Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 37.2020
2020.09.07 — 2020.09.13
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
What Good Is the Russia-India-China Triangle for Moscow? (Чем хорош треугольник Россия-Индия-Китай для Москвы ?) / India, September, 2020
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues

India announced on August 30 that it will not participate in the Kavkaz-2020 military exercise to be held under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) — a Eurasian multilateral grouping led by China and Russia, which also has Pakistan as a member – in southern Russia. While the official reason New Delhi provided for this decision was difficulties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian sources have pointed out that the country decided to skip Kavkaz-2020 due to the participation of the Chinese military in the exercises. India and China are in the middle of a tense standoff since early May this year in eastern Ladakh.

India's decision to stay out of the Kavkaz-2020 once again brings to question why India decided to join the SCO – or why it has accorded notional importance to groupings like BRICS as well as the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral – in the first place even as it deepens its strategic relationship with the United States and allied powers in the Indo-Pacific.

Writing in The Diplomat in January this year, Krzysztof Iwanek assessed the costs and benefits of India's SCO membership. But what many fail to appreciate at a first glance is how contingent, historically speaking, arrangements such as the SCO, BRICS or RIC have been for Russia on its relationship with the West as it sought to first align itself with that bloc immediately after the end of the Cold War and then pivot away from it and rebrand itself as an Asian power.

In the Russian thinking about its role in the post-Cold War world, Moscow would emerge as an equal to the United States and be accorded commensurate importance. Building bridges with the West became a key project of Russian President Boris Yeltsin's first foreign minister, the liberal Andrei Kozyrev. Oddly enough, Russia's brief flirtation with liberalism did not extend to the world's largest democracy. As Rajan Menon writes of this period: "Russian leaders did not regard India as critical to their country's wider interests; they saw the United States, Europe, and China as the loci of economic and political power. The alignment with India seemed relic of the communist past."

For a variety of reasons best explained by Russia's status-seeking behavior, Moscow was to soon turn its back to the West and toward Asia, the calculation in the Kremlin being that such a reorientation would restore Russia's former position in the international system. A fundamentally key step in this direction was the visit by Yeltsin's second foreign minister, Yevgeny Primakov, to New Delhi in 1998 where he first floated the concept of the RIC to balance U.S. power while, in the backdrop, NATO continued to bomb Serbia without waiting for Moscow's nod. RIC would become the political nucleus for BRICS — a grouping that takes reforms of key multilateral institutions to reflect the interests of the non-western world as a key task — in due time. (Ironically enough, the very fact that Russia was proposing balancing coalitions such as RIC was, in effect, an implicit admission that Russia was no longer a great power which could take on American unilateralist impulses on its own.)

Following the Yeltsin years, despite Putin's early optimism about a possible entente with the West, he increasingly began to present his country as a leader of the "non-West." As early as June 2001, he was hedging his bets when it came to cultivating closer ties with the U.S. That month, the SCO was created, building on the Shanghai Five arrangement of 1996, with Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – as the sixth entrant — as founding members. India and Pakistan became full members of the grouping in 2017.

Together with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Putin's programmatic vision for a "non-West" with Russian leadership revolved around BRICS, RIC as well as the SCO. But suspicions between Russia and China, fueled by history as well as power asymmetries, never quite faded away from the scene. Therefore, the only way Moscow could advance its normative agenda of "multipolarity" by borrowing Chinese heft, so to speak, through alternative institutions and groupings was by bringing India in as a "balancing" force within them.

But as Stanislaw Skarzynski and Daniel Wong recently wrote in these pages, cracks in the Russia-China relationship are beginning to show and there is a small though distinct possibility that Moscow might seek to pivot back to the West. And this is where India could serve as a valuable link to the United States — and the Indian decision to persuade Russia to accept the Indo-Pacific construct finds its proper context. New Delhi is keenly aware of how Moscow's quest for status in the international system has, in the past, led it to instrumentally partner with China and how, because of the same reason, it can also jettison Beijing in the future.

Abhijnan Rej is Security & Defense Editor at The Diplomat.

The Diplomat

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of InfoBRICS.

