The long-term economic recovery from COVID-19 offers the Middle East a unique opportunity to achieve sustainable development and the goals of the Paris agreement. Many approaches have been suggested, but what are the best policy options for governments in the region aspiring for a green long-term recovery?

Throughout 2020, governments in the Middle East were at various stages of post-pandemic planning. As this report by the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government shows, short-term rescue measures in the region supported business-as-usual trajectories, and most countries did not actively promote green, resilient or just longer-term recoveries which are identified as the three main objectives for better recoveries. Yet, as the report also demonstrates, such policies will be imperative for achieving sustainable development in the region and for ensuring welfare for its people in the future.

This report covers the priorities for recovering better in the Middle East, particularly the largest oil producing economies, namely the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries, and Egypt and Iraq, which together account for 55% of the region’s GDP and 45% of its population. It also examines the region’s economic response to COVID-19 over a one-year period, from March 2020 through March 2021, and identifies emerging green, resilient and just recovery responses and related gaps.

The report concludes with policy recommendations for governments in the Middle East, building on the report findings and inputs from consultations with regional sustainable development stakeholders. The main recommendations include:

  • Adopting global best practices in developing and implementing recovery policies;
  • Removing obstacles and incentivizing sustainable recovery measures;
  • Supporting resilient and just transitions in hydrocarbon-intensive sectors; and
  • Exploring regional and international cooperation to accelerate climate action.

This report is focused on policies for a better recovery, whereas another complementary study titled “Financing a Green Recovery in the Middle East” identifies where related investments should be directed. Both studies depart from the conviction that research grounded in the region’s sustainable development needs and priorities is needed to help promote and inform related discussions.

Read the full report here.


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