Developing economies in the Middle East face a dual crisis: to brave a rampant COVID-19 pandemic and overcome upticks in major conflicts. An April report by the Netherlands Institute of International Relations traced some of the weakest public financing mechanisms in the Middle East to Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. Oxfam’s July estimates put 53% of Yemen’s conflict-ravaged population on the verge of starvation – a reality that will limit Yemen’s prospective gains from a sizable primary energy market by 2035.
It is against this backdrop that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) should supplement its security engagement in the Gulf with a focus on clean energy achievement. Consultation-driven energy cooperation is scarce, and any progress here will significantly compliment the region’s positive growth trajectory.
The 2020 Sustainable Development Report offers a snapshot of the Gulf’s impressive gains. Lebanon, Iran, Yemen, Iraq, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan and Qatar have all at least “moderately improved” their scores on the affordable and clean energy front, with nearly 60% of these countries on track to achieve their 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) commitments. To understand the significance of these gains, consider the fact that several of these economies reported double digit GDP contractions in recent months.
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