By Chris Devonshire-Ellis
While the G7 group of nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States together with the European Union) has been meeting in Germany, the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have been meeting in China for the 14th Summit. The contrasts could not be more different – one the grouping of mainly white, powerful Western nations, representing contemporary global leadership, the other a grouping of globally powerful emerging markets wanting a larger say in the developing world. The BRICS nations differ from the G7 in two main factors, most notably in the populations they serve – 3 billion as opposed to the G7’s 987 million (including the EU), and GDP, where the G7’s GDP is currently US$33.93 trillion and the BRICS about US$23.5 trillion.
Western economists as a result tend to talk up the G7’s role in global financial strength however the growth rates of both the G7 and BRICS predicted by the IMF suggest that the latter could be responsible for 50% of all global trade by the 2030’s. This means that paying attention to the BRICS consensus leads to some direction over how the global economy is likely to change over the next decade.
At present, the G7 appear determined to continue with the existing world order, which China and Russia in particular view as ‘unipolar’, meaning centered around the United States and directed by whatever US foreign, global and domestic policies are at the time. Both countries (and others) are looking for a more inclusive role in global affairs as befits their status. China for example is the world’s second largest economy, and India the fifth. Yet neither have the percentage say in global financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF they would like – hence the development of alternative policy banks such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the BRICS own New Development Bank. There are also accusations that global institutions such as the United Nations (based in New York) has begun to be too influenced by Washington’s policies than global ones. Calls for reform are increasingly being heard.
How the BRICS nations then view these changes are vitally important in order to understand the changing global dynamics, and where pressures may start to build, problems require solving and opportunities exist. This is why China’s President Xi Jinping has called the BRICS 2022 Summit Declaration an important document that should be studied carefully.
The Declaration runs to 75 points. I include them all, however for the purposes of fast tracking, I break them down into subject matter as follows. Readers may scroll down to their area of interest.
I have made my own analytical comments where appropriate within these sections.
Introduction: 1 – 4
Global Governance & Policy Finance Reforms: 5 – 13
Global Covid Response: 14 – 19
Global Peace & Security (includes statements about Ukraine): 20 – 36
Global Economic Development: 37 – 51
Global Sustainable Development: 52 – 61
People-To-People & Cultural Development: 62 – 70
Institutional Development: 71 – 75
1. We, the Leaders of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China, and the Republic of South Africa held the XIV BRICS Summit under the theme “Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development” on 23-24 June 2022.
2. We recall that in the past 16 years, upholding the BRICS spirit featuring mutual respect and understanding, equality, solidarity, openness, inclusiveness, and consensus, BRICS countries have strengthened mutual trust, deepened intra-BRICS mutually beneficial cooperation, and closer people-to-people exchanges, which has led to a series of significant outcomes. We reiterate the importance of further enhancing BRICS solidarity and cooperation based on our common interests and key priorities, to further strengthen our strategic partnership.
3. We are glad to note that despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, BRICS countries in 2022 have jointly continued enhancing solidarity and deepening cooperation on, inter alia, economy, peace and security, people-to-people exchanges, public health, and sustainable development by holding a series of meetings and activities and contributed to tangible outcomes of BRICS cooperation.
4. We welcome the High-level Dialogue on Global Development at this Summit as a testimony to the open and inclusive nature of BRICS Partnership including BRICS Outreach/BRICS Plus cooperation. We look forward to the Dialogue injecting new impetus to strengthen international cooperation and solidarity on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Comment: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a UNDP programme that commits the global economy to a more sustainable operational future including green energy and so on.
Strengthening and Reforming Global Governance
5. We reiterate our commitment to multilateralism through upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations as its indispensable cornerstone, and to the central role of the United Nations in an international system in which sovereign states cooperate to maintain peace and security, advance sustainable development, ensure the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, and promoting cooperation based on the spirit of mutual respect, justice and equality.
6. Recalling the BRICS Joint Statement on Strengthening and Reforming the Multilateral System adopted by our Foreign Ministers in 2021 and the principles outlined therein, we agree that the task of strengthening and reforming multilateral system encompasses the following:
Making instruments of global governance more inclusive, representative and participatory to facilitate greater and more meaningful participation of developing and least developed countries, especially in Africa, in global decision-making processes and structures and make it better attuned to contemporary realities;
Being based on inclusive consultation and collaboration for the benefit of all, while respecting sovereign independence, equality, mutual legitimate interests and concerns to make the multilateral organizations more responsive, effective, transparent and credible so as to promote cooperation in building international relations based on the norms and principles of international law, and the spirit of mutual respect, justice, equality, mutual beneficial cooperation and realities of the contemporary world;
Using innovative and inclusive solutions, including digital and technological tools to promote sustainable development and facilitate affordable and equitable access to global public goods for all;
Strengthening capacities of individual States and international organizations to better respond to new and emerging, traditional and non-traditional challenges, including those emanating from terrorism, money laundering, cyber-realm, infodemics, and fake news;
Promoting international and regional peace and security, social and economic development, and preserve nature’s balance with people-centered international cooperation at its core.
Comment: There is a lot contained within these points, not least the pointing out that the UN Charter must be upheld and strengthened in addition to other multilateral organisations.
The use of the term ‘democracy’ which crops up a lot on this declaration is interesting, as it implies that democratic values are not only the preserve of the West, which the G7 in contrast has tended to sell as its exclusive preserve.
Attention is paid to a global theme in terms of ‘all’ with special attention being paid to emerging economies and Africa in particular. The comments acknowledge a need to ‘share’ based on ‘international law’ and addresses the need for a unified digital economy.
The use of international law is of interest as concerns the imposition of sanctions, which have tended to be issued by the United States, and then followed through by its allies (notably the G7) without any recourse to legal procedures or discussion. That approach has led, in some part, to a realisation that a number of the US sanctions did not operate as intended or had other consequences.
7. We recall the UNGA Resolution 75/1 and reiterate the call for reforms of the principal organs of the United Nations. We recommit to install new life in the discussions on reform of the UN Security Council and continue the work to revitalize the General Assembly and strengthen the Economic and Social Council. We recall the 2005 World Summit Outcome document and reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective, and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges. China and Russia reiterated the importance they attach to the status and role of Brazil, India and South Africa in international affairs and supported their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN.
