ASEAN Information Portal--Asean News, Asean Top,Southeast Asia,news,tourism,business,culture,encyclopedia

HOME > Encyclopedia > BRICS
Published: 24 August,2023 | Updated: 24 August,2023

Evolution of BRICS

BRICS is a partnership of five leading emerging markets and developing countries, founded on historical bonds of friendship, solidarity and shared interests.  Together, the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa represent over 42% of the global population, 30% of the world’s territory, 23% of GDP and 18% of global trade.

The relations between BRICS countries pre-date the 2001 Goldman Sachs report that popularised the acronym when discussing the return of BRIC countries as leaders of the global economy.  One of the founding values of BRICS is the shared commitment to restructure the global political, economic, and financial architecture to be fair, balanced and representative, resting on the important pillars of multilateralism and international law.  In this context, the Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China countries first met informally on the margins of the G8 Outreach Summit in St Petersburg, Russia, in July 2006.

Shortly afterwards, BRIC was formalised with the first BRIC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, held on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2006.  The First BRIC Summit followed in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in June 2009.  South Africa was invited to join BRICS in 2010 and attended the Third BRICS Summit, held in Sanya, China, in 2011.

The BRICS partnership has grown in scope and depth with BRICS members exploring practical cooperation in a spirit of openness and solidarity to find mutual interests and common values.  Around 150 meetings are held annually across the three pillars of BRICS cooperation: political and security cooperation, financial and economic cooperation, and cultural and people-to-people cooperation.  Over 30 agreements and memoranda of understanding provide a legal foundation for cooperation in the areas as diverse as the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, customs, tax, interbank cooperation, culture, science, technology and innovation, agricultural research, energy efficiency, competition policy and diplomatic academies.

Three Pillars of Cooperation

Political and Security Cooperation

BRICS members are leading members of the United Nations (UN), the G20, the World Trade Organisation, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77, as well as continental and regional organisations, including the African Union (AU), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Collective Security Treaty Organisation, Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), to name but a few.

The Political and Security Cooperation Pillar is the backbone of cooperation with BRICS Leaders usually meeting twice a year – once for the BRICS Summit and once on the margins of the G20 Summit. BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Relations also usually meet twice a year – once for a standalone meeting and again on the margins of the UN General Assembly. BRICS national security advisers meet to coordinate a BRICS approach to peace and security matters. BRICS cooperation is built on the principles of mutual respect, sovereign equality, inclusiveness, consensus and strengthened collaboration.

BRICS is a partnership of influential countries who champion inclusive multilateralism. A reformed UN lies at the centre of a shared BRICS vision of a restructured global political, economic and financial architecture that reflects the contemporary world and is more equitable, balanced and representative. BRICS has stated its inclusive and representative vision for reform in the Joint Statement on Strengthening and Reforming the Multilateral System, adopted in 2021. Other BRICS security mechanisms provide for dialogue and sharing of best practice in the areas of counterterrorism, cyber-security, transnational organised crime, anti-drug and anti-corruption cooperation.

Financial and Economic Cooperation

BRICS countries have been the main engines of global economic growth in recent years. The combined economic strength of BRICS can be a catalyst for sustainable global economic recovery and respond to the disruptions to supply chains and challenges of food and energy insecurity.

The Financial and Economic Cooperation pillar is substantial with meetings of Ministers of Trade, Industry, Agriculture and Energy, to name but a few. The Contact Group for Economic and Trade Issues works in support of the ministers by proposing institutional frameworks and measures to expand cooperation on economic and trade issues among the BRICS countries.

The revised Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership provides the basis for enhancing intra-BRICS economic interaction and cooperation, including opportunities for market access and to facilitate market inter-linkages, promote mutual trade and investment, create a business-friendly environment and diversify trade and investment cooperation that supports value addition. BRICS has agreed to strengthen collaboration in catalytic sectors such as energy; information and communications technology; science, technology and innovation; agriculture; and the green economy.

The BRICS Business Council and the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance bring together important commercial corporate and women’s entrepreneurial networks vital to broader socio-economic growth and recovery.

The New Development Bank (NDB) was established in 2015 with a AAA and AA+ credit rating to play a catalytic role in providing financial support to emerging markets and developing countries for infrastructure gap, sustainable development and equity in power-sharing. The location of the NDB Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg is aimed at enhancing infrastructure development on the continent. In 2021, the NDB welcomed Bangladesh, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay as new members, firmly positioning the Bank as a preferred global financing mechanism for emerging markets and developing countries.

Cultural and People-to-People Cooperation

BRICS cooperation provides tangible benefits for South Africa through research and innovation, energy, health and education cooperation. More than 100 multilateral BRICS research projects have been funded under the BRICS Framework Programme. The BRICS partnership involves a strong commitment to joint ownership and shared responsibility, the real and open sharing of experience, expertise and resources; and a determination to contribute BRICS respective, comparative scientific and technological strengths for the advancement of the global good.