Joint statement by the foreign ministers of the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, Moscow, September 11, 2020 (Совместное заявление министров иностранных дел Российской Федерации и Китайской Народной Республики, Москва, 11 сентября 2020 года) / Russia, September, 2020
Keywords: mofa, concluded_agreements, foreign_ministers_meeting

The Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, in the spirit of relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation that are entering a new era, and based on a common vision of the current international situation and key problems, urge the international community to promote cooperation, deepen understanding, stand up against new challenges and threats by collective efforts and facilitate global political stability and global economic recovery.

The sides have declared the following:

1. The modern world is undergoing a stage of deep transformation. The turbulence is growing stronger, and a blow has been dealt to economic globalisation and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The coronavirus epidemic has become the most serious global peacetime challenge.

The sides express their deep concern over the spread of false and inaccurate information against the backdrop of the novel coronavirus pandemic. It threatens the health and wellbeing of people, public safety, stability and order, and prevents nations from learning more about each other. In this context, Russia and China urge the governments of states, public organisations, the media and business circles to promote cooperation and jointly resist false information. Disseminated information and assessments must be based on facts and rule out interference in the internal affairs of other countries and unjustified attacks on their political systems and development paths.

The sides again declare their firm support for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its coordinating role in international efforts to counter epidemics, and support the deepening of international cooperation in this area and the accelerated development of medications and vaccines. They urge all countries to stop politicising the pandemic and pool efforts in order to overcome the coronavirus infection, jointly respond to various challenges and threats, and speed up the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

2. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the greatest tragedy in human history that claimed tens of millions of lives. The Soviet Union and China were hit the hardest by Nazism and militarism and bore the brunt of the burden of resisting the aggressors. At the price of enormous human losses, they stopped, routed and destroyed the occupiers, displaying unparalleled self-sacrifice and patriotism in this struggle. The new generations are deeply indebted to those who gave up their lives for the sake of freedom and independence, and the triumph of good, justice and humanity. Entering a new era, the current Russia-China relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation have a powerful, positive feature of true comradeship developed on the battlefields of World War II. It is a sacred duty of all humanity to preserve the historical truth about that war. Russia and China will jointly counter all attempts to falsify history, glorify the Nazis, militarists and their accomplices, and tarnish the victors. Our countries will not allow anyone to revise the results of World War II, which are fixed in the UN Charter and other international documents.

3. In the year of the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII and the establishment of the United Nations Organisation, Russia and China, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, reiterate their firm commitment to the principles of multilateralism; support the idea to hold a series of high-level meetings timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of founding the UN and the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII; call on the international community to jointly uphold the system of international relations, in which the UN plays a central role, and the international order based on the principles of international law; and reaffirm the positions outlined in the Declaration of the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China on increasing the role of international law dated June 25, 2016. China supports Russia's initiative to convene a meeting of the heads of state of permanent members of the UN Security Council. Russia and China will continue to resolutely uphold the goals and principles of the UN Charter, in particular, the principles of sovereign equality and non-interference in other states' internal affairs and to protect global peace and stability. The parties stand for justice in international affairs and reforming and improving the global governance system. They strongly reject unilateral actions and protectionism, the policy of force and bullying with regard to other states, and unilateral sanctions that are not supported by international legal foundations, as well as the extraterritorial application of national legislation.

4. We are facing major challenges in the field of international security, of which the UN Security Council is in charge. Outdated Cold War-era thinking, pitting major powers against each other, and the desire to ensure one's own security at the expense of the security of other states seriously undermine the basic principles of international relations, global and regional strategic stability and security. The parties note the importance of maintaining constructive interaction between major powers in order to resolve global strategic problems on an equal basis in the spirit of mutual respect. As permanent members of the UN Security Council and nuclear states, the parties play a special role in ensuring global strategic stability and will continue to deepen strategic mutual trust, to build up strategic interaction, and to jointly maintain global and regional strategic stability, in the spirit of the Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China on strengthening global strategic stability in the modern era, signed on June 5, 2019.

Russia and China call on all the states participating in treaties and agreements on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation to comply with all provisions of these treaties and agreements in full and to strictly follow the dispute resolution procedures outlined in them.

5. The sides will continue developing cooperation on promoting and protecting human rights and advancing the equal treatment of all categories of human rights in the UN human rights agencies. They will enhance their efforts in the areas to which the developing nations pay special attention: exercise of economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development. They are against politicising the international human rights agenda and using human rights issues as a pretext for interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign states.