8. We appreciate the role of India and Brazil as members of the UN Security Council for 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 respectively. The presence of four BRICS countries in the UN Security Council provides an opportunity to further enhance the weight of our dialogue on issue of international peace and security and for continued cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including through regular exchanges amongst our permanent Mission to the United Nations and in other international forums.
Comment: The current governance of the UN Security Council is seen as unbalanced and of representing US and EU security issues as opposed to global matters. This includes the invasion of Afghanistan, and more recently, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which is being sold as a ‘Russian invasion’ by the G7 however in reality is a proxy war between Russia and NATO expansionism.
9. We reiterate the need for all countries to cooperate in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms under the principles of equality and mutual respect. We agree to continue to treat all human rights including the right to development in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis. We agree to strengthen cooperation on issues of common interests both within BRICS and in multilateral forums including the United Nations General Assembly and Human Rights Council, taking into account the necessity to promote, protect and fulfil human rights in a non-selective, non-politicised, and constructive manner and without double standards. We call for the respect of democracy and human rights. In this regard, we underline that they should be implemented on the level of global governance as well as at national level. We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights, and fundamental freedoms for all with the aim to build a brighter shared future for the international community based on mutually beneficial cooperation.
10. We stress that global economic governance is of critical importance for countries to ensure sustainable development and recall further our support for broadening and strengthening the participation of emerging markets and developing countries (EMDCs) in the international economic decision-making and norm-setting processes. We reiterate our support for G20’s leading role in global economic governance and underline that G20 shall remain intact and respond to current global challenges. We call upon the international community to foster partnerships while underlining that it is imperative to strengthen macro-policy coordination in driving the world economy out of the crisis and shaping a strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive post-pandemic economic recovery. We urge major developed countries to adopt responsible economic policies, while managing policy spillovers, to avoid severe impacts on developing countries.
Comment: The G20 is a larger bloc that includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. Indonesia is the current Chair and will be holding its annual summit in Bali, in November. There is already much jostling for influence at this event and within the G20 itself between the G7 nations and BRICS.
11. We reaffirm our support for an open, transparent, inclusive, non-discriminatory and rules-based multilateral trading system, as embodied in the World Trade Organization (WTO). We will engage constructively to pursue the necessary WTO reform to build an open world economy that supports trade and development, preserve the pre-eminent role of the WTO for setting global trade rules and governance, supporting inclusive development, and promoting the rights and interests of its members, including developing members and LDCs. We recognize that special and differential treatment as established in WTO rules is a tool to facilitate the achievement of WTO objectives with respect to economic growth and development. We call upon all WTO members to avoid unilateral and protectionist measures that run counter to the spirit and rules of the WTO. We emphasize the top priority and urgency of launching the selection process of the Appellate Body members to restore the binding two-tier multilateral dispute settlement mechanism. We agree that the Appellate Body crisis should be resolved without further delay and should not be linked with other issues. We endorse the BRICS Statement on Strengthening the Multilateral Trading System and Reforming the WTO. We commend the successful conclusion of MC12 that underscores the value of multilateralism. We encourage WTO members to sustain momentum and achieve further meaningful outcomes by MC13.
12. We reaffirm our commitment to maintaining a strong and effective Global Financial Safety Net with a quota-based and adequately resourced IMF at its center. We call for the timely and successful completion of the 16th General Review of Quotas by 15 December 2023, to reduce the IMF’s reliance on temporary resources, to address under-representation of emerging markets and developing countries (EMDCs) for their meaningful engagement in the governance of IMF and protect the voice and quota shares of the poorest and smallest members. We welcome progress on voluntary channeling of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from countries with strong external positions to support countries most in need, as well as the IMF’s decision to establish the Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST). We look forward to early operationalization of the RST.
13. We note that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious shock and hardship to humanity, unbalanced recovery is aggravating inequality across the world, the global growth momentum has weakened, and the economic prospects have declined. We are concerned that global development is suffering from severe disruption, including the widening North-South development gap, divergent recovery trajectories, pre-existing developmental fault-lines and a technological divide. This is posing huge challenges to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as economic and health scarring, particularly for EMDCs, is projected to persist beyond the current pandemic. We urge major developed countries to adopt responsible economic policies, while managing policy spillovers, to avoid severe impacts on developing countries. We encourage multilateral financial institutions and international organizations to play a constructive role in building global consensus on economic policies and preventing systemic risks of economic disruption and financial fragmentation. We welcome the actions to accelerate the progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Comment: These are essentially calls to restructure the World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and place them on a stronger, more secure financial footing with regular capital commitments from members as opposed to handouts where needed. These have come in for criticism as being too US-centric as opposed to operating a more global view.
The WTO released the MC12 package of trade initiatives on June 22 this year, which contain a series of unprecedented decisions on fisheries subsidies, WTO response to emergencies, including a waiver of certain requirements concerning compulsory licensing for COVID-19 vaccines, food safety and agriculture, and WTO reform. These include a less US-centric approach to decision making and a return to a two-tier tariff review process to better allow emerging economies a greater say in global trade issues.
The World Bank’s President has ‘traditionally’ been selected from American nominees, not always with banking experience, while the US also holds the largest shareholding. It has come under criticism for engaging in US policy rather than an inclusive global decision-making process, the United States and G7 countries hold over 50% of World Bank shares.
The IMF meanwhile, which exists under the World Bank, always appoints a European Chairman. Both these entities were originally established to assist with European reconstruction at the end of WWII.
The IMF is operated on a quota basis with the United States holding the largest quota at 16.5%. The other G7 nations also have significant quotas, while the remaining large economies such as China and India have just 6.08% and 2.63%, while African countries hold just 3.08% of IMF quotas. It is because of these imbalances that the BRICS are calling for international development finance reform.
This may happen in unexpected, less multilateral ways. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is the obvious example, where to get infrastructure financing into countries and regions of its interests, it has loaned over US$4 trillion over the past nine years. The G7 announced this week their “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment” (PGII) worth US$600 billion, meaning that the traditional role of the World Bank and IMF are already been superseded – hence the calls for reform to bring truly multilateral financial development to a growing global need.
