Riyadh, 22 August 2017 - A partnership agreement was signed today between UN Environment and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to address pressing environmental issues facing GCC countries. The agreement was signed by Mr Erik Solheim, the Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and the head of UN Environment and on behalf of the Council, the Secretary General, H.E Dr Abdullatif Al-Zayani.
The agreement will support the implementation of four key priority projects agreed upon by the Ministers of Environment and endorsed by the GCC Ministerial Council. UN Environment, the GCC Secretariat and member countries will develop a unified system for the sound management of chemicals, guidelines to safeguard coastal ecosystems from dredging activities, standards for collection and analysis of air quality data and assessment of the state of the environment and future outlook in the region. GCC nations will contribute US $1.34 million towards this work over a four-year period.
The initiative will strengthen the drive of the GCC in integrating environment into sustainable development to promote growth, prosperity and well-being of its citizens. It is also aligned with the global movement towards protecting oceans and fighting pollution.
The GCC region currently hosts UN Environment's West Asia Office in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and has supported its activities in the GCC region and the wider Arab region.
Erik Solheim, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and head of UN Environment, said the initiative was an example of how environmental protection and pollution control can be placed at the core of regional and transnational cooperation.
"Gulf Cooperation Council nations have long believed, rightly, that sustainable economic development can only take place when nature and natural resources are safeguarded," he said.