 27th session (Riyadh, December 2006) directing to conduct a joint GCC study on the uses of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes according to international criteria, IAEA has prepared the primary feasibility study on use of Nuclear Energy for power generation and water desalination in participation with the working group assigned by the GCC States. Among the most prominent findings of this study are the following:
• Use of nuclear energy for power generation and water desalination in GCC Member States is one of the cost-effective options to meet the increasing demand for electricity and water. They are two basic components on which the process of development, prosperity and growth rely.
• International Atomic Energy Agency emphasized the necessity of enhancing and developing the related infrastructure and institutional requirements and specifying its tasks to use the nuclear energy in each GCC State.
• Complete the detailed studies and submit the joint action plan to fulfill the basic requirements of GCC States' use of this source of energy. The Supreme Council at the 28th session (Doha, December 2007) was informed of the result of the preliminary feasibility study on uses of nuclear energy for power generation and desalination.
The Supreme Council took a decision directing to start preparation of the detailed studies and directed a working group composed of specialists from the GCC States and Secretariat General to follow up the progress of preparation of the required studies. It also included an authorization to the Ministerial Council to approve whatever is required by the working group of financial resources to cover the costs of its preparation.
(4) Terms of Reference of the Detailed Studies on Uses of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes
In implementation of the decision of the Supreme Council at the 29th session (Muscat, December 2008), pertaining to accelerating the completion of the terms of reference of the detailed studies on uses of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, IAEA completed draft terms of reference for the studies necessary for development of program of nuclear power for power generation and desalination in the GCC States. The draft terms of reference included seven key areas relating to development of nuclear power program. They are as under:
• legal framework of nuclear power program.
• Nuclear safety infrastructure
• Technical and industrial infrastructure.
• National studies to develop sustainable strategy of electricity and water and possible contribution of nuclear power to the same.
• Specifying locations of nuclear installations.
• Planning the workforce for the program.
• The cycle of nuclear energy: disposal of nuclear waste.
(5) Technical Cooperation with International Atomic Energy Agency
In implementation of the decision of Supreme Council, at the 29th session (Muscat, December 2008), pertaining to GCC States benefiting from technical cooperation programs with IAEA, it has been agreed upon between the GCC and IAEA to create three GCC projects, to be designed to meet the common needs of these States within the framework of technical cooperation programs of 2009-2001, including steps of development of institutional infrastructure, legislations, regulatory and supervisory bodies associated with national and regional programs in the fields of safety, peace, security, research, and development related to nuclear energy. These three projects are as under:
• First Project: Development and strengthening the legislative infrastructure and rules of nuclear safety and security in the GCC States.
• Second Project: Planning and development of uses of nuclear power in the GCC States.
• Third Project: Development of human abilities of GCC States working in the field of nuclear energy through establishing nuclear research and training centers .
The technical cooperation has been completed with IAEA within the three programs, funded by the GCC.
In September 2010, the working group started dealing with IAEA concerning the projects proposed for 2012 and 2013. IAEA was provided with what the working group saw in this regard and IAEA approved it.
The working group formed a small committee composed of three members; a representative from Sultanate of Oman, a representative from the State of Kuwait, a representative from the GCC Secretariat General to work with IAEA to design these projects and hand over them to IAEA within the specified times. This committee met with IAEA in February 2011, and it was agreed upon to design the joint project for the years of 2012 and 2013 under title "Building necessary capabilities to introduce nuclear energy for power generation and water desalination in the Gulf region". This program is to focus on intensified activities and specialized courses to enhance the technical and administrative capabilities of the competent staff of the GCC States based on the result of the strategic study.
(6) Project of Study on Assessment of Regional Cooperation in Development of Civil Programs for Uses of Nuclear Energy for Power Generation and Water Desalination
Further to the decision of the Supreme Council at the 29th session (Muscat, December 2009), pertaining uses of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, directing to accelerate completion of the terms of reference of the detail studies on uses of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, with the aim of presenting them to international specialized companies and establishments to start their preparation; and after completion of these frameworks by IAEA and in implementation of this directive, the Secretariat General contacted many foreign embassies in Riyadh. It has introduced the project and expressed Secretariat General's desire to invite companies and expert offices to conduct the detailed studies to implement this project.