Working in Solidarity to Combat COVID-19
14. We reiterate that it was imperative to ensure the availability of safe, efficacious, accessible and affordable diagnostics, medicines, vaccines and essential medical products to people from different countries and especially developing countries, and equitable distribution of vaccines and expeditious vaccination, to fill the immunization gap globally. We support the leading role of the WHO in combating the pandemic, as well as acknowledge initiatives such as the COVAX and the ACT-A. We recognize the importance of the discussions in the WTO on relevant IP waiver proposals, as well as capacity building and strengthening local production of vaccines and other health tools, especially in developing countries. We stress the need to continue to strengthen the cooperation on testing methods, therapeutic, research, production and recognition of vaccines, the research on their efficacy and safety in light of new variants of COVID-19 virus and recognition of national document of vaccination against COVID-19 and respective testing, especially for purpose of international travel.
15. We reaffirm our commitment to multilateralism and continue to support the World Health Organization (WHO) to play the leading role in the global health governance, while supporting other UN relevant agencies’ activities. The BRICS countries will strengthen technical multilateral cooperation aimed at enhancing capacities in the fields of responding to major public health emergencies, Universal Health Coverage (UHC), vaccine research and development, prevention & therapeutic health care and digital health systems. We agree to deepen existing cooperation through establishing closer cooperation ties among BRICS health institutions and exploring opportunities for joint collaborative projects in the health sector.
16. We welcome the convening of the BRICS High-Level Forum on Traditional Medicine.
17. We stress that BRICS countries should be better prepared for COVID-19 and future public health emergencies and enhance exchanges and cooperation on public health emergency alert, pandemic prevention preparedness and response, and best practices in medical treatment. We welcome the virtual launch of the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Center and commend the “Initiative on Strengthening Vaccine Cooperation and Jointly Building a Defensive Line against Pandemic”. We welcome the participation of other countries, especially EMDCs, in the Center to upgrade capacity for controlling and preventing infectious diseases. We support and emphasize the urgent need for the establishment of the BRICS Integrated Early Warning System for preventing mass infectious diseases risks in accordance with the International Health Regulations (2005) and the WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, and emphasize that BRICS countries should jointly take proactive and effective measures to prevent and reduce the risk of cross-border transmission of infectious diseases and contribute to improving global health.
18. We support continuing to hold the BRICS TB Research Network Meetings, which will contribute to achieving the WHO goal of ending TB by 2030. We support the early signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Regulation of Medical Products for Human Use among our drug regulatory authorities and welcome the holding of a BRICS Seminar of Officials and Experts in Population Development in the second half of 2022.
19. We call on international agencies and philanthropists to procure vaccines and boosters from manufacturers in developing countries, including in Africa, to ensure that the manufacturing capabilities being developed are retained. This is critical to build health system resilience and preparedness for emerging variants and any future health emergencies including pandemics. In this context access to diagnostics and therapeutics is essential to adopt quality and affordable medical countermeasures and develop overall surveillance capabilities.
Comment: While not criticising, the BRICs declaration does call for more multinational support, including for programmes such as COVAX and assistance from global philanthropists is battling diseases and pandemics. It is notable that TB was mentioned as for the development of vaccine and other health centres in Africa, in addition to the develop of global ‘health surveillance’ centers. With a combined 40% of the global population (as opposed to 10% for the G7) the BRICS nations have significant vested interests in protecting human assets and also include some of the world’s highest human density and least protected heath care communities.
Safeguarding Peace and Security
20. We welcome the BRICS Joint Statement on “Strengthen BRICS Solidarity and Cooperation, Respond to New Features and Challenges in International Situation” adopted by our Foreign Ministers on 19 May 2022, and the 12th Meeting of BRICS National Security Advisers and High Representatives on National Security, held on 15 June 2022, and commend their fruitful discussions on various strategic issues.
21. We commit to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States, stress our commitment to the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises.
22. We have discussed the situation in Ukraine and recall our national positions as expressed at the appropriate forums, namely the UNSC and UNGA. We support talks between Russia and Ukraine. We have also discussed our concerns over the humanitarian situation in and around Ukraine and expressed our support to efforts of the UN Secretary-General, UN Agencies, and ICRC to provide humanitarian assistance in accordance with the basic principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality established in UN General Assembly resolution 46/182.
Comment: The BRICS nations have largely refrained from criticizing Russia as concerns the Ukraine situation, where it is believed to be an issue created largely by NATO. The G7 regards it as being created by Russia. Part of the issue relates to claims by Russia of ‘genocide’ in Donbass inflicted by the Ukrainian military under the auspices of a Ukraine government intolerant of ethnic Russians be based in Ukraine. That highly emotive issue does appear not to have been adequately dealt with by the UN, while NATO comments concerning Ukraine membership have made the matter worse. It is telling that Russia, a member of BRICS, agreed to a declaration that expressed a peaceful solution and to uphold ‘territorial integrity’ – the definition of which is part of the problem between Moscow, Kiev and Washington.
23. We strongly support a peaceful, secure, and stable Afghanistan while emphasizing the respect for its sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, national unity, and non-interference in its internal affairs. We emphasize the need for all sides to encourage the Afghanistan authorities to achieve national reconciliation through dialogue and negotiation, and to establish a broad-based and inclusive and representative political structure. We reaffirm the significance of relevant UNSC resolutions. We emphasize that the Afghan territory not to be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan to finance terrorist acts, and reiterate the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan. We call on the Afghanistan authorities to work towards combating drug-related crime to free Afghanistan from the scourge of drugs. We stress the need to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people and to safeguard the fundamental rights of all Afghans, including women, children, and different ethnic groups.
24. We reiterate the need to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through peaceful and diplomatic means in accordance with the international law, and stress the importance of preserving the JCPOA and the UNSCR 2231 to international non-proliferation as well as wider peace and stability and hope for success of diplomatic efforts towards the resumption of the JCPOA.
25. We express our support for negotiations in bilateral and multilateral formats to resolve all issues pertaining to the Korean Peninsula, including its complete denuclearization, and maintaining peace and stability in Northeast Asia. We reaffirm the commitment to a comprehensive peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation.
Comment: The commonality between Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea remains the United States, although the BRICS declaration doesn’t specifically draw attention to this, probably as a result of Brazil, India and South Africa wishing to remain more diplomatic. Nonetheless, Afghanistan is still very much highlighted as being extremely delicate, with a desire to move to a more secular Government than the Taliban represents. Moves by Iran to reengage with the US and UN on nuclear energy talks show some promise.
