Gulf Cooperation Council: Extended Process Of Integration, Interconnection, Joint Gulf Action


(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Many hopes are placed on the success of the 44th session of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), scheduled to be hosted by the State of Qatar on Tuesday, in support of the process of joint Gulf action, enhancing integration, interconnection and coordination among member states in all fields, and consolidating the bonds of brotherhood and unifying the Gulf ranks, in a way that achieves the aspirations and hopes of the GCC people.
For more than 42 years, the GCC, under the guidance of Their Majesties and Highnesses the leaders of the Council states, has been keen to establish strong fraternal relations between member states through many regular, extraordinary and consultative summits, which accomplished many achievements in support of the integration of joint Gulf action politically, economically, socially, humanitarianly and in defense, security and at various levels, making the Council one of the strongest regional organizations in the world and the most interconnected and harmonious.
On May 1981, Their Majesties and Highnesses, the leaders of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sultanate of Oman, Qatar and Kuwait reached a cooperative framework joining the six states to achieve coordination, integration and inter-connection among the Member States in all fields in order to achieve unity and deepen and strengthening ties, connections and aspects of cooperation between citizens of the Council states, based on the special relations, common characteristics, and similar systems that connect these countries according to the Islamic faith and belief in a common destiny and unity of purpose, as cooperation serves the interests of all the peoples of the Arab nation.
The GCC States are distinguished by the depth of religious and cultural ties and familial connection among their citizens. These are generally factors of rapprochement and unification that have been strengthened by the flat geographical area across the coastal desert environment. It facilitated communication between them and created interconnectedness among the residents of this region and harmony in identity and values, which increased the strength of the Council and consolidated its position in the face of regional challenges.
The GCC basic objectives are to formulate similar regulations in various fields including the economic and financial affairs, commerce, customs and communications, education and culture, social and health affairs, information and tourism, and legislative and administrative affairs to stimulate scientific and technological progress in the fields of industry, mining, agriculture, water and animal resources, in addition to establishing scientific research and joint ventures and encourage cooperation by the private sector.
The Council includes the main bodies, namely the Supreme Council, the Ministerial Council, and The Secretariat General. The Supreme Council is the highest authority of the organization. It is composed of the Heads of the Member States. Its presidency rotates periodically among the Member States in alphabetical order. It meets in an ordinary session every year; extraordinary sessions may be convened at the request of any Member State seconded by another Member State. To be valid, a meeting must be attended by two-thirds of the Member States.
The Supreme Council works on realizing the objectives of the Cooperation Council, especially reviewing matters of interest to the member states, laying down the higher policy for the Cooperation Council and the basic lines it should follow, reviewing the recommendations, reports, studies and joint ventures submitted by the Ministerial Council for approval, reviewing reports and studies, which the Secretary-General is charged to prepare, approving the bases for dealing with other states and international organizations, approving the rules of procedure of the Commission for the Settlement of Disputes and nominating its members, appointing the Secretary-General, amending the Charter of the Cooperation Council, approving the Council's internal rules of procedure and approving the budget of the Secretariat General.
Each member of the Supreme Council shall have one vote. Resolutions of the Supreme Council in substantive matters shall be carried by unanimous approval of the Member States participating in the voting, while resolutions on procedural matters shall be carried by majority vote.
The Cooperation Council have a commission called "The Commission for the Settlement of Disputes" which is attached to the Supreme Council. The Supreme Council establish the composition of the Commission for every case on an "ad hoc" basis in accordance with the nature of the dispute. If a dispute arises over interpretation or implementation of the Charter and such dispute is not resolved within the Ministerial Council or the Supreme Council, the Supreme Council refer such dispute to the Commission for the Settlement of Disputes.
The Commission submit its recommendations or opinion, as applicable, to the Supreme Council for such action as the Supreme Council deems appropriate.
Their Highnesses and Majesties, the leaders of the GCC countries, established an advisory board was established for the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council to expand the consultation base to achieve the aspirations and hopes of the peoples of the GCC countries. It is composed of thirty members, five members from each of the Member State, chosen for their expertise and competence.
The Advisory Board of the GCC Supreme Council was established by a decision of the Supreme Council at its 18th session in Kuwait in December 1997 to assist the Supreme Council and provide advice in everything that would support the progress of the Council and prepare it to face future challenges.
