Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 47.2020
2020.11.16 — 2020.11.22
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Xi proposes BRICS solutions for combating COVID-19, reviving world economy (Си предлагает решения БРИКС по борьбе с COVID-19, возрождая мировую экономику) / China, November, 2020
Keywords: xi_jinping, summit, speech

BEIJING — President Xi Jinping called on BRICS countries to uphold multilateralism and work in solidarity to overcome global challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic and a virus-hit world economy.

Addressing the 12th BRICS summit via video link in Beijing on Nov 17, Xi took swipes at the rising protectionism, unilateralism and acts of bullying, as well as stigmatization and scapegoating amid the pandemic.

Proposing solutions for reviving the economy, including low-carbon development, Xi said the world can count on China to keep its promise of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.

The virtual summit of the emerging-market bloc that groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was convened as COVID-19 continues to rage across the globe, sickening 55 million people worldwide, killing 1.3 million and battering the world economy.

According to a prediction by the International Monetary Fund, the world economy will shrink by 4.4 percent this year, and emerging markets and developing countries will experience negative growth for the first time in 60 years.

The BRICS countries are home to over 40 percent of the world population and about one-fourth of the world economy.

President Xi Jinping attends the 12th BRICS summit via video link in Beijing, capital of China, Nov 17, 2020. Xi delivered an important speech at the summit. [Photo/Xinhua] MULTILATERALISM FOR PEACE, STABILITY

Xi enumerated a series of challenges the world is facing, including the pandemic, shrinking international trade and investment, a global recession, unilateralism, protectionism, acts of bullying and widening deficit in governance, trust, development, and peace.

"Despite all this, we remain convinced that the theme of our times — peace and development — has not changed, and that the trend toward multipolarity and economic globalization cannot be turned around," he said.

"History teaches us that multilateralism, equity and justice can keep war and conflict at bay, while unilateralism and power politics will inflate dispute and confrontation," Xi said.

"Flouting rules and laws, treading the path of unilateralism and bullying, and withdrawing from international organizations and agreements run counter to the will of the general public and trample on the legitimate rights and dignity of all nations," he said.

Xi called on the BRICS countries to hold high the banner of multilateralism, endeavour to safeguard the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law.

The BRICS countries need to champion the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, Xi said, urging the bloc to oppose interference in others' internal affairs, as well as unilateral sanctions and "long-arm jurisdiction."


Noting that the coronavirus is still causing havoc in many places, Xi warned that securing a worldwide victory against the pandemic remains an "uphill journey."

Xi stressed the imperative to step up international coordination and response and support the World Health Organization's crucial leadership role in this endeavor.

Chinese companies are working with their Russian and Brazilian partners on phase-three clinical trials of vaccines, and China is prepared to cooperate with South Africa and India as well. China has joined the COVAX facility and will actively consider providing vaccines to BRICS countries where there is a need, Xi said.

To support the development of a BRICS vaccine R&D center, China has designated its own national center and will work with other BRICS countries both online and offline to advance collective vaccine research and trials, set up plants, authorize production and recognize each other's standards, he added.

Xi also proposed convening a BRICS symposium on traditional medicine to explore its role in coronavirus prevention and treatment.

Acts of politicization, stigmatization, blame-shifting and scapegoating only serve to disrupt overall global cooperation against the virus, Xi said, urging unity and reason to stamp out the "political virus."


To tackle the "pressing task" to stabilize the economy while controlling the pandemic, BRICS countries need to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, follow through on the initiative on facilitating the cross-border flow of people and goods, and keep industrial and supply chains safe and open to better enable the resumption of business activities and economic recovery, Xi said.

"The practice of using the pandemic to pursue 'de-globalization' or clamor for 'economic decoupling' and 'parallel systems' will end up hurting one's own interests and the common interests of all," he warned.

Xi stressed the need to stand firm for building an open world economy and reject abuse of the "national security" concept for protectionist purposes.

Xi said China will work with other parties to flesh out the BRICS partnership on the new industrial revolution at a faster pace, citing upcoming measures including the launch of an innovation center in Xiamen, Fujian province for such partnership.

