Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 27.2017
2017.06.26 — 2017.07.02
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
On the road to BRICS summit in Xiamen. How BRICS comply with summits decisions? (На пути к саммиту БРИКС в Сямыни. Как БРИКС выполняет решения на высшем уровне?) / Russia, June, 2017
Keywords: Expert_opinion, Xiamen_Summit

On 3-4 September 2017, the 9th BRICS Forum will be held in Xiamen under China's chairmanship. Since its creation, the forum's activities have been drawing international attention and provoking harsh disputes. The BRICS' sceptics treat the organization as a mere platform for interests' coordination and not a full-pledged institute of global governance. Others question its credibility and expect the forthcoming collapse appealing to the BRICS countries' economic and civilizational discrepancies. However, the analysis of recent BRICS activities proves that the organization has actualized as informal institute of global governance allowing its members to strengthen, expand and deepen spheres of cooperation, coordinate efforts to ensure economic recovery and growth and promote development of all countries in the world.

By now the BRICS leaders have adopted 406 concrete commitments in 12 spheres of cooperation ranging from macroeconomics and finance to climate change and education. Moreover, since BRICS' creation more than 160 meetings were held in different formats with more than 50 documents adopted and a broad range of working bodies, contact groups and other mechanisms created.
The performance on priority commitments is high. In Sanya 2011 it reached 74%. The Deli summit in 2012 displayed the level of 64%. The Durban summit returned to 75% as it was in 2011. The Fortaleza summit in 2014 ended with 70%. The average level of the Ufa summit was 78%. The interim results for the Goa summit reach the same level but can improve after the final assessment in September.

The compliance results for the 2016 Goa summit prove the positive dynamics of the last three years' performance and general institute's development. In Goa the leaders reiterated their determination to use all policy tools – monetary, fiscal, and structural, individually and collectively, to achieve the goal of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. On energy they expressed support for a wider use of natural gas as an economically efficient and clean fuel.

They agreed to strengthen joint efforts to enhance security in the use of ICTs, combating the use of ICTs for criminal and terrorist purposes and improving cooperation between technical, law enforcement, R&D and innovation in the field of ICTs and capacity building institutions. Last but not least they reaffirmed commitment for cooperation among health and/or regulatory authorities, with a view to share best practices and discuss challenges, as well as identify potential areas for convergence.

Except for regional security commitment, the interim level of compliance in 2016 was high. The members reached the average level of compliance equal to 78%. The maximum level was demonstrated in macroeconomic sphere (support for better incorporation of MSME into regional and global value chains) and E-commerce. The full compliance on these commitments proves the countries' willingness to support economic growth and search for its new sources. The compliance score in the spheres of information exchange for tax purposes switch to natural gas as economically efficient and clean fuel and bridging digital divide between developed and developing countries (ICT) also reached 90%. The level of 80% was achieved in international cooperation against corruption.
Compliance score in regional security commitment was the lowest – 30%, almost the same as in previous years. This trend is defined mostly by the lack of actions from Brazil and South Africa (both demonstrated negative compliance) which do not consider the Afghanistan problem as a threat to national security. Also this commitment does not imply interior actions by the member countries but aims at local government's capacity building to settle the security issue. These factors confine available instruments.

The general trend shows that BRICS countries demonstrate high willingness to implement approved decisions in macroeconomic sphere. Considerable results are also achieved in other spheres that constitute the core of BRICS agenda – development and fight against terrorism. Moreover, BRICS countries demonstrate high level of compliance in a relatively new sphere - information and communication technologies. The ICT issues, innovations and digital economy take the front side of BRICS agenda and become the core of agenda as well. All in all, BRICS continues its development as an important forum of global governance that produces collective decisions on key issues of socio-economic development.

The RANEPA Center for International Institutions Research in cooperation with the University of Toronto annually prepares two BRICS compliance reports: interim and final. The final results will be released on the eve of the summit in Xiamen.


