BRICS summit results indicate increase in union’s potential in world politics
27 November 2019. PenzaNews. The 11th BRICS Summit attended by the heads of state and heads of government of the five member states was held in the capital of Brazil on November 13–14 under the motto Economic Growth for an Innovative Future and ended with the adoption of a joint declaration in which they reaffirmed their “fundamental commitment to the principle of sovereignty, mutual respect and equality and to the shared goal of building a peaceful, stable and prosperous world.”
The document contains the BRICS leaders’ common vision on security, fight against corruption, reforming the system of international relations, strengthening the financial and economic architecture, and future cooperation between the five countries. In addition, it emphasizes the need to resolve regional crises and conflicts through dialogue and diplomacy.
During the summit in Brazil, there was also signed statement following the results of the third full-format meeting of the BRICS foreign ministers, a communiqué following the meeting of the ministers of health, a calendar of events and a work plan on science, technology and innovation, a regulation on energy research platform, a memorandum of understanding between national trade and investment promotion agencies and other documents.
Speaking at the meeting with members of the BRICS Business Council and the management of the New Development Bank, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that the investment project portfolio of the NDB continues to grow and has already exceeded 12 billion dollars, with seven of 44 approved projects being implemented in Russia.
“I would like to propose increasing the share of BRICS national currencies in project financing as my recommendation for the bank’s further work. This would not only add weight to our currencies as an alternative for international payments in the global economy, but also help to avoid additional risks and expenses in mutual payments,” he said.
Vladimir Putin also welcomed the plans of the New Development Bank to attract ruble loans on the Russian financial market and called it useful to increase the number of its regional branches.
It is expected that the NBR office in Moscow will open in the first half of 2020 – in anticipation of the next BRICS summit, which will be held in St. Petersburg in July, as the chairmanship of the association passes to Russia.
It is planned to invite the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the CIS to participate in a major international event with an extensive business program. A similar practice has existed since 2013. Leaders of neighboring developing countries are traditionally invited to the BRICS summits to discuss contemporary challenges and prospects for expanding cooperation.
Commenting on the results of the summit in Brazil, Varaprasad Dolla, Centre for East Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, drew special attention to the main theme of the event connected with the ties between economy and innovation.
“It is a reflection of the increasing global recognition of the role of innovation in economic growth. […] Another major outcome of the summit is the establishment of Innovation Network (iBRICS), which will have an enduring impact on the five countries in the years to come. The challenge for the leaders is to take this initiative to its logical conclusion in making innovation making a difference in the growth of their economies,” the analyst told PenzaNews.
He shared the opinion that BRICS provides a platform to strengthen the economic relations among the member states. However, the multilateral economic ties are structured and impacted by the bilateral dynamics.
Moreover, the expert stressed that the organisation plays an important role in global politics.
“From the vantage point of political relations, BRICS […] provides a platform for the five countries to represent their national interests as well as the interests of the other developing countries. BRICS leaders are also concerned not only about global issues such as UN reform, global terrorism but also regional issues of war in Syria and Yemen,” Varaprasad Dolla explained.
In his opinion, the BRICS countries also should promote cooperation in the field of education and evolve mechanisms to facilitate cooperation in this sphere.
In turn, Vasuki Shastry, Associate Fellow at Chatham House, who previously worked in the IMF and the Singapore central bank, noted that the leaders of five countries discussed a wide range of issues.
“The Brasilia Declaration issued after last week’s BRICS summit covers wide-ranging topics from the health of the global economy, sustainable development, trade tensions, the conflict in Syria, and the need for better governance of multilateral institutions,” he reminded.
The ability of BRICS nations to be a powerful voice on behalf of developing nations on these issues will be tested in the period ahead, he said.
“The critical test is how committed the BRICS are on following up on the declaration and acting as a united, cohesive grouping representing a significant portion of humanity,” Vasuki Shastry said and added that the theme of the summit should be seen in the context of slowing growth and rapid structural changes to the global economy.
Meanwhile, Brig Vinod Anand, senior fellow of Vivekananda International Foundation and author of a series of articles on geopolitics in Asia, called BRICS a useful platform for the member countries to exchange views on global politics, governance and economic environment.
“The effectiveness of BRICS as an alternative to the Western inspired groupings and institutions has always been under scrutiny. While it can be said that BRICS has made a steady advance in its objectives yet it has a long way to go before it can play a leading role for the developing world or otherwise,” the analyst suggested.
In his opinion, the events leading to Brasilia Summit had indicated that Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro might be somewhat cool to imparting momentum to BRICS activities due to his previously articulated difference with China, however, it did not happen – later he took a number of initiatives to make the Summit successful.
According to the expert, only China’s and India’s economies have been growing fast and despite the fact that BRICS countries contribute 31% of world’s GDP, China’s contribution to this percentage is more than 50% and thus this enables it to dominate the political discourse.
At the same time, Brig Vinod Anand stressed that BRICS supports multilateralism and is against protectionism.
“The countries are also in favour of reforming the UN system, the World Trade Organization and institutions like IMF. China and Russia, both permanent members of UN Security Council reiterated in Brasilia Declaration that they support the aspiration of Brazil, India and South Africa to play a greater role in the UN. This is, of course, much short of what these three members would like. […] Lack of an institutional mechanism to take forward the agenda of the grouping continues to pose a challenge. BRICS still does not have a permanent secretariat and if it has to mature as an institution with some heft this deficiency needs to be removed,” he said.
“From Indian perspective, a much greater attention and prioritization of counter-terrorism in Brasilia Summit outcome document is a positive development. Formation five sub groups on counter terrorism will help focus BRICS members’ energies in dealing with this scourge,” the analyst added.
Harun Ozturkler, economy researcher, associate professor of Economic and Administrative Sciences at the Kirikkale University, expressed confidence that BRICS Summit Brasilia was the most effective one of all 11 summits in terms of both issues and challenges covered and leaders’ resolution in putting forward solutions.
“During the summit we have witnessed that US President Donald Trump’s policy have united BRICS and brought them closer in economic and political relations. Although I wished to see Turkey as an integral part of BRICS, as BRICS and T, it was clear that BRICS leaders aspire to expand the domain of the economic and political relations to cover not only other emerging countries but also developing countries,” the expert said.
From his point of view, BRICS countries’ share as a block in world GDP will continue to grow. Although Trump-led trade war between the US and China, and sanctions on Russia and Iran hurt economic growth potential not only in BRICS but also other countries with close economic relations, BRICS countries show a better potential for a higher economic growth in the short and medium term.
“Close relationships and joint works in the areas of finance, trade, labor, technology, energy, agriculture, and environment can be expected to create a synergy and a synchronized economic upturn in the BRICS. Steps towards the establishment of BRICS Trade and Investment Promotion agencies are very important for policy and action coordination among BRICS. But the most outstanding aspect of 11th summit was the urgent call for reforms in the multilateral system, including the UN, the WTO, and the IMF,” Harun Ozturkler concluded.