Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 38.2020
2020.09.14 — 2020.09.20
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
BRICS stands for rules based on multilateralism: S. African official (БРИКС выступает за правила, основанные на многосторонности: официальный представитель Южной Африки) / China, September, 2020
Keywords: quotation, expert_opinion, cooperation

JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- BRICS stands for rules based on multilateralism and governance, South Africa's International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said here on Wednesday.

Pandor made the remarks while giving a lecture on the topic of "South Africa's place in the changing global order" at the Wits School of Governance on Wednesday evening.

She said BRICS is opposed to unilateralism, populism, regime change and protectionism but shares global governance.

"BRICS nations have shown unshakable confidence in and reinforce support for the rules-based international system and for multilateralism. We believe that BRICS is an important forum for global political, economic and financial partnership and for promotion for the world that is equitable, balanced and shaped on the important pillars of multilateralism and international law," said Pandor.

She said that BRICS represents potential powerful countries that could be a strong voice opposed to "unipolarity and unilateralism," adding that despite the drawback caused by COVID-19, they continue to work together as BRICS members.

"The BRICS parties have come together to act in concert against the pandemic and to provide support for each other during this difficult time. We are currently working on renewing BRICS economic partnership strategy in order to ensure that we secure greater cooperation in various economic sectors," Pandor said.

BRICS is an acronym for five major emerging countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which together represent about 42 percent of the global population, 23 percent of global GDP, 30 percent of world territory and 18 percent of global trade. Enditem

BRICS NSAs Discuss Anti-Terror Plan (НГБ БРИКС обсуждают план борьбы с терроризмом) / India, September, 2020
Keywords: national_security, terrorism, top_level_meeting

The national security advisers of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (Brics) grouping on Thursday discussed a draft anti-terrorism strategy that is expected to be approved at an upcoming summit.

The five NSAs, who joined a virtual meeting hosted by Russia, also discussed challenges and threats to global, regional and national security. Contrary to speculation, there were no bilateral discussions by the Indian and Chinese NSAs on the margins of the meeting against the backdrop of the border standoff.

"This was a virtual meeting and bilateral talks are not possible in this format," external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told a weekly news briefing.

A statement issued by the Russian side after the meeting said the five countries had prepared a draft anti-terrorism strategy that will be submitted for approval during the upcoming Brics summit.

The draft strategy reflects fundamental aspects of the Brics states, such as respect for sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs, adherence to international law and recognition of the UN's central role in security matters, the statement said.

The NSAs also discussed biological security cooperation and information and communications technology security, and there was a proposal to continue work on a system for countering security threats in the sphere of information.

The participants expressed concern over the escalation of tensions around Iran, Venezuela and Syria, according to the Russian statement. It added that the Brics states are cooperating within the framework of building a multi-polar system based on justice and equality.

There was no official word from the Indian side on the outcomes of the meeting, which was chaired by Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia's security council, and joined by Indian NSA Ajit Doval, Chinese NSA Yang Jiechi, Brazil's M Innosencio, and South Africa's minister of state security Ayanda Dlodlo.

The Russian side also criticised the deployment of weapons in space by the US and the use of outer space for military operations. It also proposed the creation of new mechanisms in the field of countering epidemiological threats and to conduct expert consultations on bio-safety in the Brics format. The five countries agreed to work on deepening coordination at key international organisations and forums, especially the UN.

Africa-BRICS Format Cooperation Has Great Potential - Russian Diplomat (Сотрудничество в формате Африка-БРИКС имеет большой потенциал - российский дипломат) / Pakistan, September, 2020
Keywords: quotation, cooperation

Russia is ready to cooperate with strategic partners in Africa, and Africa-BRICS format has great potential for that, Russian Ambassador-at-Large Oleg Ozerov, who serves as the head of the secretariat for the Russian-African partnership forum, told Sputnik.

"Competition is vital for people to run faster, work more effectively, decrease costs and boost productiveness. But that does not at all mean that we cannot and must not cooperate - especially with our strategic partners China and other states. We have a very good format and very good basis: it's the cooperation between the African continent and BRICS countries," the diplomat said.

Ozerov remarked that each BRICS country had its strength and the cooperation would prevail over the competition.

"Common projects exist and they are implemented - in particular, the New Development Bank, which is the bank of BRICS, opened its office in Johannesburg. Here you have the ground for the development of our partnership on the continent," Ozerov said.

BRICS should make greater contributions to safeguarding world peace and development: senior Chinese official (БРИКС должен вносить больший вклад в защиту мира и развития во всем мире: высокопоставленный китайский чиновник) / China, September, 2020
Keywords: quotation, national_security, sustainable_development

Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), on Thursday called for more collective efforts by five BRICS countries to further deepen strategic mutual trust, strengthen dialogue and cooperation with other emerging markets and developing countries, and make greater contributions to safeguarding world peace and development.

Yang, also director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, made the appeal at the 10th Meeting of the BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues via video link.

He pointed out that facing the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic, BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- have demonstrated their firm determination to unite and cooperate to tide over difficulties together.