There is mention of North Korea in the declaration as concerns tensions in North-East Asia but no mention of tensions concerning Taiwan.
26. We reaffirm our commitment to a peaceful and prosperous Middle East and North Africa. We stress the importance of addressing development and security challenges in the region. We call on the international community to support efforts aimed at the stability and peace in the region.
27. We commend efforts of African countries, the African Union and sub-regional organizations to address regional challenges, including maintaining peace and security, post conflict reconstruction as well as development efforts, and call for continued support by the international community to them. We emphasize the collaboration of AU and UN in accordance with the UN Charter.
Comment: Africa is mentioned extensively within the BRICS declaration, with North African conflict again with US involvement between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Recent involvement in Syria and Libya also spring to mind. All of the BRICS nations have extensive trade relations with Africa, which is very much seen as a developing continent poised for economic take off into the 2030’s. The African Union is very much part of this, and is currently chaired by Senegal, taking over from BRICS member South Africa in February 2022. Part of the development of the African Union lies in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which although not specifically mentioned is a key part of future African trade and investment.
28. We call for continued efforts to strengthen the system of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and agreements and to preserve its integrity for maintaining global stability and international peace and security and stressed further the need to maintain the effectiveness and efficiency as well as the consensus-based nature of the relevant multilateral instruments in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation, and arms control.
29. We call for strengthening the system of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, including the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC) and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (CWC), and for preserving their integrity and effectiveness to maintain global stability and international peace and security. We underline the need to comply with, and strengthen the BTWC, including by adopting a legally binding Protocol to the Convention that provides for, inter alia, an efficient verification mechanism. We reassert our support for ensuring the long-term sustainability of outer space activities and prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS) and of its weaponization, including through negotiations to adopt a relevant legally binding multilateral instrument. We recognize the value of the updated Draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) submitted to the Conference on Disarmament in 2014. We stress that practical Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures (TCBMs), may also contribute to PAROS.
30. We reaffirm our commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons and stress our strong commitment to nuclear disarmament and our support to the work on this subject during the session of 2022 of the Conference on Disarmament. We note the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the People’s Republic of China, the French Republic, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races on 3 January 2022, in particular the affirmation that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.
31. We reaffirm our commitment to the promotion of an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT-environment, underscored the importance of enhancing common understandings and intensifying cooperation in the use of ICTs and Internet. We support the leading role of the United Nations in promoting constructive dialogue on ensuring ICT-security, including within the UN Open-Ended Working Group on security of and in the use of ICTs 2021-2025, and developing a universal legal framework in this realm. We call for a comprehensive, balanced, objective approach to the development and security of ICT products and systems. We underscore the importance of establishing legal frameworks of cooperation among BRICS countries on ensuring security in the use of ICTs. We also acknowledge the need to advance practical intra-BRICS cooperation through implementation of the BRICS Roadmap of Practical Cooperation on ensuring security in the use of ICTs and the activities of the BRICS Working Group on security in the use of ICTs.
32. We, while emphasizing the formidable potential of the ICTs for growth and development, recognize new associated possibilities they bring for criminal activities and threats, and expressed concern over the rising level and complexity of criminal misuse of ICTs. We welcome the ongoing work in the UN Open-Ended Ad Hoc Committee of Experts to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes and reaffirm our commitment to cooperating in the implementation of the mandate adopted by the UN General Assembly resolution 75/282.
33. We express strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations whenever, wherever and by whomsoever committed. We recognize the threat emanating from terrorism, extremism conducive to terrorism and radicalization. We are committed to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the cross-border movement of terrorists, and terrorism financing networks and safe havens. We reiterate that terrorism should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to contribute further to the global efforts of preventing and countering the threat of terrorism on the basis of respect for international law, in particular the Charter of the United Nations, and human rights, emphasizing that States have the primary responsibility in combating terrorism with the United Nations continuing to play central and coordinating role in this area. We also stress the need for a comprehensive and balanced approach of the whole international community to effectively curb the terrorist activities, which pose a serious threat, including in the present-day pandemic environment. We reject double standards in countering terrorism and extremism conducive to terrorism. We call for an expeditious finalization and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism within the UN framework and for launching multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism, at the Conference of Disarmament. We welcome the outcomes of the Seventh BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group Plenary Meeting and its five Subgroup Meetings. We commend the Chair for hosting the Seminar on Targeted Financial Sanctions Related to Terrorism and Terrorist Financing, and look forward to organization of the Seminar on Strengthening Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building in Developing Countries, and the BRICS Police Training Program. We also look forward to further deepening counter-terrorism cooperation.
34. We look forward to further deepening counter-terrorism cooperation and reaffirm the sole authority of the UN Security Council for imposing sanctions and call for further consolidation and strengthening of the working methods of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees to ensure their effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency, while avoiding politicization of any of their proceedings including listing proposals objectively on evidence-based criteria.
35. We reaffirm our commitment to strengthening international cooperation against corruption. While respecting the legal systems of our respective countries, we are committed to strengthening experience sharing and practical cooperation on issues related to anti-corruption law enforcement, including on pursuit of economic and corruption offenders, on mutual legal assistance in civil and administrative matters, and on asset recovery. We welcome the BRICS Initiative on Denial of Safe Haven to Corruption. We will further strengthen anti-corruption capacity building through education and training programs and enhance anti-corruption exchanges and cooperation within multilateral frameworks. We welcome the first BRICS Anti-corruption Ministerial Meeting.
36. We are concerned about the serious drug situation in the world and reiterate our commitment to the existing international drug control mechanism underpinned by the three United Nations Drug Control Conventions and the various political commitments. We appreciate BRICS Anti-Drug Working Group’s active role in combating transnational drug trafficking and promoting global drug governance and will further strengthen drug control cooperation.
Comment: There are a number of important issues BRICS deal with here, nuclear disarmament, weapons in space, terrorism, drugs and internet security. These are not areas of my expertise, however all the problems the BRICS identify also ultimately call for continuing and improved UN support, indicating that the BRICS collectively want a greater say within global security bodies.
Promoting Economic Recovery
37. We recognize the important role of BRICS countries working together to deal with risks and challenges to the world economy in achieving global recovery and sustainable development. We reaffirm our commitment to continuing to enhance macro-economic policy coordination, deepen economic practical cooperation, and work to realize strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive post-COVID economic recovery. We emphasize the importance of continued implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025 in all relevant ministerial tracks and working groups.