1. A commitment is defined as a discrete, specific, publicly expressed, collectively agreed statement of intent; a promise by summit members that they will undertake future action to move toward, meet or adjust to an identified target. [Kirton et al., 2014]
2. Compliance is understood as national governments' actions geared toward the domestic implementation of the necessary formal legislative and administrative regulations designed to execute summit commitments. Compliance is assessed according to the criteria of official reaffirmation of a summit commitment, internal bureaucratic review and representation, budgetary and resource allocations made or changed, and new or altered programmes, legislation and regulations.
3. The methodology uses a scale from −1 to +1, where +1 indicates full compliance with the stated commitment, −1 indicates a failure to comply or action taken that is directly opposite to the stated goal of the commitment, and 0 indicates partial compliance or work in progress, such as initiatives that have been launched but are not yet near completion and whose final results can therefore not be assessed. Each member receives a score of −1, 0 or +1 for each commitment. For convenience, the scientific scores reported in the tables in this summary have been converted to percentages, where −1 equals 0% and +1 equals 100 The formula to convert a score into a percentage is P=50×(S+1), where P is the percentage and S is the score.
4. The report covers actions on ten commitments taken by the BRICS countries during the period from 17 October 2016 to 31 March 2017.
Author: Irina Popova, Junior Research, CIIR, RANEPA
BRICS deserve greater voice in global news (БРИКС заслуживает большего голоса в глобальных новостях) / China, June, 2017
Keywords: Expert_opinion
Author: Ni Tao

IN an age of information overload, competing to make oneself heard amid a cacophony of voices is a tremendously challenging enterprise, even for a full-fledged group like BRICS.

The group, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has been a driving force of global growth over the past decade or so. Yet although economically BRICS has steadily evolved into a force to be reckoned with, it is relatively under-represented in what international relations experts call "global discourse."

And at a time when some analysts tend to write off BRICS, pointing to its "lack of long-term growth potential," the need for the group to gain a bigger say in world affairs has never been stronger. At a recent BRICS media forum held in Shanghai, media delegations from the five member states proffered their thoughts on how BRICS' own media can amplify their voices in the world.

In his opening remarks, Alexey Kosarev, corporation communication officer of New Development Bank — better known as the BRICS Bank — said that the bank, founded two years ago, had already completed seven projects worth to the tune of 1.5 billion euros.

In anticipation of the increase in business volume, the bank is in great need of "high quality analytical work contributed by credible media" in areas such as financial regulations, foreign policy and international relations, said Kosarev.

Life for media around the world has been made harder by the digital age, to be sure, but perception of it as a threat only is both unwise and futile. Describing the Internet as sort of a double-edged sword, Kosarev explained that media outlets from BRICS ought to benefit from the "new channels and ways of mass communication" made available by the digital revolution.

Content is still king

Notably, while the Internet has complicated news production, editing and dissemination, the core tenet of journalism that "content is king" still resonates. Indeed, while grappling with the challenge posed by the Internet, media professionals must commit themselves to the pursuit of veracity over speed.

According to a joke that goes the rounds in Russian media circles, a man asks a friend for his opinion on Beatles music, and is mortified to hear the comment that "it is terrible." It turns out that the Beatles music in question is a horribly off-key, mangled rendition sung by a neighbor. Sergey Kochetkov, the first deputy editor-in-chief of Sputnik News Agency and Radio, used this joke as a metaphor to highlight the danger of believing in whatever one is told. This danger looms large in an era when a large number of journalists are fixated on "getting it first" rather than "first getting it right."

Coupled with the domination of Western media, readers in the developing world are not always immune to ill-informed judgment of news events —even those that occur within their own countries. In Kochetkov's view, what is critically needed, in addition to an urge to combat fake news, is better cooperation among BRICS media outlets.

Not entirely exempt from stereotypes held against each other, BRICS media have a lot to do to cut through misinformation. To begin with, they are advised to help young journalists to better know each other and steer clear of the usual biases in journalism.

Achievements are miscellaneous. Take Russia and China. The year 2017, officially a Year of Sino-Russian Media Exchange, has witnessed a surge of interest in each other's country, reflected by a series of activities organized for Chinese and Russian journalists.

These range from media roundtables to exchange visits, from book translation programs to photography contests. To take this kind of cooperation a step further, Qiu Xin, president of Shanghai United Media Group, which hosted the forum, noted that under the framework of BRICS media cooperation, we ought to weave a more extensive network, promoting and supporting schemes such as content-sharing or reciprocal visits.

For Mohammed Iqbal Survé, media professionals from BRICS should take upon themselves the task of "telling untold narratives." Executive Chairman of South Africa's Independent Media, he believes that these narratives have long been obscured or overlooked by Western media out of the conviction that they contradict the "orthodox" narrative one finds in the Western press.

For example, while Africa is often associated with poverty, famines and civil wars in the popular mind, this continent is actually a lot different than this unflattering depiction. By 2020, Africa will boast the largest number of young people in the world, said Survé, without specifying which age group.

This could translate into demographic dividends, robust consumer demands and also potential for media. "This land abounds in opportunities," said Survé.

