Establishment, Membership and Competence
The Consultative Commission of the GCC Supreme Council was established by resolution of the Supreme Council at its 18th session (Kuwait, December 1997), due to the conviction in the need to expand the consultation ground and intensify contacts among member States. The resolution was originally based on a proposal by late Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait at the 17th Summit of the Supreme Council (Doha, December 1996) for establishing a Consultative Commission to the GCC Supreme Council. The Consultative Commission is composed of members from GCC Member States that will help the Council and provide advice on matters relating to supporting the GCC process and facing the future challenges.
The ceremonial meeting for announcing the establishment of the Consultative Commission was held at the State of Kuwait (November 1998) under the auspices of His Highness, late Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait. The Commission is composed of 30 members Ė five members from each State. Every year, the Commission elects a chairperson from the representatives of the State that preside the Supreme Council's session, and a vice-chairperson from the representatives of the State that comes next in order. The Commission examines matters referred to it by the Supreme Council only. An administrative staff reporting to the Secretariat, i.e. Office of the Consultative Commission Affairs- Muscat assists the Consultative Commission.
Directives and Achievements
Starting from the 19th session, the Supreme Council has instructed the Consultative Commission to examine the following topics:
1. At its 19th session (Abu Dhabi, 1998), the Supreme Council instructed the Consultative Commission to study the employment of national Labor Force and facilitation of their Intra-GCC movement.
2. At its 20th session (Riyadh, 1999), the Supreme Council instructed the Consultative Commission to evaluate the economic cooperation among the GCC States and submit proposals for activating the Comprehensive Development Strategy of the GCC States (2000-2025).
3. At its 21st session (Manama, 2000), the Supreme Council instructed the Consultative Commission to examine the following topics in detail:
ē Education and development of curricula
ē Energy and environment
ē Water strategies
ē Scientific and technical research
4. At its 22nd session (Muscat, December 2001), the Supreme Council instructed the Consultative Commission to go on examining and developing proposals for activating the Comprehensive Development Strategy of the GCC States, giving priority to the social matters, particularly those relating to youth and their welfare and the media issues set out in the strategy.
5. At its 23rd session (Doha, December 2002), the Supreme Council instructed the Consultative Commission to study two topics: woman and her economic, social and household role, and the correction of the imbalance in the population composition with a view to ensure homogeneous population.
6. At its 24th session (Kuwait, December 2003), the Supreme Council instructed the Consultative Commission to evaluate the GCC process over the past 23 years, the role of private sector in enhancing the relationships among the GCC citizens and the Intra-GCC trade barriers.
7. At its 25th session (Manama, 2004), the Supreme Council instructed the Consultative Commission to study the phenomenon of terrorism and complete the study on evaluating the GCC process over the past 23 years.
8. At its 26th session (Abu Dhabi, 2005), the Supreme Council instructed the Consultative Commission to study two topics: Economic nationalization and its impact on fostering GCC nationalization and the importance of economic partnership in supporting the relations of the GCC States with their neighbors. These two topics are still under study by the Commission that will make recommendations to the Supreme Council at its next session to be held in Riyadh.
9. At its 27th session (Riyadh, December 2006), the Supreme Council instructed the Consultative Commission to study the enhancement of the appropriate work climate of the private sector in such a way that ensures according national treatment to the companies and investments in the GCC Member States.
10. At its 28th session (Doha, December 2007), the Supreme Council instructed the Consultative Commission to study the phenomenon of inflation and high prices and its social impact on GCC citizens and economies, in addition to the problem of unemployment; its reasons, effects and solution.
At its various sessions, the Supreme Council has adopted all recommendations of the Consultative Commission and referred them to the competent ministerial committees, except for the recommendations on the study for evaluating the GCC process, which the Supreme Council has referred to a committee of Member States and the Secretariat for consideration.
The Commissionís By-laws and Work Mechanism
The Consultative Commission exercises its functions according to a mechanism compatible with its by-law and the nature of the topics assigned to it by the Supreme Council.
The Consultative Commission holds a meeting wherein it elects its chairman and vice-chairman for the new session in presence of the GCC Secretary General who conveys the Supreme Councilís instruction to the Commission. Then the Commission conducts a general discussion of the topics to be examined based on the notes and information provided by the Secretariat and the membersí comments. Thereafter, ad hoc committees are formed from the Commissionís members; each committee examines in detail a specific topic. Committeesí members prepare studies and working paper for each one topic; in certain cases assistance of experts may be sought. Then each committee drafts the Commissionís comments on that topic. Some committees may need more than one meeting. After all committees have completed the draft comments, the Commission holds a general meeting for examining those comments with a view to reaching a common formula of its comments on the topics referred to it, which will then be submitted to the Supreme Council. For the purpose of enhancing the role of the Consultative Commission to efficiently contribute to enhancing the joint action, the Supreme Council (21st session, Manama) invited the chairman of the Commission to attend meetings of the Supreme Council and reply to the Councilís enquiries about the Commissionís comments on the topics referred to it by the Council.
Beginning from the 3rd session of the Consultative Commission, the Foreign Minister of the host State (President of the Ministerial Council) used to meet the Commissionís members in order to update them about recent developments at Member States and answer questions of some members. Representatives of the Commission also hold a joint annual meeting with the Ministerial Council for reviewing the Commissionís comments before submitting them to the Supreme Council.
For the purpose of evaluating and improving its performance on a constant basis, the Commission has formed a Presidency Committee; this committee coordinates the work of the Commission, examines the possibility of improving the Commissionís performance and submits relevant proposals.
The Presidency Committee plays an important role in following up implementation of the Commissionís recommendations and making relevant proposals in this connection. The Presidency Committee also participates in the annual joint meeting of the Ministerial Council for examining comments of the Consultative Commission.
Their Majesties and Highnesses, leaders of the GCC States, have showed a great deal of interest in the Consultative Commission and supported its process, which was expressed during their meetings with members of the Consultative Commission. Convinced in the role of the Consultative Commission and its experience as well as its professional and objective comments and studies, The Supreme Council (23rd session, Doha, 2002) resolved as follows:
1. Set up a committee composed of member States and the Secretariat to prepare a report on improving the current system of the Consultative Commissionís work to incorporate views of the Commission and proposals of member States in this respect.
2. Approve the Headquarter of the Consultative Commission of the Supreme Council to be based at Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.
The Office of the Consultative Commission Affairs has officially commenced its duties at its permanent headquarter at Muscat, Sultanate of Oman as of 1 October 2003. The Sultanate of Oman has provided the building and furnished it, too. The committee formed, for examining the improvement of the Commissionís work system, has finalized its report that has incorporated some proposals. The subject was then submitted to Their Majesties and Highnesses, leaders of the GCC States, at their 24th Summit (Kuwait, December 2003) where they have decided to set up a committee composed of political and legal experts from Member States and the Secretariat to develop a full comprehensive plan for improving the Commissionís work system, taking into account the importance of the subject, the constitutional and legal dimensions thereof and the organizational structure of the GCC and its affiliated bodies. The plan for improving the Commissionís work system is still under study by Member States.
At its 28th session (Doha, December 2007), the Supreme Council agreed to hold three periodic meetings of the Commission every year. The Council further approved the Commission's initiative concerning the matters of varied opinions or subject of controversy among Member States within the framework of the GCC joint action.