38. We recognize the dynamism of the digital economy in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 and enabling global economic recovery. We also recognize the positive role that trade, and investment can play in promoting sustainable development, national and regional industrialization, the transition towards sustainable consumption and production patterns. We take note of China’s hosting the “Buy BRICS” online promotion event and endorse the BRICS Digital Economy Partnership Framework, BRICS Initiative on Trade and Investment for Sustainable Development and BRICS Initiative on Enhancing Cooperation on Supply Chains. We recognize the challenges facing trade and investment development in the digital era and acknowledge that BRICS members are at different levels of digital development, and thus recognize the need to address respective challenges including the digital divide. We welcome the establishment of the Digital Economy Working Group by upgrading the E-commerce Working Group. We also agree to promote consumer protection in e-commerce by advancing the implementation of BRICS Framework for Consumer Protection in E-commerce. We reaffirm that openness, efficiency, stability, transparency, reliability and resilience of the global, regional, and national production and supply chains are crucial in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling economic recovery challenges, and boosting international trade and investment. We encourage cooperation among BRICS countries to enhance the interconnectivity of supply chains and promote trade and investment flows. We agree to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in trade in services and engagement of BRICS national focal points, as established in the BRICS Framework for Cooperation on Trade in Services, with the BRICS Business Council with the aim to promote implementation of BRICS Trade in Services Cooperation Roadmap and relevant documents including the BRICS Framework for cooperation in Trade in Professional Services. We take note of the proposal of the Chair to establish the BRICS Trade in Services Network (BTSN) and will continue discussions.
Comment: Here we see the development of the BRICS as a trade bloc. This is an exciting development as collectively, the BRICS has a combined population of 3 billion people, of whom about 2 billion can be qualified as middle class to regional standards. This is further expanded when one takes into consideration the extensive trade reach each BRICS member also has:
Brazil: Member of the South American Free Trade Area (Mercosur)
Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Venezuela is a full member but has been suspended since 2016. Associate countries are Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname .
Russia: Member of the Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Area (EAEU)
Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia, with Iran, Serbia, and Vietnam as Free Trade partners. Numerous other countries, including India and Egypt are negotiating to join.
India: Member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
China: Member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
South Africa: Member of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)
34 African nations including Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Niger, Chad, Eswatini, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Namibia, South Africa, Congo, Rep., Djibouti, Mauritania, Uganda, Senegal, Togo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Rep., Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, São Tomé & Príncipe, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Mauritius, Central African Rep., Angola, Lesotho, Tunisia, Cameroon, Nigeria, Malawi, Zambia, Algeria, Burundi, Seychelles, Tanzania, Cabo Verde. Morocco and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Another 11 are pending and shortly to join.
39. We congratulate the New Development Bank (NDB) on its relocation to its permanent headquarters building in Shanghai as well as the opening of NDB’s regional office in India. We welcome the decisions on admission of four new members to the NDB and look forward to further membership expansion in a gradual and balanced manner in terms of geographic representation and comprising of both developed and developing countries, to enhance the NDB’s international influence as well as the representation and voice of EMDCs in global governance. We support the NDB’s goals of attaining the highest possible credit rating and institutional development. We appreciate the vital role of the NDB in addressing the impact of the pandemic and assisting in the economic recovery in member countries. We note the second General Strategy approved by the Board of Governors at its annual meeting and look forward to its smooth implementation. We encourage the Bank to follow the member-led and demand-driven principle, mobilize financing from diversified sources, enhance innovation and knowledge exchange, assist member countries in achieving sustainable development goals and further improve efficiency and effectiveness to fulfil its mandate, aiming to be a premier multilateral development institution.
Comment: The New Development Bank was originally jointly owned 20% by each BRICS member, however this has now changed with additional shareholders coming into the bank with Bangladesh, Egypt, the UAE and Uruguay all recently taking part. The bank is capitalized at US$100 billion. It has an extensive portfolio of investments however has expressed a preference for investing in eco and green infrastructure projects.
40. We welcome the decision to establish the BRICS Think Tank Network for Finance. We expect it to work independently and provide intellectual support, as and when tasked, for knowledge sharing, exchange of experiences and practices and cooperation on finance issues amongst BRICS countries, aiming at addressing global challenges and serving the interests of the EMDCs.
41. We recognize the key role that infrastructure investment can play in facilitating sustainable development. We reaffirm our understanding that PPPs are an effective approach to leveraging the private sector to address infrastructure gaps and scaling up infrastructure assets. We endorse the Technical Report on Public Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development. We welcome the exchange and sharing of good practices and experiences and encourage further cooperation on infrastructure investment and PPPs. We look forward to resuming technical engagements with the NDB and the BRICS Task Force on PPP and Infrastructure on the Integrated Digital Platform on infrastructure investment projects and call for intensification of work in this area.
Comment: The PPP arrangement is a method of getting private and corporate finance into Government partnerships and allows the private sector to take part in national redevelopment schemes.
42. We acknowledge the importance of strengthening the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) mechanism, which contributes to strengthening the global financial safety net and complements existing international monetary and financial arrangements. We support the amendments to the CRA Treaty and welcome the progress in amending other relevant CRA documents. We look forward to the finalization of the amendments which would enhance the flexibility and responsiveness of the CRA mechanism. We look forward to the successful completion of the fifth CRA test run later in 2022. We support the work to improve the framework for coordination between the CRA and the IMF. We welcome the progress in developing the BRICS Economic Bulletin 2022 as part of our streamlined CRA research program.
Comment: Contingency planning for disasters such as the global Covid pandemic would have been better managed had the WHO, World Bank and IMF had CRA style initiatives instead of working to a reaction led policy.
43. We underscore the importance of continued work under the existing work streams, including information security in the financial sector, and the BRICS Payments Task Force (BPTF) as a platform for exchanging experience and knowledge, and welcome the central banks’ further cooperation on the payments track.