Reminding the audience that 99 percent of the world population originated from Africa 10,000 years ago, as indicated by genetic sequencing, he stressed that this continent deserves more narratives told by its own media to the wider world.
Tianjin to host 7th BRICS Health Ministers Meeting (В Тяньцзине пройдет седьмая встреча министров здравоохранения стран БРИКС) / China, June, 2017
Keywords: Healthcare, Health_Ministers_Meeting

The 7th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Health Ministers Meeting will be held in Tianjin, China, on July 6 and 7, focusing on international cooperation on the development of traditional medicine, China's National Health and Family Planning Commission announced on Wednesday.

About 300 delegates, including health ministers of BRICS nations and some other countries, international organizations, including the World Health Organization, representatives from Tianjin's sister cities abroad, health experts and company executives, will participate in the meeting, Zhang Yang, director general of the commission's Department of International Cooperation, said at a news conference.

Seminars on the development and application of traditional medicine, and traditional medicine exhibitions and interactive activities on the use of traditional Chinese medicine will be held during the meeting, she said.

This will be the second time China hosts such a meeting. The first BRICS Health Ministers Meeting was held in Beijing in 2011. The five countries have chosen some priority areas for cooperation in the past six meeting, including intensifying health monitoring, research in tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria, and development and research into drugs, according to Zhang.

Exchanges and cooperation among BRICS nations in traditional medicine can promote familiarity and friendship between peoples of the countries and contribute to improved health of all the peoples, Zhu Haidong, deputy director general of the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine's Department of International Cooperation, said.

All the five countries have their own traditional medicine and China has conducted exchanges and cooperation in the area with all the other nations, he said.

Traditional Chinese medicine is in use in 183 countries and regions, and acupuncture has been recognized by 103 members of the World Health Organization, Zhu said. Every year about 13,000 students from overseas come to China to study TCM, and about 200,000 overseas patients receive TCM services in China, he said.

Last year, China exported TCM products with a total value of more than $3.4 billion, according to the administration.
After disastrous Europe visit, Brazil's Michel Temer to skip G20 summit (После катастрофической поездки в Европу, бразильский президент Мишел Темер пропустит саммит G20) / Brazil, June July, 2017
Keywords: Michel_Temer, G20_summit

Late last night, Brazil's government announced that Pres. Michel Temer will not attend this year's G20 summit. He will also skip the informal BRICS meeting, scheduled for next week in South Africa.

Michel Temer's reasons for skipping both the G20 and BRICS meetings remain undisclosed by the federal government and the Foreign Ministry. No information has yet been released as to who will represent Brazil at both events.

The G20 summit is due to take place in Germany this year on July 7-8. It unites the world's 20 biggest economies, including the US, EU and Brazil's economic ally China. The informal BRICS meeting typically takes place just before the G20 summit.

Analysts believe that Temer's absence from the G20 will weaken Brazil's position globally. However, there are also fears that he could weaken Brazil's position in the BRICS by skipping the informal meeting.

Michel Temer's absence draws speculation

Without official reasons given, many are speculating over the reason for Temer's absence. Some have linked it to his recent trip to Europe, visiting Norway and Russia, where his diplomatic efforts fell short. Members of Temer's team and the Ministry of External Relations both regarded the trip as "disastrous".

Meanwhile, analysts point to the President's cancelled upcoming trip to Colombia. His decision may be guided by the crucial weeks ahead for the government's labor reforms. During his trip to Europe, the Senate Committee rejected Senator Ricardo Ferraço's report on the reforms.

However, other speculate that recent denunciations of his presidency growing are behind Temer's wish to remain in Brazil in the coming weeks. There are several fundamental judgments coming upon the legitimacy and legality of his presidency. This has led to speculation that Temer will remain in Brazil to cling to power.

Temer is currently facing the first of these, after current Attorney General of the Republic Rodrigo Janot accused him of corruption this week. Analysts expect Temer to also receive allegations of passive corruption and forming a criminal organization.

Upcoming trips risk cancellation

Temer also has a visit scheduled to Mendoza, Argentina, on July 20-21. Brazil will assume Mercosul's rotating presidency on this date. As Mercosul approaches key negotiations with the EU, if Temer chooses to skip this visit he could damage the trading bloc's reputation.

He is also due to visit Xiamen, China, in September for a formal BRICS meeting. The talks should unite leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to discuss economic priorities and international trade.
BRICS pledges environment cooperation (БРИКС заявляет о сотрудничестве в области окружающей среды) / China, June, 2017
Keywords: Paris_Agreement, environmental_meeting, PUESI

XIAMEN, June 24, China Daily -- Environmental ministers and officials from BRICS nations called for more cooperation on air pollution and climate change to tackle pollution during rapid economic growth, according to a statement on Friday.