BRICS countries need to consolidate the three pillar areas of cooperation, and translate important consensus of the leaders into real actions, Yang said.

In his remarks, Yang said the unilateralism, protectionism and bullying have seriously affected international relations and security order. BRICS countries should take the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations as an opportunity to firmly safeguard the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and jointly issue a strong BRICS voice of multilateralism.

BRICS countries should strengthen coordination on major international issues, oppose the Cold War thinking and ideological confrontation, and safeguard their common interests, as well as the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, Yang said, adding that BRICS countries should also strive to seek security through equality, development and cooperation, and jointly promote political settlement of hot issues.

In the meeting, all parties exchanged in-depth views on regional and international hot issues, bio-safety, anti-terrorism and cyber security. They agreed to continue supporting the World Health Organization in playing a leading role, and to strengthen BRICS countries' cooperation in bio-safety governance and vaccine research and development.

They also agreed to continue to work together to promote fruitful results at the BRICS Leaders Meeting later this year.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
BRICS Ministers of Communication discuss digital economy development and prospects for BRICS cooperation in ICTs (Министры связи БРИКС обсудили развитие цифровой экономики и перспективы сотрудничества БРИКС в сфере ИКТ) / Russia, September, 2020
Keywords: top_level_meeting, digital, economic_challenges

On 17 September, Maxim Parshin, Russian Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, chaired the 6th Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Communication via videoconference.

Heads of the relevant BRICS Line Agencies discussed the role of ICTs in overcoming the negative impact of COVID-19 on the BRICS countries, the development of digital governance and digital economy to achieve sustainable development goals, as well as prospects for BRICS cooperation in ICTs.

"Russia praises the role of BRICS in developing ICTs based on modern achievements in science and technology, which increases year by year. We will continue working actively to achieve excellent results," Maxim Parshin said.

According to BRICS representatives, enhancing people's confidence in the latest technologies and working conditions for the formation of a new safe digital world should become an important area of further work. In this regard, the meeting participants emphasized the need to improve the existing norms of international law in the field of ICT.

Maxim Parshin spoke about Russia's achievements in digital technology sphere. For example, over the past five years the export of Russian software has doubled. Russia has become one of the leaders of ICT development by a number of indicators while holding high positions in several relevant international indices.

In general, Russia is developing in accordance with the large-scale "Digital Economy" national programme adopted in 2017, which comprises of such cutting-edge high-tech spheres as development of artificial intelligence, the internet of things, 5G networks and quantum technologies. Information security and the protection of personal data issues are of particular importance.

Following the meeting, The Declaration of BRICS Ministers of Communication was approved.

"This document addresses all the most important areas of development of ICT sphere and digital economy in general," Deputy Minister Maxim Parshin concluded.

World of Work
BRICS National Security Advisors discuss topical issues of security cooperation (Советники БРИКС по национальной безопасности обсудили актуальные вопросы сотрудничества в сфере безопасности) / Russia, September, 2020
Keywords: national_security, cooperation, top_level_meeting

On 17 September, Mr Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, chaired the 10th Meeting of BRICS National Security Advisors via videoconference.

The meeting saw the presence of Manuel Innocêncio, Deputy Head of the Institutional Security Office of Brazil, Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of India, Yang Jiechi, Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China and Ayanda Dlodlo, Minister of State Security of the Republic of South Africa.

The participants had an in-depth exchange of views on the key issues on the global, regional and national security agendas, including strategic stability, biological security and healthcare, as well as security in the use of ICTs.

National Security Advisors also discussed the main areas of practical cooperation within BRICS on countering terrorism and extremism, transnational organised crime and illicit drug trafficking, as well sanitary and epidemiological control.

In this regard, they proposed to create a new mechanism for coordinating efforts in the field of countering epidemiological threats, as well as to hold expert consultations on biological security in the BRICS format.

There was also a proposal to continue working on a pentalateral agreement in order to create a comprehensive system for countering cyber threats.

The meeting demonstrated that the BRICS countries shared close or similar approaches to most of issues on the international agenda. They reaffirmed their commitment to the universal and recognised norms and principles of the international law and the UN Charter, and their willingness to enhance coordination within the key international organizations and forums, primarily at the UN. The meeting participants also noted that cooperation within BRICS is aimed at building a multipolar system of international relations based on the principles of justice and equality, abandoning the outdated practices of bloc diplomacy.

The BRICS National Security Advisors welcomed joint efforts on a draft BRICS Counter-Terrorism Strategy to be submitted for approval at the upcoming Summit.

The meeting participants praised the coordinating role of the World Health Organisation in combating the pandemic. They emphasised that as the virus spread around the globe the WHO acted within its mandate at all stages, based on the guidelines of its member states and available scientific data.

The participants highly appreciated Russia's BRICS Chairmanship in 2020under the theme "BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth", and acknowledged Russia's proactive efforts in three pillars: policy and security, economy and finance, as well as humanitarian and cultural ties.

The participants agreed to further expand their dialogue on security issues, enhance the exchange of information, to have close coordination of joint actions, including among special services and law enforcement agencies.

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