China will be more vigorous in integrating with the global market and will take greater initiative in deepening international cooperation. In so doing, China will create more opportunities and space for global recovery and growth, he added.

Xi said the world can "count on China" to keep its promise of peaking carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.

Why the BRICS Grouping Is Here to Stay (Почему Группа БРИКС никуда не денется) / China, November, 2020
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues, summit

In what has become a yearly ritual, columnists in Western newspapers used this week's BRICS' Leaders Summits to question the grouping's existence and predict or recommend its demise. In the Wall Street Journal, Sadanand Dhume argued last month that "the five-member club makes less sense than ever" and recommended that, "instead of building up Brics, India should help dismantle it."

These same arguments have existed for nearly a decade. Just like in 2011, when the Financial Times' Philipp Stevens announced that it was "time to bid farewell to BRICS," writers point to the many differences between the five member countries, contrasting China's and Russia's authoritarian political systems with democracy in Brazil, India, and South Africa, and pointing to conflicting geopolitical interests and fundamentally different economic realities.

And yet, the BRICS countries stubbornly hold not only yearly presidential summits, but also regular consultations between foreign ministers and national security advisors, along with countless yearly meetings in other areas, including public health, agriculture, and education. Most remarkably, even the election of Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right populist who admires the United States and frequently attacks China, as president of Brazil has not noticeably altered the group's commitment to continuing its process of slow institutionalization.

During the past years, BRICS summits have seen their fair share of tensions, to be sure. During the grouping's 11th Leaders Summit in Brazil last year, Bolsonaro canceled the BRICS outreach, a parallel summit where regional leaders are invited by the host to meet with BRICS presidents, after the Brazilian president had insisted on inviting Venezuela's Juan Guaidó, whom none of the other BRICS countries recognize as president. The situation was privately criticized by diplomats from other BRICS member countries, given that their respective presidents would have liked to use the opportunity of meeting up with presidents from across Latin America – and yet, no president considered cancelling the trip halfway around the world. In the same way, frequent and growing geopolitical tensions between China and India trouble their bilateral relationship, but have not led to the group's demise. Perhaps most importantly, in 2014 the grouping created the New Development Bank, and the bank is currently preparing to accept new members – most likely Uruguay, the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines – thus expanding its global footprint.

First of all, critics, especially in the West, tend to blow the differences between BRICS countries out of proportion or overlook what unites the five member countries. Commentators frequently point to profound differences between BRICS countries on issues such as U.N. Security Council reform, supported by India, Brazil and South Africa, but rejected by Russia and China. Yet few question the usefulness of the EU, NATO, or the G-7 despite equally frequent internal disagreements – Germany, for example, is part of the G-4 and supports reforming the U.N. Security Council, while Italy opposes the grouping. In the same way, there are numerous examples of democracies working with non-democracies being part of the same club – just think of NATO and Turkey, which saw its democracy flounder numerous times since becoming a member.

More importantly, most pundits overlook that, despite different political systems, economic characteristics, and geopolitical rivalries, the BRICS members share a profound skepticism of the U.S.-led international liberal order and the perceived danger unipolarity represents to their interests. This commitment often trumps other aspects often seen as more important from a Western perspective. The crisis in Venezuela offers a useful example: Despite Bolsonaro's anti-socialist convictions and decision to no longer recognize Nicholas Maduro as president, the Brazilian government ended up siding with the Venezuelan dictator in rejecting the United States' rhetoric about a potential military intervention, which, Latin American leaders feared, was setting a dangerous precedent. A similar dynamic became apparent in 2014, when the BRICS countries refused to criticize Russia's President Vladimir Putin after the annexation of Crimea, widely seen as a flagrant violation of international law. Despite the BRICS countries' strong commitment to non-intervention and the defense of sovereignty, they considered the United States' forceful response – including sanctions and pressure on others to diplomatically isolate Russia – as a symbol of a unipolar order that the BRICS are seeking to overcome.