The ministers from China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa met in Tianjin for a two-day conference that ended on Friday. BRICS leaders will meet in Xiamen, Fujian province, in September.

"We reiterate our intention to promote cooperation within BRICS in the area of pollution prevention, in particular air pollution," said the statement.

It also demonstrated the member countries' promise to implement the Paris Agreement and urged developed countries to transfer the needed technology to developing countries, which is "one of the most critical enablers for climate action."

Climate change, ecological deterioration and frequent major natural disasters have become global environmental challenges, and countries must take joint action to tackle the issues, said Li Ganjie, Party chief of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The BRICS countries - all emerging economies - account for 23 percent of world GDP, and can play a large role in improving global environmental management, he added.

It was the first time that China chaired the meeting of BRICS environment ministers.

The inaugural BRICS environment ministers' meeting was held in Moscow, Russia, in April 2015, while the second was in Goa, India, in September 2016.

During the two-day meeting in Tianjin, the environment ministers and senior officials also approved the BRICS Partnership for Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative, which identified "water and air pollution prevention, waste management, spatial planning and mobility as priority areas for cooperation."

The initiative will promote a series of activities such as holding policy dialogues, conducting joint research and setting up websites, aiming to facilitate the best practices for urban sustainability.

"The BRICS countries have been confronted with similar environmental issues like pollution and waste management during their rapid economic growth, which makes cooperation necessary," Zhang Jieqing, a senior expert at the BRICS working group, said on Friday.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Money In Swiss Banks: India Slips To 88th Place; U.K. On Top (Деньги в швейцарских банках: Индия соскальзывает до 88-го места; Великобритания возглавляет рейтинг) / USA, July, 2017
Keywords: Ratings, finance

  • India is ranked 88th with 676 million Swiss francs (about Rs 4,500 crore) - a record low after falling for three consecutive years.
  • India was placed at the 61st position as on 2014-end and fell to the 75th position by 2015-end.
  • Among BRICS countries, only China has moved up in the list.

India has slipped to 88th place in terms of money parked by its citizens with Swiss banks, while the U.K. remains on the top.

Also, the money officially held by Indians with banks in Switzerland now accounts for a meagre 0.04 percent of the total funds kept by all foreign clients in the Swiss banking system, as per an analysis of the latest figures compiled by the SNB (Swiss National Bank) as on 2016-end.

India was placed at 75th position in 2015 and at 61st in the year before that, though it used to be among top 50 countries in terms of holdings in Swiss banks till 2007. The country was ranked highest at 37th place in the year 2004.

The latest data from Zurich-based SNB comes ahead of a new framework for automatic exchange of information between Switzerland and India to help check the black money menace.

The funds, described by SNB as 'liabilities' of Swiss banks or 'amounts due to' their clients, are the official figures disclosed by the Swiss authorities and do not indicate to the quantum of the much-debated alleged black money held by Indians in the safe havens of Switzerland.

SNB's official figures also do not include the money that Indians, NRIs or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of entities from different countries.

There is a view that the Indians alleged to have parked their illicit money in Swiss banks in the past may have shifted the funds to other locations after a global clampdown began on the mighty banking secrecy practices in Switzerland.

Swiss banks have also said Indians have "few deposits" in Swiss banks compared to other global financial hubs like Singapore and Hong Kong amid stepped-up efforts to check the black money menace.

The total money held in Swiss banks by foreign clients from across the world, incidentally rose by a small margin from 1.41 trillion Swiss francs (CHF) to CHF 1.42 trillion during 2016.

In terms of individual countries, the U.K. accounted for the largest chunk at about CHF 359 (over 25 percent) of the total foreign money with Swiss banks.

The U.S. came second with nearly CHF 177 billion or about 14 percent. No other country accounted for a double-digit percentage share, while others in the top 10 included West Indies, France, Bahamas, Germany, Guernsey, Jersey, Hong Kong and Luxembourg. Indians' share is not even one-hundredth of the total money.

India is now ranked 88th with 676 million Swiss francs (about Rs 4,500 crore) - a record low after falling for three consecutive years amid a continuing clampdown on the suspected black money stashed behind their famed secrecy walls. The share of Indians' money in the total foreign funds of Swiss banks also fell to 0.04 percent (from 0.08 percent in 2015).