6. The sides urge the international community to pool efforts in countering all forms and manifestations of terrorism and extremism. They consistently pursue a comprehensive policy on this issue, eliminating both the reasons and consequences of the problem and facilitating the formation of a united global anti-terrorism front, with the UN playing the central role. They prevent linking terrorism and extremism to specific states or religions, nationalities or civilisations, and oppose the use of double standards in anti-terrorism activities.

7. The sides urge the international community to pool efforts in countering the use of ICT for purposes incompatible with maintaining international and regional peace, security and stability. They oppose criminal and other terrorist activities involving the use of ICT. The sides stand for preventing interstate conflicts that may be triggered by the illegal use of ICT and again declare the UN's key role in countering the threats to international information security. In this context, they express support for the UN activities to elaborate the rules, norms and principles of the responsible conduct of states in the information space. They welcome the timely formation of the UN-sponsored first negotiating mechanism on this issue in line with UN General Assembly Resolution 73/27, in which all states can take part, notably, the open-ended working group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security. They also urge all states to take a constructive part in the work of the special intergovernmental committee of experts established under UN General Assembly Resolution 74/247 and emphasise the need to draw up, as soon as possible, a UN convention on countering the use of ICT for criminal purposes.

They also underscore common positions on internet governance, including the importance of ensuring equal rights of states to govern the global network, and emphasise the need to enhance the role of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in this context. The sides agreed to continue promoting bilateral cooperation based on the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the People's Republic of China on cooperation in ensuring international information security of May 8, 2015.

8. The parties are aware of the digital economy's comprehensive impact

on the socioeconomic development of the countries of the world and the global governance system. They believe that the safekeeping of the digital data affects national security, public interests and individual rights in each state, and call on all the countries to push, on the principles of universal participation, for drafting global rules governing the security of digital data that reflect the aspirations of all states and are based on respect for the interests of all stakeholders. Russia took note of the Global Initiative on Data Security advanced by China and welcomes China's efforts to improve global digital data security. The parties express their intention to build up cooperation in international information security both in a bilateral format and within the UN, BRICS, the SCO, ARF and other global and regional multilateral platforms.

The parties recognise the significant potential for developing digital economy, especially during the pandemic, and call on the international community to follow development trends, to encourage new methods of economic management, new production sites, new development models, and to jointly form an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for developing and using information technology, to pay attention to data security and cross-border flows, and to support global supply chains for information products and services.

9. The Parties are making every effort to maintain the leading role of the World Trade Organisation in trade liberalisation and coordination when drafting global trade rules and supporting the multilateral trading system, of which the WTO is the cornerstone. They call on the international community to improve coordination in macroeconomic policy, protect security and stability of global value chains, to encourage greater openness, inclusiveness, shared prosperity, balance and common benefit of economic globalisation, and to contribute to early recovery of the global economy.

10. The parties rate highly cooperation on topical regional issues, including those linked with Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and the Korean Peninsula. They emphasise that dialogue is the only effective way of resolving problems and are willing to continue taking part, on the basis of consensus, in multilateral consultations and dialogue platforms and facilitate the settlement of problems by political and diplomatic means.

11. Russia and China will continue their line of aligning plans for the development of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, contributing to the strengthening of regional connectivity and economic development in Eurasia. The parties reaffirm their commitment to parallel and coordinated promotion of the Greater Eurasian Partnership and the Belt and Road Initiative.

12. China enthusiastically supports the work carried out by Russia during its chairmanship of BRICS and the SCO, and will actively help Russia prepare a meeting of the BRICS heads of state and a meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council this year. The sides will continue strengthening contacts and coordination within the G20, APEC and other multilateral mechanisms with a view to enhancing their constructive role.

Joint Press Release of Russia-India-China Foreign Ministers, Moscow, September 10, 2020 (Об итогах встречи министров иностранных дел России, Индии и Китая) / Russia, September, 2020
Keywords: foreign_ministers_meeting, concluded_agreements

Foreign Minister of Russia Mr. Sergey Lavrov, External Affairs Minister of India Dr. S. Jaishankar and State Councillor/Foreign Minister of China Mr. Wang Yi met in Moscow on 10 September 2020.