It was thus no coincidence that three of the five most prominent leaders who have so far chosen not to congratulate U.S. President-elect Joe Biden are BRICS members. While the governments of Brazil's Bolsonaro and Russia's Putin have not commented on the election at all, China's Xi Jinping decided to delegate the task to Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin. Their reaction to Trump's defeat is no coincidence. While the current U.S. president attacked the liberal international order the United States had helped create, and favored a world shaped by great powers and spheres of influence, Biden symbolizes, from the BRICS' perspectives, a return to the pre-Trump world, as the recent article "Why America Must Lead Again" in the magazine Foreign Affairs attests.

In addition, the economic rationale for keeping the BRICS grouping alive remains sound. Over the past two decades, trade and investment among the five member countries skyrocketed, even though it is still largely limited to each member countries' ties to China. Given growing economic dependence across the grouping on Chinese demand and investment, voluntarily rejecting the possibility for cabinet members and hundreds of bureaucrats to engage their Chinese counterparts sounds implausible – particularly given that mutual knowledge among BRICS members, particularly between Brazil, South Africa, and the group's Asian members, is still very limited.

BRICS meetings can also stabilize bilateral ties. For example, the yearly meetings between high-ranking government ministers and pre-scheduled facetime with Xi provided a welcome excuse for Bolsonaro to tone down his anti-China rhetoric and adopt a more pragmatic approach as the 11th BRICS Summit was approaching. In an increasingly China-centric world, actively dismantling the BRICS grouping would seem like a diplomatic own goal, particularly for South Africa and Brazil, who are still struggling to adapt to a post-Western world.

Finally, not only is the cost of BRICS membership limited, but the diplomatic benefits it generates remain significant. For Bolsonaro, for example, hosting Xi, Putin, India's Narendra Modi and South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa last year will stand out as the most important diplomatic event of his presidency, allowing him to look statesman-like. Particularly now that Bolsonaro faces growing diplomatic isolation in the West over Brazil's environmental record, the BRICS serve as all-weather friends who would never openly criticize Brazil's internal matters. In the same way, it is often forgotten that the BRICS allowed Putin to host pompous summits with numerous international leaders at a time when the West actively sought to isolate Russia's president.

Even as the 12th BRICS Summit generated very little international visibility – in part because it took place virtually, and in part because it was eclipsed by other events such as the US elections – member countries are very unlikely to heed the often-voiced advice to dismantle the BRICS grouping.
Contradictions Grow Amid Another BRICS Summit (Противоречия нарастают на фоне очередного саммита БРИКС) / India, November, 2020
Keywords: political_issues, summit, expert_opinion

BRICS, the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa grouping, met virtually on November 17 for its 12th summit meeting. Prior to the meeting, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) released a statement saying that the meeting would discuss intra-BRICS cooperation around counterterrorism, energy, trade, health, and ways to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of the five leaders stressed various aspects of cooperation in the face of the pandemic and the resultant economic slowdown.

Chinese President Xi Jinping talked about "global epidemiological security" and said that "the BRICS countries firmly believe in the primacy of international law" and considered the World Health Organization to be the leading institution in addressing the pandemic. He added that once the pandemic is taken care of, focus must shift to economic recovery. Here, he argued "China can once again lead the way." Citing how China's "economy already bounced back from its low point earlier this year," he said, "its new development paradigm of dual circulation where domestic and international circulation mutually reinforce one another will help stimulate the global economy" as well as "repair the damage done by some countries' protectionist policies." He concluded by saying that there will be "hiccups along the way" but "the trust-based relations between the BRICS countries could serve as a very stabilizing factor during this unprecedented transition in global political and economic affairs as the world begins to embrace new models."

Xi's statements on the primacy of international law and trust-based relations within BRICS are bound to be taken with more than a little skepticism given China's punitive economic actions against many of its neighbors and even partners further away. Such statements from China are not new. At the BRICS Foreign Ministers meeting last week, Wang Yi, China's foreign minister, said that the BRICS countries should come together in addressing the challenges of the pandemic and global economic recovery, and foster multilateralism and seek "political settlement of hot-spot issues."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the reform process that has been initiated by his government to get the economy back on track. Modi highlighted the need for reform of multilateral institutions such as the IMF, WHO and WTO, but his particular emphasis was on terrorism, which he characterized as "the biggest problem today." Modi said that the group must ensure that "countries that support and help terrorists are also held to account."