Pakistan continued to remain placed higher than India at 71st place (although down from 69th in 2015) with about CHF 1.4 billion - though down to below 0.1 percent of total foreign money parked with Swiss banks.

India was also the lowest ranked among the BRICS nations - Russia was ranked 19th (CHF 15.6 billion), China 25th (CHF 9.6 billion), Brazil 52nd (CHF 2.7 billion) and South Africa 61st (CHF 2.2 billion). Among these five, only China has moved up.

Others ranked higher than India included Mauritius, Iran, Morocco, Kenya, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Angola, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Canada and Mexico.

A number of offshore financial centres are also ranked higher including Cayman Islands, Panama, Cyprus, Marshall Islands, Bermuda, Seychelles, Isle of Man and Gibraltar.

Among India's neighbouring countries, Bangladesh was ranked 89th (CHF 667.5 million), while Nepal was 150th (CHF 312 million), Sri Lanka was 151st (CHF 307 million) and Bhutan was way below at 282nd (about half a million Swiss francs).

The total money belonging to the developed countries fell to CHF 824 billion, while those from developing nations actually rose marginally to CHF 208 million. The money from developing economies in Asia-Pacific region rose to CHF 50 billion. The funds parked in Swiss banks from offshore financial centres rose to CHF 389 billion.

India was ranked in top-50 continuously between 1996 and 2007, but started declining after that -- 55th in 2008, 59th in 2009 and 2010 each, 55th again in 2011, 71st in 2012 and then to 58th in 2013.
BRICS New Development Bank May Rise Number of Projects to 75 by 2021 (НБР БРИКС может увеличить количество проектов до 75 к 2021 году) / Russia, July, 2017
Keywords: NDB, official_statement, sustainable_development

The number of projects approved by the New Development Bank (NDB), established by the BRICS can increase up to 75 by the end of 2021, the NDB General Strategy said on Sunday.

BEIJING (Sputnik) – Earlier in the day, the NDB issued final development strategy for 2017-2021, adopted by the Board of Directors on Friday.

"Table 2 has been constructed by assuming that 15 projects will be approved in 2017, going to 50 in 2021. Table 3 assumes a faster roll out plan and a higher number of projects appraisals annually, going up to 75 in year 2021," the strategy said, describing the tables that introduce growth scenarios for a five-year term.

According to one of the scenarios provided in the General strategy, the Projected Cumulative Loan Approvals are expected to boost up to $44.5 billion by the end of 2021.

The NDB is expected to focus on "the relationships, projects and instruments, and approaches" during the coming five years, according to the strategy.

"This General Strategy 2017-2021 lays out how NDB intends to fulfill its mandate. The overarching goal for the coming five years is to build on the progress achieved since the beginning of its operations in July 2015 to firmly establish NDB as a trusted provider of development cooperation services and a financial intermediary that reliably safeguards resources contributed by shareholders and investors," the NDB added.

In early April, the NDB Board of Directors expressed consent on the development strategy for 2017-2021, however, the strategy has not been officially adopted and published until now.

The NDB was established by five BRICS member states, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, in July 2014, to finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects both in BRICS and other developing countries. In April 2016, the NDB managing board adopted seven projects that imply the funding totaling over $1.5 billion. The NDB is expected to approve approximately 15 projects at the price of $2.5-3 billion in 2017.
BRICS Bank to focus on infrastructure projects - document (Банк БРИКС сосредоточится на инфраструктурных проектах - документ) / Russia, July, 2017
Keywords: NDB, official_statement, sustainable_development

The bank "will mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other EMDCs," the Bank's Strategy for 2017-2021 reads

SHANGHAI, July 2. /TASS/. The New Development Bank (NDB, BRICS Bank) during the coming five years will focus on financing sustainable development and infrastructure projects, the Bank's Strategy for 2017-2021 reads.

The bank "will mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other EMDCs," the document reads.

"Sustainable infrastructure development is at the core of NDB's operational strategy in 2017-2021, and the Bank will dedicate about two-thirds of financing commitments in its first five years to this area. Physical infrastructure is a critical enabler of faster and inclusive economic growth, and sustainability criteria are essential to ensure this infrastructure safeguards the physical and social environment for current and future generations."

"NDB will utilize a full range of financing instruments, moving beyond long-term loans to include guarantees, syndicated loans with private investors, equity investments, project bonds and co-financing arrangements with national and multilateral development finance institutions. Local currency financing is a key component of NDB's value proposition, as it mitigates risks faced by borrowers and supports the deepening of capital markets of member countries," the Bank said." NDB intends to operate at scale, and is now designing criteria and a strategy to expand membership to new countries."