The Ministers exchanged views on further strengthening of Russia-India-China trilateral cooperation as well as topical issues of international and regional importance, in the spirit of mutual understanding, friendship and trust. The Ministers noted that common development and cooperation of the three countries is conducive to promoting global growth, peace and stability.

Recalling their video-conference of 23 June 2020 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Second World War and the creation of the United Nations, the Ministers reiterated their support for inclusive multilateralism and respect for universally recognized principles of international law.

The Ministers noted with appreciation the continuation of joint activities held under the RIC framework, including the 2nd RIC DG-level Consultations on Regional Issues hosted by India in August 2019, 17th RIC Academic Exchange Conference hosted by China in September 2019, the 3rd edition of the RIC Young Diplomats Programme hosted by Russia in October 2019 and the first online meeting of national sanitary and epidemiological services held on 8 September 2020. The Ministers agreed that the three countries, with strong scientific and industrial capacities, could make a significant contribution towards mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The External Affairs Minister of India and the Foreign Minister of China thanked the Foreign Minister of Russia for the chairmanship of RIC and the meetings/conferences organized during the past one year. The Foreign Minister of Russia officially handed over the chairmanship of RIC to the External Affairs Minister of India.

BRICS Sherpas/Sous-Sherpas discuss implementation of this year's cooperation priorities and aspects of preparations for the 12th BRICS Summit (Шерпы / су-шерпы БРИКС обсудили реализацию приоритетов сотрудничества в этом году и аспекты подготовки к 12-му саммиту БРИКС) / Russia, September, 2020
Keywords: top_level_meeting, summit

On 11 September, Mr Sergey Ryabkov, Russian Sherpa in BRICS, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, chaired a Meeting of BRICS Sherpas/Sous-Sherpas via videoconference.

The meeting participants discussed topical issues of BRICS cooperation. They noted that despite the existing restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, progress has been achieved in all three pillars of BRICS Strategic Partnership: policy and security, economy and finance, and cultural and humanitarian contacts. They also discussed the implementation of cooperation priorities for this year as well as some aspects of the preparations for the 12th BRICS Summit.

Ms Natalya Stapran, Director of the Department for Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects at the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, briefed the meeting participants on the status of the finalization of the updated Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025, and presented Russia's initiatives to develop a new mechanism for the five countries' cooperation in securing sustainable economic development in the post-pandemic age.

BRICS Chief Justices discuss measures to support individuals and businesses (Главные судьи БРИКС обсудили меры поддержки физических и юридических лиц) / Russia, September, 2020
Keywords: top_level_meeting

On 8 September, the BRICS Chief Justices Forum took place via videoconference.

Mr Vyacheslav Lebedev, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of of the Russian Federation Mr Jose Antonio Dias Toffoli, Chief Justice and President of the Federal Supreme Court of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Sharad Arvind Bobde, Chief Justice of the Republic of India, Mr Zhou Qiang, Chief Justice, President of the Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China and Ms Sisi Khampepe, Justice of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of South Africa, among others, took part in the Forum.

"BRICS Chief Justices Forum promotes mutual understanding in administration of justice, building trust and cooperation, and enriching legal systems," said Mr Vyacheslav Lebedev in his welcoming remarks, "Interaction between Supreme Courts is becoming increasingly important in the face of new global challenges, including those related to the pandemic, which has impacted the judicial systems of our respective countries. Holding this Forum is possible because of the latest technologies that allow us to work remotely amidst a challenging sanitary and epidemiological situation."

The Meeting participants exchanged views on important issues of improving justice in the national jurisdictions. The experts discussed the protection of interests of economic actors through measures of administrative judicial procedure. Special attention was paid to consumer rights protection in the current economic environment caused by the global pandemic of the novel coronavirus infection.

Following the meeting, a Joint Statement was adopted, which reflects the priority of the development and the wide use of the latest digital technologies in courts to provide adequate and timely judicial protection of individual rights.

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
BRICS Deputy Finance Ministers discuss financial cooperation issues (Заместители министра финансов БРИКС обсудили вопросы финансового сотрудничества) / Russia, September, 2020
Keywords: top_level_meeting, economic_challenges

On 3 September 2020, a Meeting of BRICS Deputy Finance Ministers and Deputy Central Bank Governors as well as a Meeting of the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) Standing Committee took place via videoconference.