It is doubtful that the other members of BRICS necessarily share India's view of the terrorism problem, but that is not the sole difficulty. The BRICS summit is also taking place at a time when India and China have squared off at their border, a temporary line called the Line of Actual Control (LAC). BRICS, as a multilateral platform, cannot address bilateral issues and hence, it was, understandably, not expected to address that particular issue. And given that the summit was held virtually, the possibility of informal bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit was nonexistent.

The group itself has always been diverse in terms of economic, political, and security interests. These have only grown over the last two decades as Abhijnan Rej highlighted recently. China has emerged as the world's second largest economy, while Brazil, Russia, and South Africa are nowhere near the indicators that brought them into the grouping initially.

Politically, too, the group is diverse, with few common political interests other than singing the song of multilateralism. Even that rhetoric may not hold for long given the yawning gap between China's rhetoric of multilateralism and its unilateral aggressive behavior on the ground.

China and Russia have an anti-American political goal for the grouping, which sits very uneasily with Indian interests, considering India has invested significantly in building and nurturing its bilateral ties with the United States as well as engaging in strategic minilaterals such as the Quad and various trilaterals in the Indo-Pacific.

That India works with China in the BRICS format, when the aim of India's Quad and other such minilaterals are to restrict and restrain China's aggressive and bullying behavior, adds to the growing array of contradictions. Certainly, BRICS cannot be a military and security grouping given the significant differences between each of the players, most notably between India, China, and Russia. The success of groupings such as BRICS will depend on the health of bilateral ties among those within the group. India-China relations in the backdrop of the Galwan conflict do not suggest that all is well on the bilateral front or even in the regional context.

India's aim in engaging with BRICS may be an effort to demonstrate that it retains strategic autonomy and that it engages with all major powers irrespective of these incongruences. In this respect, it may serve a limited domestic political agenda. But as contradictions keep piling up, questions about the future of BRICS as anything other than an ineffective talkshop are bound to grow.
China says to put major efforts in domestic market, while actively seeking out overseas opportunities (Китай заявляет, что прилагает большие усилия на внутреннем рынке, активно ища возможности за рубежом) / China, November, 2020
Keywords: xi_jinping, economic_challenges, quotation

In a world rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic and escalating tensions with the United States, China has got itself well prepared — with a new economic model called "dual circulation" that is expected to shape the country's blueprint for the next five years.

The new pattern, "dual circulation", also known as "double development dynamic," refers to the two economic circles: trade at home and abroad, but this time with greater emphasis on domestic market. Hyping discussions immediately prompt suggestions that the Chinese economy would "turn inward," as it is argued that focusing on trade at home means "closing doors" to the outside world.

Yet to Beijing, opening its door wide seems like a long-term plan that it's not looking to give up. On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the 12th BRICS summit that China will more "actively integrate into the global market". Instead of shutting its door to opening-up, China will embrace the world with more open arms, President Xi noted.

BRICS is the acronym for an emerging-market bloc that groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Tuesday's meeting was hosted by Russia, which holds the rotating BRICS presidency this year.

China will redouble its efforts to expand domestic demand, deepen reform in all aspects, and promote innovation in science and technology to add impetus to its economic growth, he added.

"The strengthening of internal circulation has no contradiction with China's policy of opening-up," commented Prof. Gao Liankui of EU Business School in an opinion piece for the Global Times. "The new development pattern ... was rolled out based on the objective development of the Chinese economy, which has seen industrial upgrading and an expansion of the domestic market."

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the 12th BRICS summit via video link in Beijing, capital of China, November 17, 2020. /Xinhua

"Along with technological development, an economic entity will see its comparative advantages change, leading to a certain degree of import substitution. It's not China's unique path," Prof. Gao said in the piece.