The Board annually chooses its president from among the representatives of the state that presides over the session of the Supreme Council, and a vice-president from among the representatives of the state next in line. The Board does not discuss matters except what is referred to it by the Supreme Council of the GCC. The Board is assisted by an administrative body linked to the General Secretariat of the Cooperation Council, which is the Office of Advisory Board Affairs
The Advisory Board exercises its duties according to a mechanism consistent with its system and the nature of the issues it is assigned to. After the issuance of the assignment by the Supreme Council of the Advisory Board and the start of the new session of the Cooperation Council, the Board holds a meeting in which it selects the president and his deputy for its new session in the presence of the GCC Secretary-General, who is responsible for conveying the Supreme Councils directives to the Board, then a general discussion takes place of the topics assigned to be studied on the basis of the notes and information provided by the Secretariat General and the observations and comments presented by members regarding all topics. Afterward, committees are formed. There are committees for each topic to study it in detail. Committee members prepare studies and working papers for each topic, and some specialized experts may be sought, then each committee prepares a draft of the boards views on this topic.
After the committees finish preparing the draft views, the Board holds a general meeting to discuss what the Commissions committees have developed. It agree on a unified formula for its visions regarding the issues referred to it that it submits to the Supreme Council. In its previous sessions, the Supreme Council approved all of the Advisory Boards views and referred them to the relevant ministerial committees.
In order to support the role of the Advisory Board in contributing effectively to enhancing the process of joint work, the Supreme Council decided at its 21st session, to invite the Chairman of the board to attend the meetings of the Supreme Council to respond to any inquiries that the Supreme Council may have regarding the views of the Advisory Authority regarding the topics referred to it by the Council. It is also customary, starting from the 3rd session of the board, for the President of the Ministerial Council to meet with the members of the board at the first meeting of each session, to inform them of developments concerning the Council States and to respond to members inquiries. Representatives of the board also hold a joint annual meeting with the Ministerial Council, during which the boards views are reviewed, before being submitted to the Supreme Council.
In order for the board to continuously evaluate and develop its performance, the board forms at the beginning of each session a Presidency Committee, which is responsible for coordinating the work of the board, examining the possibility of developing its performance, and submitting proposals in this regard. The Presidency Committee also has a role in following up on the implementation of the boards views and submitting proposals in this regard. This Committee participates in the joint annual meeting with the Ministerial Council in which it discusses the Advisory boards views.
The Advisory Board enjoys the patronage and attention of Their Majesties and Highnesses, the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council States, who expressed this during their meetings with its members, believing in the role of the Board, its experience, and the views and studies it provided that were characterized by professionalism and objectivity. At its 23rd session in Doha, 2002, the Supreme Council decided to form a committee of member states and the Secretariat General to prepare a report on developing the current advisory body work system, so that the ideas proposed by the Advisory Board and the views, ideas and perceptions deemed by member states in this regard are included.
The Advisory Board Affairs Office officially began its duties from its permanent headquarters in the Omani capital, Muscat, as of October 1, 2003. The committee formed to study the development of the Boards work system also completed the preparation of its report which was presented to the Supreme Council at its 24th session in Kuwait in 2003. It was decided to form a committee of political and legal experts from member states and the General Secretariat to prepare a comprehensive and complete vision for the process of developing the Boards system, considering the importance of the subject, the constitutional and legal dimensions, and the structural structure of the Cooperation Council and its institutions. The Boards development project is still under study by member states.
The GCC Supreme Council also agreed, at its 28th session in Doha in 2007, to hold three periodic meetings of the advisory Board every year, and on the Boards initiative to study issues that are different or over which there is disagreement among member states on issues related to joint cooperation between the Council states.
The Ministerial Council is among the basic bodies of the GCC, and it is formed of the Foreign Ministers of the member states or other delegated ministers. The Council Presidency shall be for the member state, which presided over the last ordinary session of the Supreme Council, or if necessary, for the state which is next to preside the Supreme Council.
The Ministerial Council convene every three months and may hold extraordinary sessions at the invitation of any member seconded by another member, The Ministerial Council determine the venue of its next session. A Council's meeting is deemed valid if attended by two-thirds of the member states.