Ministry of Finance Issues: Deputy Finance Ministers discussed the initiative to establish a shared BRICS database on infrastructure projects and project initiatives, as well as the New Development Bank (NDB) membership expansion issue.

The meeting participants also exchanged views on the implementation of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) for low-income countries.

Central Bank Issues: The participants decided to continue improving the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement and working on the amendments to the BRICS Inter-Central Bank Agreement (ICBA). The five countries will continue working on the first issue of an analytical BRICS Economic Bulletin as part of the system enabling the Central Banks of the five BRICS countries to exchange macroeconomic data.

The meeting participants paid special attention to promoting deeper integration of the national payment systems, as well as creating cross-border payment infrastructure for the five countries. They discussed some aspects of creating BRICS Rapid Information Security Channel (BRISC)

The final meeting on the BRICS financial track – i.e. BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting is scheduled for October 2020.

World of Work
Russia is hosting the BRICS International School on October 5–10 (5–10 октября в России проходит Международная школа БРИКС) / Russia, September, 2020
Keywords: social_issues

Within the framework of the Russian BRICS Chairmanship in 2020, the BRICS International School and the Сontest for BRICS young leaders are merged to identify the most promising projects and research papers to enhance practical cooperation among youth from BRICS countries and beyond. Authors of the best projects and research papers will be invited to take part in the BRICS International School (online) on October 5–10, 2020. The final results of the Contest will be announced during the closing ceremony.

The BRICS International School is a unique scientific and educational program aimed at training young experts specializing in BRICS studies in political, economic, humanitarian fields and other relevant areas of interaction within the five countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Organizer — National Committee on BRICS Research, Russia.

Participants of the programme will be offered a range of specially developed comprehensive course by top Russian and international experts. The School will allow participants to broaden their professional horizons, develop communication skills, and study specifics of cooperation among the BRICS countries — their positions on the global arena, prospects of institutionalization of the BRICS format, goals and priorities of the grouping for the future.

Young diplomats, scientists, journalists, entrepreneurs, Bachelor's and Master's students as well as post-graduates from Russia, Brazil, India, China, South Africa, the CIS countries, Europe and Asia, aged from 18 to 35, are invited to join this programme.

Deadline for applications — September 25, 2020.

The events are held in partnership with the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC).

BRICS-Plus: A Basis for Global Governance in the Post-Pandemic World (БРИКС-Плюс: основа глобального управления в постпандемическом мире) / Russia, September, 2020
Keywords: social_issues, brics+, covid-19, expert_opinion

On September 8, an online presentation of a new Valdai Discussion Club report, titled "Anti-Crisis Impulses of BRICS-Plus: From BRICS Countries to Regional Partners" took place. In his opening remarks, the moderator of the discussion and a co-author of the report, Yaroslav Lissovolik, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club, emphasised the unprecedented situation in which the world economy currently finds itself due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the importance of regional factors in this context. The BRICS-Plus concept, developed by the Valdai Discussion Club in 2017, provides for cooperation not only between the BRICS countries, but also between the regional structures in which they are members. This, as Lissovolik believes, makes it very relevant now.

Pavel Chernyshev, Head of the Section of Multilateral Financial Cooperation at the Department of International Financial Relations of the Russian Ministry of Finance, noted that the Ministry is looking at the expansion of BRICS primarily from a practical point of view. According to him, there are two areas of cooperation which it considers most promising: the coordination of the interaction of regional financial mechanisms and in the use of development banks.

Artem Kalabukhov, First Secretary of the BRICS Section at the Department of Foreign Policy Planning of the Russian Foreign Ministry, described the state of affairs in the BRICS proper. He noted that in the current situation, the association can serve as a unique example of partnership and mutual support, and gave specific examples of interaction and mutual assistance. Speaking about BRICS-Plus, he called this format a model of inclusive, multi-level integration that can serve as a basis for global governance in the post-pandemic world.

A view from Argentina on the prospects for cooperation with BRICS was presented by Francisco de Santibañes, Director General at the Argentine Council on International Relations (CARI). He considers the coordination of countering crises at the interregional level to be one of the key aspects of BRICS activities. The lack of such coordination at the moment, in his opinion, is especially harmful to poorer countries. Separately, the Argentinean scholar emphasised the importance of cooperation between the BRICS-Plus countries in the field of digitalisation.