Also at the BRICS meeting, President Xi highlighted the need for international solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus. "We need to overcome differences and prejudice with unity and rationality and forge the greatest synergy in the battle against the virus," he said.

China's carbon neutrality commitment

Also at the BRICS meeting, Xi doubled down on the country's commitment to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. That goal, according to experts, would require Beijing to achieve near-zero emissions by 2050.

China will scale up its nationally determined contributions and strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, he vowed, "You can count on China to keep its promise."

"To achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 requires a huge transformation in all aspects of the social, economic, energy, and technological systems," He Jiankun, vice chairperson of the National Committee of Experts on Climate Change, told Xinhua, meaning new energy and renewable energy will be topped as the mainstay.

Official data shows that China's emissions of carbon dioxide in 2018 were 45.8 percent lower than that of 2005, which means that the country had met its emission reduction target two years ahead of schedule.

In addition, the government has sorted out ways to promote "green development". China has promoted carbon emissions trading in seven of its provinces and cities — including Beijing and Shanghai — since 2011 to explore market-based mechanisms to control greenhouse gas emissions.

China is ready to fulfill its due international responsibilities commensurate with its level of development, Xi said at the Tuesday meeting.

Building BRICS partnership on new industrial revolution

With respect to the BRICS partnership, Xi pointed out that China is willing to work with other BRICS members to accelerate building a BRICS partnership on the new industrial revolution.

Specifically, China will set up an innovation center for such a partnership in the city of Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, the Chinese president announced at the meeting. The innovation center will facilitate cooperation in fields including policy coordination, personnel training and project development, according to President Xi.

Established in 2009, the BRICS group was set up to establish an equitable, democratic and multi-polar world order, while helping to shape a stable, predictable and more diversified international monetary system.

"BRICS serves as an antidote to the G7 and other U.S.-dominated institutions," pointed out London based political commentator Freddie Reidy. "This (its establishment) was interpreted as the need to find a new global reserve currency, consequently leading to an immediate slide in value of the dollar, demonstrating the considerable influence of the group."

President Xi also called on BRICS countries to hold the banner of multilateralism high, safeguard the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the international order underpinned by international law.

People's welfare should always be kept close to heart, he stressed in his speech, also urging the bloc to pursue the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind.

At present, the world is caught between the most serious pandemic in the past century and momentous changes never seen in the last one hundred years, Xi said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic that has plunged the world into the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

"Despite all this, we remain convinced that the theme of our times — peace and development — has not changed, and that the trend toward multipolarity and economic globalization cannot be turned around," he said.
XII BRICS Summit Moscow Declaration (Московская декларация XII саммита БРИКС) / Russia, November, 2020
Keywords: summit, off_docs, concluded_agreements


1. We, the Leaders of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa held the XII BRICS Summit under the theme "BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth" on 17 November 2020.

2. We commend with satisfaction that in 2020 under the Russian Chairmanship, despite the backdrop of current adverse global challenges, BRICS maintained the momentum and continuity of its activities, aimed to produce concrete results for the benefit of citizens. We acknowledge the determined efforts of the Russian Federation to ensure the advancement of the BRICS strategic partnership in the three pillars of policy and security, economy and finance, culture and people-to-people exchanges and note the outcomes of over one hundred events held in-person and via videoconferencing (Annex II) that fostered further progress in our mutually beneficial and pragmatic cooperation (Annex I).

United for a Better World

3. We recall that 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. In this regard, we will always remember the many contributions made by all BRICS countries, including loss of lives of soldiers and civilians. We reinforce our commitment to a world of peace, stability and prosperity, mutual respect and equality, and to upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations as its indispensable cornerstone, and to the central role of the United Nations in an international system in which sovereign States cooperate to maintain peace and security, advance sustainable development, ensure the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all with the aim to build a brighter shared future for the international community based on mutually beneficial cooperation.

