The Symposium on Energy Security, which we had the honour of directing, was designed to foster collaboration between British universities and universities and research organisations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The talks that were presented, the abstracts of which are published herewith together with links to the original presentations, provide an excellent overview of issues related to energy security in the Gulf, which served as a basis for identifying possible areas for future collaboration between the UK and GCC countries. In this report we put the talks in the context of the major energy challenges faced by the world and the Gulf region, and outline the major areas for future joint work that were identified.

The biggest challenge of the 21st century is to provide sufficient food, water, and energy to allow everyone on the planet to live decent lives, in the face of rising and population, the threat of climate change, and (sooner or later) declining fossil fuels. Provision of sufficient energy is a necessary (but not sufficient) means to meet the overall challenge. While the Symposium focussed on energy, it should be stressed that there are close links between the challenges of environmentally responsible provision of energy, food and water and with issues such as changing land-use, bio-diversity, urbanisation, and adaptation to climate change. Better understanding of these complex links, based on specific metrics, is required to underwrite the identification of comprehensive solutions. These links are of extreme importance in the GCC countries where abundance of fossil energy has compensated for water scarcity through energy intensive desalination processes and by funding imports of food from other regions.


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  • Received: 05 February 2012
  • Accepted: 22 March 2012
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