The functions of the Ministerial Council include proposing policies, preparing recommendations, studies and projects aimed at developing cooperation and coordination between member states in various fields and adopting the resolutions or recommendations required in this regard, as well as encourage, develop and coordinate activities between member states in all fields. Resolutions adopted in such matters shall be referred to the Ministerial Council for further submission, with recommendations to the Supreme Council for appropriate action, in addition to providing recommendations to the relevant ministers to formulate policies to implement the decisions of the Cooperation Council.
The Ministerial Council encourage means of cooperation and coordination between the various private sector activities, develop existing cooperation between the member states' Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and encourage the movement within the GCC of workers who are citizens of the member states. It refer any of the various aspects of cooperation to one or more technical or specialized committee for study and presentation of appropriate recommendations, review proposals related to amendments to this Charter and submit appropriate recommendations to the Supreme Council, approve Rules of Procedure of both the Ministerial Council and the Secretariat General.
The Ministerial Council appoint the Assistant Secretaries-General, as nominated by the Secretary-General, for a period of three year, renewable, approve periodic reports as well as internal rules and regulations relating to administrative and financial affairs proposed by the Secretary-General, submit recommendations to the Supreme Council for approval of the budget of the Secretariat General, make arrangements for meetings of the Supreme Council, prepare its agenda, review matters referred to it by the Supreme Council.
Every member of the Ministerial Council shall have one vote, resolutions of the Ministerial Council in substantive matters shall be carried by unanimous vote of the member state present and participating in the vote, and in procedural matters by majority vote.
The Secretariat General is one of the basic bodies of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It is composed of a Secretary-General who is assisted by assistants and a number of staff as required.
The Supreme Council appoint the Secretary-General, who is a citizen of one of the Cooperation Council states, for a period of three years, which may be renewed once only. The Secretary-General nominate the Assistant Secretaries-General and appoint Secretariat General staff from among the citizens of member states and can not make exceptions without the approval of the Ministerial Council.
The administrative body of the General Secretariat composed of the Secretary-General and five Assistant Secretaries-General for political affairs and negotiations, economic and development affairs, military affairs, security affairs, and legislative and legal affairs. They are appointed by the Ministerial Council upon nomination by the Secretary-General for a period of three years, subject to renewal.
The Secretariat General also includes four heads of specialized sectors for political affairs, negotiation affairs, economic affairs, human affairs and the environment, who are directly linked to the relevant assistant secretaries-general. They are appointed by the Ministerial Council upon nomination by the Secretary-General for a period of three years, subject to renewal, in addition to five heads of missions for foreign offices. They are directly linked to the relevant assistant secretaries-general, and are appointed by the Ministerial Council upon nomination by the Secretary-General for a period of three years, subject to renewal, in addition to five general directors who are appointed by the Secretary-General.
The Secretary-General is directly responsible for the work of the Secretariat General and the smooth flow of work in its various organizations. He represent the Cooperation Council with other parties within the limits of the authority vested in him.
The Secretariat General prepares studies related to cooperation and coordination and integrated plans and programs for member states' action and periodic reports on the work of the Cooperation Council, follow up the implementation by the member states of the resolutions and recommendations of the Supreme Council and Ministerial Council, prepare reports and studies requested by the Supreme Council or Ministerial Council, the draft of administrative and financial regulations commensurate with the growth of the Cooperation Council and its expanding responsibilities, and the budgets and closing accounts of the Cooperation Council.
The Secretariat General is responsible for preparing meetings and agendas and draft resolutions for the Ministerial Council, recommend to the Chairman of the Ministerial Council the convening of an extraordinary session of the Council when necessary, and any other tasks entrusted to it by the Supreme Council or Ministerial Council.
The Secretary-General and the Assistant Secretaries-General and all the Secretariat General staff shall carry out their duties in complete independence. They must refrain from any action or behavior that is incompatible with their duties and from divulging confidential matters relating to their appointments either during or after their tenure of office.
The Cooperation Council and its organizations enjoy on the territories of all member states legal capacity, privileges, and immunities as are required to realize their objectives and carry out their functions. Representatives of the members of the Council, and the Council's employees, also enjoy such privileges and immunities.

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