In 2021, BRICS space agencies signed the Agreement on the Cooperation on BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation. This agreement enables cooperation among BRICS space agencies to build a virtual constellation of remote sensing satellites, as a data-sharing mechanism, made up of existing satellites contributed by BRICS space agencies. The establishment of a virtual BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre in 2022 will strengthen global capacities to prepare for, and respond to, pandemics.

BRICS cooperation further aims to accelerate industrialisation under the Fourth Industrial Revolution BRICS platforms have been established to share best practice, knowledge and expertise, including the use of open-source technology platforms. BRICS countries seek to move towards a low-carbon development path that is inclusive and sustainable while acknowledging the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities. The BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform will be valuable as BRICS moves to diversify its energy sources.

BRICS education cooperation has enabled the sharing of information and a better understanding among member states of their education systems. BRICS education cooperation has resulted in the establishment of the Network of BRICS Universities in 2018. The BRICS Academic Forum and BRICS Think Tank Council have developed academic and institutional ties that provide BRICS Leaders with a knowledge base and the chapters of the BRICS Civil Forum provide a feedback loop on the impact of BRICS policies on the ground in communities.

People-to-people cooperation manifests through art, film and cultural exchanges; the BRICS Film Festival; BRICS cultural events; BRICS Games; increased access to capital for infrastructure and sustainable development; enhanced research and innovation; recovery of the tourism sector; investment and trade; more opportunities for businesspeople, researchers and students; the empowerment of women, girls and the youth; and increased living standards of our people.

BRICS Architecture

BRICS is not supported by a permanent secretariat or office. The Chair of BRICS rotates annually among the member states in the order of the acronym. The Chair sets the priorities and calendar of events for the year, as well as hosting the Summit and all related meetings. The Chair develops its annual priorities in close consultation with other BRICS members, based on the Chair’s agenda as well as previously agreed decisions in the interests of continuity of BRICS cooperation.

The annual Chair has announced a theme for its Chairship since the Third BRICS Summit:

the Third BRICS Summit was held in Sanya, China, in April 2011 under the theme: “Broad Vision, Shared Prosperity”

the Fourth BRICS Summit was held in New Delhi, India, in March 2012 under the theme: “BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Security and Prosperity”

the Fifth BRICS Summit was held in Durban, South Africa, in March 2013 under the theme: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation”

the Sixth BRICS Summit was held in Fortaleza, Brazil, in July 2014 under the theme: “Inclusive Growth: Sustainable Solutions”

the Seventh BRICS Summit was held in Ufa, Russia, in July 2015 under the theme: “BRICS Partnership – A Powerful Factor of Global Development”

the Eighth BRICS Summit was held in Goa, India, in October 2016 under the theme: “Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions”

the Ninth BRICS Summit was held in September 2017 under the theme: “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”

the 10th BRICS Summit was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in July 2018 under the theme: “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”

the 11th BRICS Summit was held in Brasilia, Brazil, in November 2019 under the theme: “BRICS: Economic Growth for an Innovative Future”

the 12th BRICS Summit was held virtually in November 2020 under the theme: “BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth”

the 13th BRICS Summit was held virtually in September 2021 under the theme: “BRICS@15: Intra BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus”

the 14th BRICS Summit was held virtually in June 2022 under the theme: “Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development”

the 15th BRICS Summit will be held under the theme: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism”.

BRICS coordination is managed by BRICS Sherpas and Sous-Sherpas. All BRICS decisions are taken in consultation with other BRICS members and are based upon consensus.

The New Development Bank, headquartered in Shanghai, China, is the premier institution of BRICS. The Bank aims to mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging markets and developing economics. The Johannesburg-based Africa Regional Centre of the Bank plays a catalytic role in providing financial and project preparation support for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in South Africa and Africa. BRICS Leaders also established the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement, a mechanism for providing support through additional liquidity and other means to BRICS countries during times of economic crisis.

The architecture of BRICS cooperation extends across business, academia, media, parliaments, political parties, civil society and sport. BRICS has formalised cooperation with the establishment of the BRICS Business Council, the BRICS Think Tanks Council, and the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance.

The BRICS Business Forum meets on the eve of the summits, bringing together Leaders and CEOs, and is aimed at expanding and diversifying trade and mutual investments, including through the identification of new business opportunities. The BRICS Business Council brings together large business associations from each of the BRICS countries with a view to making recommendations on issues of trade and investment related to the business environment. The BRICS Women’s Business Alliance bridges the challenges of micro, small and medium enterprises with need for the greater economic inclusion of women in the economy. The BRICS Academic Forum, which takes place prior to the summits, brings together academics from across BRICS. The BRICS Think Tanks Council is responsible for sharing and disseminating information; research, policy analysis and prospective studies; and capacity-building. The Council makes recommendations to the BRICS Leaders.