Ekaterina Arapova, Director of the Sanctions Policy Expertise Centre at the Institute of International Studies of MGIMO University and a co-author of the report, spoke about three possible models of cooperation within the BRICS-Plus, which imply the BRICS mechanisms maintained by other countries: coordination at the level of regional stabilisation mechanisms and reserve funds; consolidation of financial resources at the level of regional development banks; and synchronization of agendas at the level of the five main regional blocks. Turning to specifics, she pointed to the importance of expanding membership in the BRICS New Development Bank and the possibility of turning BRICS-Plus into an international platform for the development of e-commerce and digital governance.

Cyril Prinsloo, a researcher on economic diplomacy at the South African Institute of International Affairs, raised the issue of developing countries' access to resources and of the creeping "nationalisation" of production chains as part of the coronavirus crisis. In this aspect, regional integration blocs and mechanisms of cooperation between them are of particular importance. He also paid special attention to the development of a multilateral approach and interregional cooperation.

Anti-Crisis Impulses of BRICS-Plus: From BRICS Countries to Regional Partners (Антикризисные импульсы БРИКС-Плюс: от стран БРИКС к региональным партнерам) / Russia, September, 2020
Keywords: expert_opinion, research, brics+

MOSCOW, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- The BRICS countries and their partners can work together to better deal with global crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released Tuesday by Russian think tank the Valdai Discussion Club.

Cooperation for an effective response to new challenges should proceed at regional, trans-regional and global levels, according to a report titled "Anti-crisis Impulses of BRICS+: From BRICS Countries to Regional Partners."

"In this regard, new forms of trans-regionalization, such as the BRICS+ and the idea of 'integration of integrations' within the developing world, become especially promising," it read.

According to the report, the current COVID-19 crisis has indicated the importance of regional factors in containing the pandemic.

"The new multilateral platform, which brings together BRICS-led integration blocs, will potentially contribute to enhancing the cooperation among developing countries as well as consolidating economic integration efforts and financial resources for sustainable growth and better resilience to unexpected shocks," it said.
BRICS countries discuss affordable housing and urban environment (Страны БРИКС обсуждают доступное жилье и городскую среду) / Russia, September, 2020
Keywords: social_issues

On 9-10 September, the Traditional BRICS Urbanization Forum was held online. Experts discussed best practices, key issues and areas of urban development such as smart technologies, transport infrastructure development, an integrated approach to territorial development, investment raising and prospects for the housing and utilities sector transformation.

Maxim Yegorov, Russian Deputy Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities, Durga Shanker Mishra, Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary of India, Huang Yan, Vice-Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of China, and Carla Carneiro, Head of the International Relations office at the Ministry of Regional Development of Brazil were among the speakers at the plenary session of the Forum.

Representatives of various Line Agencies and major businesses, as well as experts in urban studies, construction, transport, town planning, and digitalization from the five countries were also invited to join the discussion.

"We, like many other countries, are only at the beginning of the way to smart cities, but even now, Russian cities have something to show. Russia has impressive human resources in science, a solid headstart in creating the most advanced technological solutions, and we are ready to continue mutually beneficial international cooperation with the BRICS countries to exchange experience and introduce advanced technologies and solutions," Maxim Yegorov said.

The Deputy Minister shared Russia's experience in urban development and also spoke about the national projects such as road construction, the residents' relocation from dilapidated and dangerous housing, approaches to the creation of urban environment, as well as the experience of involving public in discussing the urban development agenda.

Durga Shanker Mishra said India sees urbanization as an opportunity to promote rapid economic growth and increase people's wealth. The country is currently implementing a number of major programmes related to urbanization, such as building affordable housing, introducing innovative construction technologies, developing public transport and creating smart cities with an emphasis on convenience, the Internet of Things and climate resilience.

China is showing a rapid growth in urban population: in 2011, the level of urbanisation exceeded 50 percent, and in 2019, for the first time, it grew over 60 percent, Huang Yan said. This means that every year, China actually gets one more city the size of Shenzhen, so urbanization should rely on support for housing constriction, including social housing, education, medicine, and sports – all areas that improve the quality of life. Responding to the challenge to the public administration system, China, in its human development policies, prioritises human needs, improving the urban environment, landscaping and environmental protection to preserve people's connection with nature.