4. We recognize the Victory in the Second World War as our common legacy and pay tribute to all those who fought against fascism, tyranny and militarism, colonialism and for liberation of the colonized, for freedom of nations, and stress the importance of preservation and inadmissibility of desecration or destruction of monuments erected in their remembrance. We recall that, born out of the horrors of the Second World War, the United Nations, as a common endeavor for humanity, was established to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war and since then has helped to shape the very structure of relations between nations in the modern age. We further urge for a resolute stand against the rehabilitation of Nazi ideology, racism, xenophobia, colonialism and the distortion of history.

5. We call the international community to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations by enhanced efforts to establish a more fair, just, inclusive, equitable and representative multipolar international system, based on sovereign equality of all States, respect for their territorial integrity and mutual respect for interests and concerns of all. We reaffirm the principles of non-intervention in the internal affairs of States and the resolution of international disputes by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law as well as the inadmissibility of the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations. We stress further the imperative of refraining from any coercive measures not based on international law and the UN Charter.

6. We reaffirm our commitment to multilateralism and the principles of mutual respect, sovereign equality, democracy, inclusiveness, and strengthened collaboration. We will continue working towards strengthening and reforming international governance so that it is more inclusive, representative, democratic with meaningful and greater participation of developing countries in international decision-making and better attuned to the contemporary realities. We acknowledge that current interconnected international challenges should be addressed by strengthened international cooperation in the interest of both nations and peoples through reinvigorated and reformed multilateral system, including the UN, the WTO, the WHO, the IMF and other international organizations. We underline, in this regard, the imperative that international organizations be fully driven by Member States and promote the interest of all.

7. We congratulate India on its election as a member of the UN Security Council for the term 2021–2022 and commend South Africa for its contribution as a UN Security Council member in 2019–2020. We also recognize the candidacy of Brazil as a UNSC member for the biennium 2022–2023. It will be an opportunity to enhance further BRICS countries dialogue on issues on the UN Security Council agenda and for continued cooperation of BRICS countries in areas of mutual interest, including through regular exchanges amongst their Permanent Missions to the United Nations and in other international fora.

8. We recognize the UNGA resolution 75/1 adopted on 21 September 2020 and reiterate the call for reforms of the principal organs of the United Nations. We commit to instill new life into discussions on reform of the UN Security Council and continue the work to revitalize the General Assembly and strengthen the Economic and Social Council.

9. We recall the 2005 World Summit Outcome document and reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges.

10. We reiterate the imperative of strengthening international cooperation with a view to increasing individual and shared capacities to jointly address emerging world-wide threats, including the COVID-19 pandemic and its adverse impacts, in an efficient, pragmatic, coordinated and prompt manner. We stress the value of cooperation among States needed to urgently restore international trust, economic growth and trade, strengthen markets stability and resilience, preserve jobs and income, in particular for the most vulnerable groups of society.

11. We express our solidarity with all people and countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences along with our deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims of the pandemic and all those whose lives and livelihoods have been affected. We also extend our sincere gratitude to all health workers, doctors, nurses and personnel of infectious and other hospitals, polyclinics, dispensaries, ambulances, researchers, who do their professional duty in dangerous and difficult conditions and, risking their health, help other people.

12. We recognize the role of extensive immunization against COVID-19 in preventing, containing and stopping transmission in order to bring the pandemic to an end, once safe, quality, efficacious, effective, accessible and affordable vaccines are available. We acknowledge initiatives by the WHO, governments, non-profit organisations, research institutes and the pharmaceutical industry to expedite the research, development and production of the COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutics, and support cooperative approaches in this regard. We will work to ensure that, when available, it is disseminated in a fair, equitable and affordable basis. In this regard we support the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative.

Policy and Security

13. We note that despite COVID-19 pandemic limitations intense BRICS dialogue has continued on topical policy, peace and security issues in relevant intra-BRICS mechanisms. We welcome the Stand-alone Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations on 4 September 2020, in the course of which they exchanged views on major international and regional issues, as well as on ways to strengthen BRICS cooperation and on possibilities for mutual support of initiatives and closer cooperation at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly. We also welcome the Extraordinary Videoconference of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations on 28 April 2020.

