Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC)

Member States of the GCC:

Background of the GCC

The GCC is a political, economic, social, and regional organisation according to its charter. It is a regional co-operation system between the Arab States of the Gulf created to meet the challenges imposed by surrounding circumstances. The geographical proximity of the GCC states and the similarity of their regulations and economic and social conditions were additional factors that helped in the establishment of the GCC.

The GCC was established on 4 February 1981 and held its first summit meeting on 25 May 1981 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Summits have been held every year since then.

Objectives of the GCC

The basic objectives of the Co-operation Council are:

  • To effect co-ordination, integration, and interconnection among member states in all fields in order to achieve unity among them.
  • To deepen and strengthen relations, links and areas of co-operation now prevailing among their people in various fields.
  • To formulate similar regulations in various fields including the following
    • Economic and financial affairs
    • Commerce, customs and communications
    • Education and culture
    • Social and health affairs
    • Information and tourism
    • Legislative and administrative affairs
  • To stimulate scientific and technological progress in the fields of industry, mining, agriculture, water and animal resources, to establish scientific research, to establish joint ventures and encourage co-operation by the private sector for the good of their people.

Organisation of the GCC

The Co-operation Council has the following main organisations:

The Supreme Council

The Supreme Council is the highest authority of the Co-operation Council formed of heads of members states. Its presidency rotates among members states based on the alphabetical order of their names. It holds one regular session every year. Extraordinary sessions may be convened at the request of any member seconded by another member. It holds its session in the territories of member states. The meeting of the Supreme Council is considered valid if attended by two-thirds of the member states. The Co-operation Council has a commission called "The Commission for the Settlement of Disputes" which is attached to the Supreme Council. The Supreme Council establishes 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 a dispute is not resolved within the Ministerial Council or the Supreme Council, the Supreme Council may refer such dispute to the Commission for the Settlement of Disputes. The Commission submits its recommendations or opinions as applicable, to the Supreme Council of such action as the Supreme Council deems appropriate.

Ministerial Council

The Ministerial Council is formed of the Foreign Ministers of the member states or other delegated ministers. The presidency of the Ministerial Council is for the member states which presided 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 meets every three months. An extraordinary meeting could also be held whenever needed.

Secretariat General

The Secretariat General is composed of a Secretary-General, Assistant Secretaries-General, and a number of staff as required. Its headquarters is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Secretariat General is composed of the following sections:

  • Political Affairs
  • Military Affairs
  • Economic Affairs
  • Human and Environmental Affairs
  • Legal Affairs
  • Finance and Administrative Affairs
  • Information Centre
  • Information Department
  • Office of the Secretary-General
  • Technical Telecommunications Bureau (in Bahrain)

GCC Delegation (in Brussels)