Source: www.russkiymir.ru On 10-12 June, the Chinese city of Fuzhou hosted the united international Forum for Political Parties, Think Tanks, and Civil Society Organizations of the BRICS Countries. Among those to take part in the work of this forum was the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Education and Research and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Russkiy Mir Foundation, Vyacheslav Nikonov.
As part of China's turn in chairing the multinational association BRICS in 2017, for the first time two traditional frameworks for developing cooperation were integrated into a single platform—the academic and civil society tracks, along with a new framework, suggested by China, for cooperation between the political parties of the five countries. In this way, China decided to join together three dialogues that had grown out of the BRICS Academic Forum, which has taken place now for the ninth time.
During the run-up to the forum, on the morning of 10 June, the yearly meeting of the BRICS Think Tanks Council took place, where the national coordinators presented their primary accomplishments in the area of developing the expertise of the five countries. The results of the work done by the academic track as part of India's chairing of BRICS in 2016 was presented by the vice president of the Observer Research Foundation, Samir Saran.
In Mr. Saran's opinion, the primary objective of BRICS in the present day is to institutionalize the association, a process that ought to involve two dimensions: creating accessory mechanisms for developing new BRICS institutions (such as the BRICS New Development Bank) and initiating collaboration in new fields of cooperation. So, for instance, in 2016 India initiated a new framework for collaboration among BRICS cities with the goal of developing regions (the "BRICS Smart Cities" International Seminar). In addition, Mr. Saran noted the necessity of strengthening cooperation among BRICS countries, not only within the association, but also under the auspices of other international mechanisms and forums. India's representatives also presented a new joint report by the BRICS Think Tanks Council, "BRICS Long-term Goals: A Roadmap and Paths for Development," which reflected the primary objectives for developing BRICS in the long run.
One might say that the creation of a national Council for Collaboration among BRICS Think Tanks—an important event in the development of Chinese BRICS-ology—was a leitmotif of the forum. The consolidation of the Chinese expert community and the achievements of the Chinese leadership in developing new frameworks for collaboration (the international symposium "BRICS Cyber-economics and Cyber-security," the international symposium "Collaboration among BRICS Countries and International Production Chains," and others) were the subject of the presentation by the General Secretary of the National Council for Collaboration among BRICS Think Tanks and Director of the Research Center for the International Division of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Luan Zhangchang
Turning to the sources of development for BRICS, the head of the Research Council for the Humanities and the BRICS South African Research Centre, Ari Citas
, noted an incipient evolution in the framework. If ten years ago only a few international experts dared to study BRICS issues, today it would be hard to find a research center that wouldn't develop this area. BRICS had "grown up," and its establishment as a full-fledged framework for collaboration largely depended, and would continue to depend in the future, on the efforts of expert communities in the five countries standing at the avant-garde of the association's development. In the opinion of South Africa's representatives, BRICS must devote the next decade to cooperation in four major areas: economic flourishing, stable development, forming a new world order, and generating new knowledge. Marcos Diego
, the assistant secretary of foreign affairs in the administration of the Brazilian president, devoted special attention to the problem of cooperation between expert communities and the governments of BRICS countries. According to him, the mechanisms of collaboration should be developed. These mechanisms allow the ideas of experts to be realized in practice, strengthen the cooperation between governments and expert circles in BRICS countries, and strive to transition from rhetoric to active work. Moreover, it is extraordinarily important to put the achievements of expert communities in the possession of society at large.
A similar opinion about the necessity of establishing closer connections between the first and second BRICS pathways was maintained by the executive director of the Russian National Committee for BRICS Research and director of regional programs at the Russkiy Mir Foundation, Georgy Toloraya.
Reflecting on the role of the international community of experts in developing the agenda of the BRICS countries, Professor Toloraya highlighted two basic problems in the operation of BRICS Think Tanks Council. The first consists of underdeveloped resources for affecting the process of government decision-making in their countries. The second problem is the need of gaining authority not only among researchers, but also in the realm of public opinion.
The primary task for the BRICS Think Tanks Council is the dissemination of accurate information about the development of BRICS in other countries, within the association itself, as well as in opposition to inimical criticism on both levels—international and national. It is crucial to preserve the consolidated work of the BRICS think tanks studying the problems in the interaction between the five lead countries, and to overcome the deficit of information that has built up regarding realized projects and studies that largely duplicate each other due to a lack of a unified field of information.
Over the course of the two-day Ninth BRICS Academic Forum on the square of the Fuzhou International Exhibition Congress Center, more than 60 reports and presentations were given on the following topics: challenges and possibilities for developing BRICS in new circumstances, the search for innovative methods of strengthening the mechanisms of collaboration within BRICS, a strategy for deepening cooperation among the five countries, the development of South-South collaboration, and global management.
The official delegation from Russia included representatives of the following think tanks: the National Committee for Studying BRICS, the Economics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), the Latin American Institute of the RAS, the Africa Institute of the RAS, the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, and the Higher School of Economics. The Russian delegation was chaired by the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Education and Research and Chairman of the National Committee for BRICS Research, Vyacheslav Nikonov. The Executive Director of the National Committee for BRICS Research, Georgy Toloraya, served as moderator for a panel of the Academic Forum on the topic of deepening collaboration under auspices of BRICS.
The Academic Forum approved recommendations for governing bodies and leaders of BRICS countries, consisting of nearly 50 points, which were dedicated to problems of reforming the system of global economic management, developing a partnership strategy for BRICS countries, preserving global peace and security, reinforcing cooperation among governments in economic and social development, taking advantage of the possibilities created by multilateral institutions for advancing infrastructure projects, decisions concerning innovation and technology, collaboration in the industrial and agricultural sectors, and also assistance in strengthening humanitarian collaboration and improving cooperation within the BRICS mechanism. These recommendations will be transmitted to Sherpas to prepare the documents for the summit of BRICS leaders in Xiamen in September of this year.
Session meetings were held for the Forum of Civil Society Organizations of BRICS Countries, where more than 30 reports were read, dedicated primarily to the development of humanitarian cooperation among BRICS countries, to the interaction among civil society organizations, to the role of NGOs in raising the profile of developing countries in international affairs, to humanitarian and educational exchanges, and to intercultural dialogue within the parameters of BRICS.
A Dialogue of BRICS Financial and Business Structures took place in parallel. Here, participants discussed issues of financial reform, cooperation among financial markets in the BRICS countries, and the role of innovation in deepening collaboration among the five lead countries in the sphere of industrial production.
The Forum of Political Parties of BRICS Countries took place for the first time in Fuzhou. The Communist Party of China invited a dialogue among representatives of the political parties of the other countries of the "leading five," including the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, the United Russia Party, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the A Just Russia Party, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, the Indian People's Party, the South African Communist Party, and others.
Another innovation on China's part was the decision to invite 28 countries to take part in the Forum, including representatives of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and others.
Based on the results of the Forum, approval was given to a declaration titled "Fuzhou Initiative."
Presenting at the closing ceremony and giving summation to the forum, Vyacheslav Nikonov
appealed to the image of BRICS as the five fingers of a hand, which come together as a fist: "We have become stronger in many respects due to us being together. To make people listen to you, you don't have to drop your fist into the matter—it's enough simply to show it. We showed that together we are a powerful force in contemporary politics."
In the politician's opinion, the voices of the younger generation should be heard more often from the podium: "Sooner or later, we will all retire, but BRICS will continue its existence. BRICS will never retire."