44. We commit to strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation to intensify the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR) and collectively create new opportunities for development. We encourage intra-BRICS cooperation in human resource development through BRICS Centre for Industrial Competences, BRICS PartNIR Innovation Centre (BPIC), BRICS Start-up Events and collaboration with other relevant BRICS mechanisms, to carry out training programmes to address challenges of NIR for inclusive and sustainable industrialization. We support the BRICS PartNIR projects to explore cooperation mechanisms with New Development Bank (NDB) and other financial institutions based on market-driven principles. We recognize the importance of BRICS Startup Events including BRICS Innovation Launchpad and BRICS Startup Forum Meeting, aimed to promote networking, interaction, mentorship among Startups in BRICS countries. We welcome the events hosted by the BPIC including the 4th BRICS Forum on PartNIR, the BRICS Industrial Innovation Contest 2022, and the BPIC training programme, which are aimed at translating the vision of PartNIR into real actions and benefits for all BRICS members. We welcome the BRICS Forum on Development of Industrial Internet and Digital Manufacturing, during which representatives from BRICS governments, industry and academia participated and discussed the development of digital manufacturing. We also welcome the release of the BRICS Initiative for Cooperation on Digitalization of Manufacturing.
45. We acknowledge the progress of BRICS cooperation on STI, including outcomes of BRICS STI Steering Committee, inter alia, on advancement of flagship projects initiative aiming to find effective STI solutions to global challenges. We encourage further work on proposals regarding the polycentric BRICS Technology Transfer Center Network, iBRICS Network, joint research projects including flagship projects, BRICS Young Scientist Forum and Young Innovation Prize.
Comments: Student and vocational training for the new digital economy.
46. We commend the progress of cooperation in the field of ICTs, including the adoption of the terms of reference of the Digital BRICS Task Force (DBTF) and the decision to hold the Digital BRICS Forum in 2022. We encourage the BRICS Institute of Future Networks and the DBTF to make suitable working plans at an early date and carry out cooperation on R&D and application of new and emerging technologies. We look forward to a fruitful and productive meeting of BRICS Communication Ministers in July 2022. We support the coordination and interaction among the Digital Economy Working Group and the Working Group on ICT Cooperation, as well as the workstreams established within this track, namely the DBTF and the BIFN as practicable to avoid any duplication for advancing the BRICS digital economy in accordance with respective advantages, and within respective domestic legal frameworks.
47. We commend our Customs authorities for the Agreement Between the Governments of BRICS Countries on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters, and the progress made in areas of mutual administrative assistance, capacity building and law enforcement cooperation. We recognize the importance of BRICS customs enforcement cooperation and will work together to further strengthen it. We support our Customs authorities in holding the BRICS Workshop on Customs Strategy and Capacity Building and the BRICS Workshop on Customs Enforcement Cooperation, for smart cooperation and smart practice sharing, as also for promoting partnership in customs under the theme of “Smart Cooperation for a High-quality Partnership among BRICS Customs”.
Comment: These technical issues relate to both customs tariffs and fintech applications, and are likely to lead in time to the development of a BRICS free trade area. That, coupled with the various FTA that the BRICS nations are already primary members of make the prospect a considerable trade area with a potential reach of 70% of the total global population.
There have already been separate discussions concerning free trade amongst the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation members, which are principally Central Asia and Middle Eastern based and include China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, four Observer States interested in acceding to full membership in Afghanistan, Belarus, and Mongolia while six “Dialogue Partners” include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey. In 2021, the decision was made to start the accession process of Iran to the SCO as a full member, while Egypt, Qatar as well as Saudi Arabia became dialogue partners.
Later combinations would effectively see global trade move to the emerging global markets, leaving the G7 as an effective upper market comprising North America and the European Union.
That has implications over what is termed the ‘unipolar’ make-up of the G7, dominated by the United States, yet unable perhaps to compete with the emerging BRICS-SCO markets lower productivity costs. It is also worth remembering that much of the global energy resources are concentrated in BRICS-SCO and BRICS related Free Trade countries.
48. We emphasize the fundamental role of energy security in achieving sustainable development goals. While recognizing that the energy transition of each country is unique according to national circumstances, we underscore the prime importance of securing universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy in line with Sustainable Development Goal 7. We welcome the BRICS Energy Report 2022, support joint research and technical cooperation within the BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform and commend the holding of the BRICS Youth Energy Summit and other related activities.
49. We encourage the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism to continue playing an important role in supporting BRICS economic and trade cooperation and appreciate the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Member Development Banks of BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism and the New Development Bank. We welcome the seventh edition of the BRICS Economic Research Award to encourage and stimulate advanced doctoral research by nationals of the BRICS countries on topics of relevance to the BRICS nations.
Comment: Hidden within this point is the intent to develop a non-US dollar based trading platform that will permit BRICS settlements between member states. Russia also stated at this BRICS summit that its SPFS payment system could be expanded to include BRICS members. The BRICS nations are also known to have been studying a communal BRICS cryptocurrency and digital wallet platforms for intra-BRICS trade.
50. We reiterate the commitments to promote employment for sustainable development, including to develop skills to ensure resilient recovery, gender-responsive employment and social protection policies including workers’ rights. We welcome research by the BRICS Network of Labour Research Institutes on employment and income support in the context of COVID-19 crisis outlining impact of the pandemic, response measures and post-COVID-19 changes.
51. We recognize the crucial role that MSMEs play in the BRICS economies and reaffirm the importance of their participation in production networks and value chains. We agree to continue to deepen cooperation on competition amongst BRICS countries and create a fair competition market environment for international economic and trade cooperation. We agree to enhance exchanges and cooperation in the field of standardization and make full use of standards to advance sustainable development. We commit to strengthen cooperation and coordination in areas of tax information exchange, capacity building and innovation in tax administration, and create a signature knowledge product called ‘the Best Tax Practices from BRICS’ to serve as reference for other developing countries. We support deepening IPR cooperation and promoting exchanges and mutual learning on IPR protection systems and look forward to more practical outcomes in such fields as patent, trademark, and industrial design. We support enhancing BRICS statistical cooperation and continuing to release the BRICS Joint Statistical Publication 2022.
Comment: The reference to common ’BRICS tax practices’ again suggests a coming common trade platform is being worked on – with the institutional support to enable this to be moved to other countries that are associated with existing BRICS members. That would permit commonality throughout a potential BRICS-SCO free trade area and would shift the onus of non-G7 tax reporting away from the United States and Europe towards Asia. That would change the global audit industry and reporting standards. It is noticeable that Russia for example has been calling for less, rather than more scrutiny of its own domestic businesses when it comes to annual inspections, which it is felt have contributed to corruption on behalf of the auditing party.
