On Russia’s Participation in BRICS

BRICS is a group of states created on Russia’s initiative and comprised of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and (since December 2010) the Republic of South Africa.

The first ministerial meeting in the BRIC format was held on the proposal of Russian President Vladimir Putin on the margins of the UN General Assembly session in New York on 20 September 2006.

On 16 May 2008, the first full-fledged meeting of the BRIC foreign ministers was held on Russia’s initiative in Yekaterinburg and, on 9 July 2008, the leaders of the BRIC countries met on the margins of the G8 summit in Toyako, Japan. The first full-format BRIC summit was held on the proposal of the Russian side in Yekaterinburg on 16 June 2009.

The BRICS influence on the international arena is based on the growing economic might of the member States, their importance as one of the main driving forces of the global economic development, a large population and vast natural resources.

BRICS accounts for about 27% of the world GDP (at national currency purchasing power parity). The total population of the BRICS States is 2.88 bln (42% of the world population) and they cover 26% of the world’s territory.

The BRICS political influence is determined by the fact that the States of the group are authoritative members of the leading international structures. They cooperate within the UN and at other regional and international platforms on countering terrorism, the drug threat and corruption, resolving conflicts and ensuring international information security. Their interaction in humanitarian and cultural fields is developing rapidly.

The relations between the BRICS countries are based on the UN Charter, the universally recognized principles and norms of international law, as well as such principles as: openness, pragmatism, solidarity, non-block nature and non-aggression with regard to third parties. BRICS is a vivid example of strengthening collective efforts in world affairs. The States that are different in culture and civilization build their relations on the principles of equality, strict consideration for each others’ interests, mutual respect and openness to the outside world.

The formats of interaction among the BRICS members include regular annual summits, meetings of leaders on the margins of G20 summits, meetings of national security advisers, meetings of foreign ministers (including on the margins of the UN General Assembly session), of finance ministers and central bank governors, and heads of other relevant ministries and agencies, as well as sherpas/sous-sherpas and meetings of working groups on cooperation in various fields. Contacts between city administrations, business, academic and scientific communities and civil society were established.

An important practical result of the BRICS countries’ cooperation was the launch of the New Development Bank and the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement with an impressive volume of funds of USD 200 bln, which is not only solid financial support for the group but also the evidence of its greater weight in the international economy and finance.

During Russia’s chairmanship in BRICS (April 2015 – February 2016), a major step was made towards intensification, diversification and institutionalization of the countries’ interaction. BRICS has proved its importance and relevance for solving common tasks in various fields of cooperation.

The 7th summit of the group (Ufa, 8-9 July 2015) saw the endorsement of the Ufa Declaration, the Ufa Action Plan and the BRICS Economic Partnership Strategy, which confirmed the strategic nature of the BRICS partnership and determined the areas of the five countries’ long‑term cooperation. The Agreement between the Governments of the BRICS States on Cooperation in the Field of Culture was signed on the margins of the summit which greatly enhanced the humanitarian interaction between the member countries.

During its Chairmanship in BRICS (15 February – 31 December 2016) India continued consolidating multi-sectoral interaction and innovative search for new areas of cooperation, especially in the social and humanitarian field. A new impetus was given to the work in such areas as industrial cooperation, including in partnership with UNIDO, health, labour and employment, science and education, agriculture, preventing and handling natural disasters and environmental protection. A number of major forums were held; they helped consolidate cultural and civilizational potential of the BRICS countries.

At the 8th BRICS Summit (Goa, 15-16 October 2016), the leaders adopted the Declaration and Action Plan and signed Regulations on Customs Cooperation Committee, as well as the Memorandum of Understanding between BRICS Diplomatic Academies and the Memorandum for the Establishment of the BRICS Agricultural Research Platform.

The 9th summit of the group was held in Xiamen, China, on 4‑5 September 2017, under the theme “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”. The summit clearly demonstrated the unity of the five countries and reaffirmed their genuine interest in further development and deeper multifaceted partnership, as well as the convergence and accord of their positions on a wide range of key issues on the global political and economic agenda.

At the summit in China, the Xiamen Declaration and the Xiamen Action Plan were adopted, and three inter-agency pentalateral instruments were signed (the BRICS Action Agenda on Economic and Trade Cooperation, the BRICS Innovation Cooperation Action Plan 2017-2020, and the Strategic Framework of BRICS Customs Cooperation), as well as the Memorandum of Understanding between the BRICS Business Council and the New Development Bank on Strategic Cooperation.

During China’s Chairmanship (1 January – 31 December 2017) attention was focused on strengthening cultural and humanitarian cooperation between the BRICS countries, including between non-State organizations. The first BRICS International Festival of Theatre Schools, the Young Diplomats Forum, BRICS Forum of Political Parties, Think-Tanks and Civil Society Organizations, BRICS Games, BRICS Film Festival, International Congress of Women of SCO and BRICS Countries, Friendship Cities and Local Governments Cooperation Forum, BRICS Trade Union Forum and Youth Forum were successfully held.

Since 1 January 2018, the group has been chaired by South Africa. The core event of the current year was the 10th anniversary summit held on 25‑27 July 2018 in Johannesburg under the theme “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”. It confirmed the strength of the stance of the five countries as an essential element of the emerging polycentric world order.

The Declaration of the leaders adopted at the summit set forth the firm support for multilateralism, inviolability of international law and the central role of the UN. The five countries strongly opposed double standards, military interventions, interference in internal affairs, unilateral coercive economic measures and protectionism. They reaffirmed the unity of approaches to such acute challenges as terrorism, the threat of placement of weapons in outer space and corruption. It was decided to continue joint work to promote universal rules of responsible behaviour of States in information space. 

The leaders expressed their willingness to strengthen cooperation on key global and regional issues at major international platforms – the UN, G20, WTO and other multilateral organizations and fora.

It was decided to establish the BRICS Partnership on Fourth Industrial Revolution. They endorsed the creation of the BRICS Networks of Science Parks, Technology Business Incubators, the BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform (on Russia’s initiative) and BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre. The BRICS Memorandums of Understanding on Regional Aviation and on Collaborative Research on Distributed Ledger and Blockchain Technology in the Context of the Development of the Digital Economy were signed. It was decided to intensify cooperation in culture, sport and filmmaking.

Priority was given to development of contacts between BRICS and interested multilateral organizations and fora. In the framework of the Johannesburg summit there were meetings in “BRICS Outreach” and “BRICS Plus” formats attended, beside the leaders of the five countries, by heads of 21 States that chair influential organizations – G20, G77, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, CARICOM and numerous African integration structures. 

In January 2019, Brazil will take over the BRICS chair.