According to Carla Carneiro, one of the main challenges for Brazil is providing housing for the poor and others whose homes do not meet the standards of quality structures. Brazil's priorities in urban development are in compliance with sanitary standards, access to water supply – as a high proportion of the population does not have access to clean water – public safety, transport development and environmental issues. Another challenge is ensuring proper urban mobility, because not all people live close to their work or the schools their children go to.

All countries face the same problems: ensuring people's access to clean water, the need to relocate residents from dilapidated and dangerous housing on a large scale, and to take into account numerous factors and interests of different groups when formulating programmes for integrated territorial development. Therefore, the exchange of best practices is really interesting for everyone and will help find the most suitable solutions for each country, Maxim Yegorov concluded.

Civil Forum to present recommendations to the BRICS Leaders (Гражданский форум представит рекомендации лидерам БРИКС) / Russia, September, 2020
Keywords: social_issues, sustainable_development

The BRICS Civil Forum within the framework of the Russian BRICS Chairmanship is scheduled for 23-25 September 2020.

Civil BRICS as an official process was launched at the initiative of the Russian BRICS Chairmanship in 2015.

Its mission is to put public priorities on the BRICS agenda as well as to present civil initiatives to be included into the Civil Forum Recommendations to the Leaders of BRICS countries. The BRICS civil society proposals provide the Leaders with an opportunity to look at the current development issues taking public interest into account.

«The priorities of the Russian Chairmanship are constantly aimed at strengthening the multilateral dialogue and promoting the common interest of the BRICS nations within different international fora. The development of cooperation in political, trade, economic and financial spheres is traditional to the BRICS agenda, but the ultimate goal of all the initiatives is the well-being of every citizen. Achieving well-being is the subject of not only political or expert discussions, but public as well. That is why the BRICS working mechanisms includes such interactions as Expert and Business Councils; Academic, Trade unions, Youth and Media Forums. One of them is the Civil BRICS Forum, which is a traditional and effective mechanism for cooperation in the humanitarian and cultural areas» - says Victoria Panova, Co-chair of Civil BRICS Forum, Managing Director of the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research, Scientific Supervisor of the BRICS Russian Organizing Committee Expert Council, Vice President for International Relations of Far Eastern Federal University.

Preparing for the Civil BRICS Forum 2020, a series of round tables was held with the participation of Russian and foreign representatives of BRICS civil societies. Within the consultations civil experts addressed following areas of cooperation: public health and healthcare issues in pandemic, issues of digitalization, social equality, people-to-people exchanges, environment and climate change, green energy development, civil rights and freedoms, as well as the role of education and science in human development and best practices in urban and rural development in the post-COVID era.

The BRICS Civil Forum Recommendations to the BRICS Leaders are currently being formulated.

Detailed information about the Civil BRICS Forum is available on the official website

Russia to host the BRICS International School and the Сontest for BRICS Young Leaders on October 5-10 (5-10 октября в России пройдет Международная школа БРИКС и Конкурс молодых лидеров БРИКС) / Russia, September, 2020
Keywords: social_issues

Within the framework of the Russian BRICS Chairmanship in 2020, the BRICS International School and the Сontest for BRICS young leaders are merged to identify the most promising projects and research papers to enhance practical cooperation among youth from BRICS countries and beyond. Authors of the best projects and research papers will be invited to take part in the BRICS International School (online) on October 5-10, 2020. The final results of the Contest will be announced during the closing ceremony.

The BRICS International School is a unique scientific and educational program aimed at training young experts specializing in BRICS studies in political, economic, humanitarian fields and other relevant areas of interaction within the five countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Organizer – National Committee on BRICS Research, Russia.

Participants of the programme will be offered a range of specially developed comprehensive course by top Russian and international experts. The School will allow participants to broaden their professional horizons, develop communication skills, and study specifics of cooperation among the BRICS countries – their positions on the global arena, prospects of institutionalization of the BRICS format, goals and priorities of the grouping for the future.

Young diplomats, scientists, journalists, entrepreneurs, Bachelor's and Master's students as well as post-graduates from Russia, Brazil, India, China, South Africa, the CIS countries, Europe and Asia, aged from 18 to 35, are invited to join this programme.

Deadline for applications – September 25, 2020.

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