Expediting Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
52. We note with concern that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and reversed years of progress on poverty, hunger, health care, education, climate change, access to clean water, and environmental protection. We reaffirm our commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in all its three dimensions – economic, social, and environmental – in a balanced and integrated manner. We stress that the international community should attach more importance to development, revitalize global development partnerships and push for realization of all sustainable development goals by pooling the necessary resources to instill fresh momentum into implementing the 2030 Agenda. We urge donor countries to honour their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments and to facilitate capacity building and the transfer of technology along with additional development resources to developing countries, in line with the national policy objectives of recipients. We stress the importance of dialogue between the relevant development agencies from the BRICS countries.
53. We commemorate the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and call on all parties to adhere to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances and in accordance with the institutional arrangement of nationally determined contributions, and to implement the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement in an accurate, balanced and comprehensive way, based on existing consensus. We recall relevant provisions of the Paris Agreement, emphasizing that the Paris Agreement aims to strengthen global response to the threat of climate change in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, and that peaking of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions will take longer for developing countries. We underline that the developed countries have historical responsibilities for global climate change and should take the lead in scaling up mitigation actions and scale up indispensable support to developing countries on finance, technology, and capacity-building. We express our support to the incoming Egyptian Presidency of COP27, working towards the success of COP27, and promote COP27 to prioritize implementation and highlight the reinforcement of adaptation and delivery and enhancement of developed countries’ commitments to provide financial support and technology transfer to developing countries.
54. We oppose green trade barriers and reiterate our commitment to enhancing coordination on these issues. We underline that all measures taken to tackle climate change and bio-diversity loss must be designed, adopted, and implemented in full conformity with the WTO agreements and must not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade and must not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade. We express our concern at any discriminatory measure that will distort international trade, risk new trade frictions and shift burden of addressing climate change to other trading partners, developing countries and BRICS members.
Comment: The BRICS nations have placed full support behind the UN initiatives on the environment including emissions commitments. That is going to prove problematic for the G7 in contrast, whose new energy supply chain demands have effectively reversed nearly all commitments made at last year’s COP26, with coal power stations being put back into use and energy supplies now being shipped from ecologically problematic fracking sources in North America rather than being piped across from Russia. The European Union as a result of its own sanctions is now using dirtier energy sources.
55. We acknowledge the positive outcomes of the first phase of the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) and its Kunming Declaration. We welcome and support China’s hosting of the second phase of COP15 and call on all parties to jointly adopt an ambitious, balanced, and practical Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
56. As BRICS countries produce around 1/3 of the world’s food, we stress our commitment to furthering agricultural cooperation and driving sustainable agricultural and rural development of BRICS countries aimed at safeguarding food security of BRICS countries and the world. We emphasize the strategic importance of agriculture inputs, including, inter alia, fertilizers, on ensuring global food security. We reiterate the importance of implementing the Action Plan 2021-2024 for Agricultural Cooperation of BRICS Countries and welcome the Strategy on Food Security Cooperation of the BRICS Countries.
Comment: A reminder that BRICS holds the key to global food security, again an issue highlighted by the West’s sanctions on Russia. In terms of the BRICS nations, Brazil is the world’s second largest soy bean producer, Russia the world’s largest wheat producer, India the world’s second largest rice producer, while China produces 25% of the global grain harvest and South Africa is the world’s ninth largest producer of corn. At the recent G7 summit just last week, the World Food Programme urged the G7 nations ‘to do more’ to solve global hunger with the prospect of famine hanging across multiple nations and especially Africa.
57. We take note that the breakthroughs in the applications of digital technologies, such as Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) may play an important role towards sustainable development. We take note of the BRICS Forum on Big Data for Sustainable Development. We support information exchanges and technical cooperation on AI technology. We recall the declaration of the 7th BRICS Communications Ministers meeting recognizing the rapid developments and huge potential of Artificial Intelligence technologies and its value to economic growth. We acknowledge the need to cooperate with each other to build trust, confidence, and security, as well as transparency and accountability in promoting trustworthy AI to maximize its potential for the benefit of society and humanity as whole with specific emphasis on marginalized and vulnerable groups of population. We express our concerns on the risk, and ethical dilemma related to Artificial Intelligence, such as privacy, manipulation, bias, human-robot interaction, employment, effects, and singularity, among others. We encourage BRICS members to work together to deal with such concerns, sharing best practices, conduct comparative study on the subject toward developing a common governance approach which would guide BRICS members on Ethical and responsible use of Artificial Intelligence while facilitating the development of AI.
58. We welcome the establishment of the BRICS Joint Committee on Space Cooperation in line with the Agreement on Cooperation on BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation and the convening of the first joint committee meeting. We are satisfied with the formulation of working procedures for data exchange and joint observation of the BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation and appreciate the commissioning of data sharing and exchange of the constellation. We encourage BRICS space authorities to continue to effectively utilize the capacity of the Constellation, and to widely promote application with data of the Constellation, aimed at facilitating the sustainable development of BRICS countries.
59. We commend the proposal to organize the BRICS High-level Forum on Sustainable Development. Taking it as an opportunity, we look forward to deepening cooperation on, inter alia, the fight against COVID-19, digital transformation, resilience and stability of industrial and supply chains and low-carbon development.
60. We reiterate the importance of exchanges and dialogues among BRICS disaster management authorities. We encourage cooperation in key areas including comprehensive disaster reduction capacity, disaster resilient infrastructure and emergency rescue and response, with a view to improving the global and regional disaster management response.
61. We express our support to the African Union Agenda 2063 and to Africa´s efforts towards integration through the development of the African Continental Free Trade Area and other means. We stress the importance of issues including industrialization, infrastructure development, food security, health-care, and tackling climate change for the sustainable development of Africa. We support Africa in attaining economic recovery and sustainable development in the post pandemic era.
Comment: Commonality on big issues such as space tech and AI, while Africa is again mentioned as a developing continent of importance to the global economy.
Deepening People-to-People Exchanges
62. We reaffirm the importance of BRICS people-to-people exchanges in enhancing mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation amongst our nations and people. We appreciate the progress made under China’s Chair in 2022, including in the fields of governance, culture, education, sports, arts, films, media, youth, and academic exchanges, and look forward to further exchanges and cooperation in these areas.