The Shanghai-based New Development Bank BRICS is an international financial organization operated by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) aiming to promote infrastructure and sustainable development with an initial focus on BRICS countries. The agreement on establishing the institution was reached on July 15, 2014 at the sixth BRICS summit in Brazil's Fortaleza. In July 2015, the bank officially started operations. The bank's starting capital was set at $100 bln.
Regarding General Strategy of New Development Bank for 2017-2021 (В отношении общей стратегии НБР на 2017-2021 годы) / China, July, 2017
Keywords: NDB, official_statement

On 30 June 2017, the Board of Governors (BoG) of the New Development Bank approved the Bank's General Strategy document for 2017-2021.

The General Strategy of the Bank lays out how the NDB intends to fulfill its mandate of mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, complementing the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.

NDB's General Strategy: 2017 – 2021
Two-thirds of BRICS bank funds to finance sustainable infrastructure projects (Две трети банковских средств БРИКС будут использованы для финансирования проектов в области устойчивой инфраструктуры) / China, July, 2017
Keywords: NDB, infrastructure, official_statement

Financing sustainable development and infrastructure projects and local currency financing remain the focus of the New Development Bank launched by the BRICS countries, according to a new policy document for the next five years.

"The Bank will dedicate around two-thirds of all financing commitments in this period to sustainable infrastructure development, i.e., infrastructure projects that incorporate economic, environmental and social criteria in their design and implementation," according to the policy document.

Most of the Bank's projects will be either "sovereign operations or under sovereign guarantee".

"Non-sovereign operations, particularly with the private sector, will be expanded as the operational capability of the Bank evolves," the document said.

"Clean energy, transport infrastructure, irrigation, water resource management and sanitation, sustainable urban development, and economic cooperation and integration among member countries," the document added.

The new lender has said it plans to expand membership gradually.

"NDB signifies developing countries' coming of age and reflects their aspirations to stand on their own feet," according to the 2017-2021 strategy document.

The bank will aim to lend $2.5 billion to $3 billion this year, its president K.V. Kamath announced in May, nearly double the amount the bank loaned last year.

The NDB was created in July 2014 with initial authorised capital of $100 billion. The lender was officially launched a year later.
Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
SA committed to sustainable development (ЮАР привержена устойчивому развитию) / South Africa, June, 2017
Keywords: Edna_Molewa, SA_National_Development_Plan, sustainable_development, PUESI
South Africa

Environmental Affairs Minister Dr Edna Molewa says South Africa's programmes, particularly the National Development Plan: Vision 2030, demonstrates the country's commitment to sustainable and climate smart development.

"South Africa's short, medium and long-term vision is to contribute towards an environmentally sustainable, climate change resilient, low carbon economy and just society," Minister Molewa said at the recent third BRICS meeting of Ministers of Environment in Tianjin, China.

The National Development Plan (NDP) is South Africa's blueprint to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. The plan, Minister Molewa said, contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets, something that acutely highlights the "scale and ambition of the new universal climate agenda".

"They [SDGs] are integrated and indivisible, and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental dimensions," Minister Molewa said.

South Africa, the Minister said, has also adopted the Climate Change Response Policy. The policy represents South Africa's vision for an effective climate change response, and the long-term transition to a climate resilient and lower carbon economy and society.

BRICS Ministers' Forum
The ministers' meeting was an opportunity to deliberate on the implementation, financing and creation of an enabling environment for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and emerging global environmental issues.

Minister Molewa said emphasis must be placed on the importance of the means of implementation of the SDGs, and the continued financial assistance for developing countries through Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Minister Molewa reiterated the importance of developed countries to continue to honour their historic obligations and responsibilities, as part of the commitments made in the context of the global partnership for development.

"We must work together in mobilising sufficient, adequate and predictable financial resources for the implementation of the SDGs. Without the means of implementation, we will not be able to achieve much. The adoption of the SDG indicators and work plan will be a significant step on the way-forward on tracking the implementation of the SDGs," Minister Molewa said.

According to the Department of Environmental Affairs, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa's Agenda 2063 will not be achieved if natural resources are not protected, managed and utilised sustainably.

Minister Molewa welcomed the agreement at the BRICS meeting to develop clearly defined programmes, such as the BRICS Clean Rivers Umbrella Programme.

The BRICS Ministers of Environment adopted the Partnership for Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative (PUESI).

