(MENAFN - Arab Times) The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Committee of Undersecretaries of Planning and Development Ministries and institutions convened its 30th meeting here, Sunday, in preparation of the 24th meeting of the ministerial committee. Addressing the officials, Secretary General of Kuwait's Higher Planning and Development Council Dr Adel Al- Wuqayan said the region is facing accelerating and swift changes in all fields, including higher education, healthcare, and other areas of human development.
This, he stressed, requires greater attention and more concerted effort that also matches the high rate of increase in population in the GCC and that states increase their peoples' confidence in their own abilities so that they contribute more to regional and international development. The Gulf states constitute a power not to be ignored in today's energy market, he said, but cautioned "the technological advances and repeated calls for a switch to clean energy from renewable resources stands to put a damper on this weight, inevitably." This means it is more vital than ever to seek diversification of sources of national income away from oil and related sectors, "and that is an added responsibility for the planning and development bodies to address." Global political change and upheavals continue to shadow the Gulf economies, he argued, and makes it harder to do risk analysis or draft long-term plans. The way out is to focus on research and draw different scenarios and due reactions in an objective manner to ultimately take sound and well-thought decisions.
As for agenda, the officials address issues including follow up on implementation of comprehensive long-term development strategy (2010-2025), upcoming workshops on improving GCC performance in development and planning, follow up on resolutions of the 23rd GCC Planning and Development Ministerial Committee meeting, and review of memos of the Secretariat on several dossiers and recommendations of specialized committees. An item also high on the agenda is review of member states' progress in the field of bolstering technical and scientific capabilities, specifically related to setting up comprehensive databases and developing best access and usage of the information, as well as automated linkage