The Secretariat General, during these contacts obtained names and details of a total of thirty international consultancy firms. These firms were requested to submit their proposals to the Secretariat General. Following response from a number of these companies, all the submitted proposals were submitted to the meeting of the permanent committee held at the headquarters of the Secretariat General on 21st June 2009. After submitting them to the Ministerial Council at the 111th session a decision was issued affirming the importance of the study and development of the necessary infrastructure.
(7) Project of Strategic Study on the Possible Methods of Assessment of Areas of Joint Cooperation among the GCC States
In implementation of the decision of the Supreme Council (Kuwait, December 2010) pertaining to uses of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, approving the project of the strategic study of the possible methods of assessment of cooperation areas between the GCC States in development of uses of nuclear energy, the Secretariat General singed a contract with Light Bridge for the preparation of the strategic study on 1st December 2010. With close cooperation between the Secretariat General and the assigned team and consultant, the study was completed within the specified time. The most important results of this study were presented to the Ministerial Council at the 120th session.
The study results included an assessment of the feasibility of establishment of joint project to build a nuclear power station among the GCC States and requirements and conditions of this project, and challenges and effects entailed. The study concluded that this project is feasible from technical and commercial aspect, because there are suitable locations to establish joint projects initially, with significant institutional and technical obstacles that must be overcome, such as nuclear safety and security and regional cooperation.
The study results also concentrated on the priority of joint cooperation in development of nuclear energy infrastructure according to the following frameworks:
• Legal framework, nuclear accountability and international agreements.
• Nuclear organizing laws
• Assessment of site study.
• Culture of safety and building human abilities, training, infrastructure and development.
• Secure management of consumed fuels and nuclear wastes.
• Action plan to face nuclear emergencies.
In view of the new developments of events in the region and start of operation of the Iranian Bushehr reactor in September 2011, and the reports surfaced stating the possibility of a nuclear disaster as a result of incompatible and old technology used in it. In addition, Iran is the only country in the world that operates a nuclear reactor without joining Nuclear Safety Treaty which obligates the signing parties to adhere to the minimum limit of the nuclear safety plans and systems. This has led to fears about the occurrence of a nuclear disaster in the Arabian Gulf. Therefore , it has become essential to take the necessary action to protect GCC States from any potential disaster, by accomplishing the advice related to the action plan to face nuclear emergencies.
The study included seventeen recommendations which were approved by the Supreme Council at the 120th session. The Secretariat General, in coordination with the Presidency of the Council’s current session, is devising a practical mechanism to execute the recommendations of the strategic study according to a time schedule in cooperation with IAEA, European Union, and some specialized companies.
Based on the Ministerial Council's decision, at the 125th preparatory session approving the proposal submitted by SNC-LAVALIN regarding preparation of nuclear emergency plan for the GCC States and directing the Secretary General to sign the contract, a contract has been signed with the said company in February 2013, according to specifications and technical reference specified by the assigned team.
The assigned working group formed a technical team of competent officials and the Secretariat General to follow up the preparation of the plan with the company and set terms of reference for the duties of the technical team. Within this framework, the Company's experts and the Secretariat General visited the Member States in the months of March and April 2013, to go through the national plans of each State, and installations and preparations available in each of them, as well as the level of quality and method of their merging with the regional plan and the extent of compatibility of those plan with international criteria.
Timing of the implementation of one of the most important objective of the plan's program was agreed upon, i.e. , intensified training for GCC trainees. The plan was prepared, initially, circulated and reviewed. The concerned bodies of the GCC States expressed their remarks on them.
In this framework, field exercises were conducted in three stages, for the competent officials of the Member States. The first exercise was conducted at the headquarters of the Secretariat General in the month of July 2013, for a period of four days, in which 150 competent officials form the Member State participated and learned how to respond and control.
The second stage of the training on confronting nuclear emergencies was held in the State of Qatar, from 14-20 September 2013, which was complementary to the first training.
The third and last stage of the field training was completed at the headquarters of the GCC Secretariat General from 8-12 December 2013. It was a field implementation of the plan, according to field installations and requirements and accident scenario, and method of dealing with the environment according to steps contained in the plan. The plan was completed in the best possible manner, in the presence of experts of IAEA who followed up the field application of the plan practically and monitored all the steps. The plan will be reviewed in its final form at the headquarters of IAEA by its experts, in preparation to raise it to the Ministerial Council for adoption.