PUESI identifies water and air pollution prevention, waste management, spatial planning and mobility as priority areas for cooperation. The partnership envisions the promotion of sustainable development in urban areas, aiming to build a knowledge hub in order to facilitate sharing of policies and best practices for urban sustainability, to provide an interface for information exchange and communication between suppliers and users of environmentally friendly technologies and products.

Minister Molewa said the BRICS Partnership for Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative, if implemented in a holistic manner, has the potential to contribute significantly to the reduction of pollution and waste.

The ministerial meeting also discussed the issue of drought and desertification, and continued commitment to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to mitigate the effects of drought in vulnerable countries, particularly in Africa.
ANC wants Brics ratings agency as policy (АНК хочет, чтобы создание рейтингового агенства было в рамках официальной политики партии) / South Africa, July, 2017
Keywords: rating_agency, Edna_Molewa
South Africa

The ANC's international relations subcommittee plans to push for the establishment of a Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) ratings agency to be official party policy.

Speaking to the Mail & Guardian at the ANC's national policy conference, subcommittee chairperson Edna Molewa said it was "quite a necessity" to act on suggestions for a rating agency for emerging economies.

"We now need it to be policy of the ANC so that we can move on with implementation of that in government."

The suggestion of an alternative ratings agency was made at last year's Brics summit and was reignited earlier this year by the Black Business Council.

The council accused Western ratings agencies such as Moody's, S&P and Fitch of being unfair towards emerging economies and finding spurious reasons to support ratings downgrades.

In its international relations policy discussion document, the ANC raises concerns about the unfair dominance of the global North over the South.

The International Criminal Court, World Bank and International Monetary Fund are mentioned for their "stubborn persistence of imperial designs".

Molewa said, in addition, the ANC-led government's plan to improve South-South relations would see it reaching out to other countries to ward the threat of the North that was becoming increasingly conservative.

"South America must be strengthened and our relations with them must be strengthened because we need all those kinds of forces together to deal with this fast-changing sand underneath us," Molewa said.
World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
Co-production receives nods during BRICS Film Festival (Совместное производство получает одобрение на кинофестивале БРИКС) / China, June, 2017
Keywords: Film_Festival

Known as one of the most important sideline events of the BRICS Summit, the 2nd BRICS Film Festival has now concluded in Chengdu.

The 2nd BRICS Film Festival closed with a five-country co-production winning the Artistic Merit Award.

Film makers and actors from five BRICS countries celebrate the premiere of the first BRICS co-production, "Where Has Time Gone?" in Chengdu, China on June 23rd, 2017. Chinese director Jia Zhangke (Third from left) has teamed up with four established directors from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa to make a movie, which is scheduled to be released in September this year. [Photo: China Plus]

"Where Has Time Gone?" premiered during the festival. It's an anthology of five short stories made by filmmakers from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Each short film showcases a different understanding on the subject of time.

Jury president Xie Fei explains why the movie is worthing of the festival's top award.

"This movie is a fine example of our endeavor in promoting the cultural exchange and consolidating public support for cooperation among BRICS countries. It also brings diversity to the world cinema. "

The celebration of diversity is definitely the norm for this year's BRICS Film Festival.

Two films were honoured with the Jury Special Award: "The Second Mother" from Brazil and "Ayanda and the Mechanic " from South Africa. Another Brazilian drama "Nise: The Madness of Heart" was named Best Film; Russian filmmakers Kim Druzhinin and Andrey shalopa were crowned Best Director; Indian actor Alok Rajwade took home the trophy for Best Actor.

Zhou Dongyu received the Best Actress award for her performance in the romantic drama "July and Ansheng", She said she was impressed by the opportunity that the 2nd BRICS Film Festival offered since it served as a platform for industry insiders from various cultures to exchange ideas.

"I think different cultures share the same language through movies."

The statistics have proved her point.

Wu Yan is the operations manager from the UA Cinemas, one of the film festival venues.

"Attendance levels in our cinema reached 73.3% during the BRICS Film Festival, which breaks the record for any film screened in Chengdu. Usually, a film would screen at 20% to 50% of attendance. So 73% is quite impressive. Some films selected during this festival became so popular that the tickets were sold out."

But screening movies from other countries is not enough.

In order to deepen cooperation among BRICS member states, during the festival, delegations have also agreed to release a plan for film collaboration in the next five years and a talent development program.

The 2nd BRICS Film Festival ran from June 23rd to June 27th.