63. We appreciate the signing of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Agreement between the Governments of the BRICS States on cooperation in the Field of Culture (2022-2026), encourage the BRICS countries to promote the development of digitalization in the field of culture, continue to deepen cooperation in the fields of, inter alia, arts and culture, cultural heritage, cultural industry and cultural alliances under the framework of the action plan, and establish a cultural partnership featuring inclusiveness and mutual learning.
64. We acknowledge the urgent need for tourism industry recovery and the importance of increasing mutual tourist flows and will work towards further strengthening the BRICS Alliance for Green Tourism to promote measures, which can shape a more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive tourism sector.
65. We appreciate the progress on education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) cooperation, especially the establishment of the BRICS TVET Cooperation Alliance which focuses on strengthening communication and dialogue in TVET, promoting substantial cooperation in TVET, integrating TVET with industry, enhancing research collaboration and supporting recognition of TVET standards. Also, the launch of the BRICS Skills Competition will strengthen exchanges and cooperation among the nations. We support the digital transformation in education and TVET space, and commit to ensure education accessibility and equity, and promote the development of quality education. We reiterate the importance of digitalization in education and development of a sustainable education by strengthening the cooperation within BRICS Network University and BRICS University League.
66. We commend the successful holding of the BRICS Business Forum and welcome the Beijing Initiative of BRICS Business community. We encourage the BRICS Business Council to strengthen cooperation, including in the fields of agri-business, aviation, deregulation, digital economy, energy and green economy, financial services, infrastructure, manufacturing, and skills development. We appreciate contributions and activities of the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance (WBA) to deepening BRICS economic and trade cooperation. We welcome the holding of the second BRICS Women’s Innovation Contest by the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance towards empowering women’s innovation and entrepreneurship.
67. We commend the progress in sports exchanges and the role it plays in the development of our athletes in a fair, inclusive and non-discriminatory fashion. We look forward to the successful holding of BRICS Sports Ministers Meeting in 2022.
68. We appreciate the holding of the forums pertaining to political parties, think tanks, and civil society organizations. We also acknowledge the proposal for institutionalization of the BRICS Civil Society Organizations Forum.
69. We support the convening of the fifth BRICS Media Forum and the continuation of the BRICS International Journalism Training Program within the framework of the Forum.
70. We look forward to the BRICS Youth Summit, support youth development as a priority and encourage strengthened exchanges among BRICS youth. We welcome the BRICS Film Festival in Shanghai and look forward to enhancing exchanges and cooperation in the field of film. We commend the progress made by BRICS countries in promoting urban development and appreciate the contribution of mechanisms including BRICS Urbanization Forum, BRICS Friendship Cities and Local Governments Cooperation Forum and BRICS International Municipal Forum to facilitating the building of more friendship city relations among BRICS countries and promoting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Comments: Numerous BRICS initiatives are being planned in the cross-cultural sphere, including tourism and other developmental activities. Curiously, these are reminiscent of the Soviet Union style of cross-cultural fertilization, but envisaged for a broader geographical canvas, with freer ability to travel in the digital age.
71. We note with satisfaction the progress made in BRICS institutional development and stress that BRICS cooperation needs to embrace changes and keep abreast with the times. We shall continue to set clear priorities in our wide-ranging cooperation on the basis of consensus and make our strategic partnership more efficient, practical and results-oriented.
72. We emphasize the BRICS efforts of extending its cooperation to other EMDCs and support further promoting the BRICS Outreach and BRICS Plus Cooperation in line with the updated Terms of Reference adopted by the BRICS Sherpas in 2021 through inclusive and equal-footed and flexible practices and initiatives. We commend China’s Chair for hosting the Dialogue session under the theme ‘Increased Role of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries in Global Governance’ during the Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations on 19 May 2022.
Comment: This signals that the BRICS group is open to expansion. I have already outlined that Bangladesh, Egypt, the UAE and Uruguay have all recently taken equity in the New Development Bank, while Argentina and Iran have just issued formal applications to join. The Chinese Permanent Representative to the UN has also called for Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand to join the grouping.
Membership of BRICS is actively being discussed with these and other partners, and we can expect to see additional nations from Latin America, Africa and the Middle East come aboard within the next two years.
73. We support promoting discussions among BRICS members on the BRICS expansion process. We stress the need to clarify the guiding principles, standards, criteria, and procedures for this expansion process through the Sherpas’ channel on the basis of full consultation and consensus.
74. South Africa, Brazil, Russia, and India commend China’s BRICS Chair in 2022 and express their gratitude to the government and people of China for holding the XIV BRICS Summit.
75. Brazil, Russia, India, and China extend full support to South Africa for its BRICS Chair in 2023 and the holding of the XV BRICS Summit.
The overall tone of the BRICS declaration 2022 is far more inclusive than in the past and can be seen as a pathway to a far larger influential entity, especially where I point out, each of the BRICS members themselves has extensive additional regional free trade and economic partnerships.
The three main themes that can be taken from this document are firstly, the pathway to an inclusive bloc that has the potential to develop into both a formal and informal grouping that could influence up to three-quarters of total global trade.
Secondly, the call for reform within numerous multinational institutions, which while diplomatically phrased, remain an assessment that the United States position as a ‘Unipolar’ power is now waning and that bodies such as the UN, WTO, World Bank and related institutions require a shakeup and a divestment of global power and influence away from Washington and spread more equally among the emerging countries of the world. This would be the biggest single shake-up of World Order since the end of the previous, British Empire. Calls for it to happen given the global influence of BRICS-SCO plus are not going to go away unless enforced militarily otherwise by Washington. The Ukraine situation is a problematic example of how this could play out and is part of this struggle.
Third, the overriding concerns as regards getting Africa well and truly on its feet and delivering its potential. Much has been put into place, however AfCFTA is still not fully operational while the Covid pandemic has slowed down a great deal of economic progress. BRICS and to a larger extent than is generally recognised, the European and global communities are dependent upon Africa to deliver. The BRICS Summit Declaration 2022 is, as Xi Jinping suggests, a document that should be read by everyone to ascertain where future development flows, problems and opportunities can be seen, dealt with and pave the way to a more inclusive, and fairer, multi-polar global society.
Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm provides foreign investment assistance to international businesses and investors throughout Eurasia. Please see: www.dezshira.com