The next edition will be held in South Africa.
Vyacheslav Nikonov: BRICS will never retire (Вячеслав Никонов: БРИКС никогда не покинет поле) / Russia, June, 2017
Keywords: Expert_opinion

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."
The role of BRICS in modern international relations was discussed at ASU (Роль БРИКС в современных международных отношениях обсуждалась в АСУ) / Russia, June, 2017
Keywords: ASU, Youth_Assembly, Summer_Academy

Panel discussion on the role of BRICS in modern international relations has become one of the first events of the Summer Academy of BRICS Youth Assembly, which started on 23 June 2017 at flagship Altai State University.

Speakers of the event included experts of the Academy: counselor of the National Committee for BRICS Research Valeria O. Gorbacheva and consultant of PIR Center Adlan R. Margoyev. According to them, the topic for the panel discussion was chosen to be so broad on purpose in order to consider as many issues in different fields of BRICS activity as possible.

Thus, Valeria O. Gorbacheva dedicated her report to the role of BRICS in global management. She showed the audience figures and facts about the organization, touched upon the mechanisms and scenarios for its development, dwelled on the importance of political, economic and humanitarian cooperation between the five participating countries and the necessity of their dialogue with developing countries. In the course of the speech, the expert communicated with the audience actively and asked the participants a lot of questions. It is to be noted that the attendees demonstrated their knowledge and competence, as they were able to answer the majority of the questions.

Further the floor was turned to Adlan R. Margoyev. He drew the participants' attention to the problems of international safety. In particular, he elaborated on such areas as terrorism, cyber and informational security, atomic engineering, nuclear security and space. BRICS countries' initiatives towards international community regarding the solution to these problems attracted the participants' strong interest.
The 2nd Summer Academy of BRICS Youth Assembly started at ASU (Вторая Летняя Академия Молодежной Ассамблеи БРИКС стартовала в АГУ) / Russia, June, 2017
Keywords: ASU, Youth_Assembly, Summer_Academy

On 23 June 2017 flagship Altai State University hosted a ceremonial opening of the 2nd Summer Academy of BRICS Youth Assembly.

Over 100 representatives of active youth from 5 BRICS countries and 7 member countries of the Association of Asian Universities gathered at Altai State University in order to set up a common direction for work of major national youth organization of their countries and create international project teams for the purpose of realization of grand-scale youth projects.

BRICS countries are represented by the activists from Fortaleza, the state capital of Ceara, Brazil; Brasilia, the federal capital of Brazil; Pretoria, one of the three capitals in South Africa; New Delhi, the official capital of India; Noida, a city in India located 20 km away from New Delhi; specialists of All-China Youth Federation, the main Chinese youth organization located in Shanghai.

"One of the main objectives of the Summer Academy is establishment of BRICS Youth Assembly as a structure, which would coordinate the work of national youth organizations of BRICS countries. The outcome of the 1st Summer Academy that took place last year at ASU was the development of resolution, in which we noted the necessity for establishment of BRICS Youth Assembly. This organization has good prospects for work and we pointed out in resolution what resources we need for its creation and which organizations could join the assembly. We developed an action plan for creation of BRICS Youth Assembly, and the points of the plan are being approved on the level of diplomatic services and heads of the states. Particularly, this year we are going to discuss the draft regulation on BRICS Youth Assembly," representative of the Organization Committee, Head of the Department for Extracurricular and Educational Work Anton A. Tselevich specified.

The participants of the Summer Academy discuss BRICS as a unifying organization in the modern global policy, touch upon the issues of humanitarian, inter-parliamentary and cultural cooperation, attend trainings on intercultural dialogue and talk over the participation of BRICS countries' young people in the XIX World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi.

"The Academy has been initiated by National Council for Russian Youth and Children Associations with the participation of Altai State University for the second consecutive year. In this regard, I would like to express my gratitude to the classical university, Barnaul and Altai Krai for warm hospitality. The National Council pays special attention to collaboration in the framework of BRICS. Having realized the importance of the development of international youth cooperation and communication between young people in the framework of BRICS on the nongovernmental level, the National Council supported the idea of creation of the Association for integration of youth noncommercial organizations in BRICS countries. Such integration would encourage the development of cooperation between young people of our countries on an absolutely new level of quality," Vice Chairman of the National Council for Russian Youth and Children Associations Alexander D. Bolotnov emphasized.

On 24 June 2017 participants of the Summer Academy attended masterclass on the role of intercultural dialogue in the development of cooperation between BRICS countries and oratorical skills and presentation entitled "Russian Mechanisms of Grant Support of Nongovernmental Organizations and International Youth Cooperation Development".
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