14. We welcome the X Meeting of BRICS High Representatives for Security, held on 17 September 2020, and commend them for enriching the BRICS dialogue on counter-terrorism, security in the use of ICTs, major international and regional hot spots, peacekeeping and transnational organized crime.

15. We reaffirm our commitment to collective efforts for peaceful settlement of disputes through political and diplomatic means. We note the UN Secretary-General's initiative for a global ceasefire and, in this context, recall the UNSC Resolution 2532(2020) demanding a general and immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations on its agenda with the exception of military operations against terrorist groups, designated as such by the UN Security Council, and calling for durable humanitarian pause against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

16. We express our support for urgent political and diplomatic efforts to maintain and strengthen international peace and security. We regret disruptions of strategic stability mechanisms and arms control regimes and commit to uphold them. We underscore the fundamental importance of the 2010 Russia-US Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms for the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, and we call on the parties to agree on its extension without delay.

17. We emphasize the fundamental importance of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC) as a pillar of the international WMD disarmament and control regime. We underline the need to comply with and strengthen the BTWC, including by adopting a legally binding Protocol to the Convention that provides for, inter alia, an efficient verification mechanism. We support prompt resumption of the negotiations on such a Protocol. The BTWC functions, including in what concerns the UN Security Council, should not be duplicated by other mechanisms. Efforts aimed at the resolution of implementation issues should be consistent with the BTWC.

18. We reaffirm support for the preservation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) as an effective disarmament and non-proliferation instrument and call upon the States Parties to uphold the integrity of the CWC and engage in a constructive dialogue with a view to restoring the spirit of consensus in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

19. We underline the importance of ensuring safety and security of outer space activities and use of outer space for peaceful purposes as well as to prevent an arms race in outer space. We emphasize the urgent need to negotiate a legally binding multilateral instrument that could fill the gap in the international legal regime applicable to outer space, including on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and the threat or use of force against outer space objects. We stress that practical Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures (TCBMs), including such as the "No First Placement" initiative, may also contribute towards this goal. We reaffirm that TCBMs should complement, but not substitute for, effective legally binding regime for outer space.

20. We reiterate the importance of the strict adherence to the principles established in the Outer Space Treaty in order to contribute to the sustainable and peaceful use of outer space for the benefit and in the interests of all countries. We reaffirm the need to carry on activities in the peaceful exploration and uses of outer space in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, to preserve outer space for future generations. The application of relevant space technologies for peaceful purposes will be a tangible contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. We underscore the importance of further BRICS cooperation in the area of remote sensing satellites.

21. We emphasize the need to ensure the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, including in the context of the safety of space operations. We welcome, in this respect, the adoption by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) at its 62nd session of the report with 21 guidelines for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, and we commit to contribute to the Working Group established to address this issue and operationalisation of its agreed structure and work programme.

22. We express grave concern at the rise of violence and continuing armed conflicts in different parts of the world that have significant impact at both the regional and international levels. We concur that all conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means and diplomatic engagement through political dialogue and negotiations in line with international law, particularly the UN Charter.

23. We reaffirm strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. We are convinced that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict. We also reaffirm our commitment to advancing a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, UN-facilitated political process in line with the UNSC Resolution 2254, culminating in constitutional reform and free and fair elections. We emphasize in this context the importance of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva launched with the decisive participation of the countries-guarantors of the Astana Process and all states engaged in efforts to address the conflict through political means and welcome the efforts of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Syria to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of the Committee. We express our conviction that, in order to reach general agreement, members of the Constitutional Committee should be guided by the commitment to compromise and cooperate constructively without foreign interference. We welcome the signing of the Additional Protocol to the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the Idlib De-Escalation Area. We reaffirm the international obligations to fight terrorism in all its forms and highlight the importance of unity in the fight against terrorist organizations in Syria as designated by the UN Security Council. We emphasize the fundamental importance of allowing unhindered humanitarian aid in accordance with the UN humanitarian principles and the post-conflict reconstruction of Syria that would create conditions for the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons to their places of permanent residence thus contributing to achieving long-term stability and security in Syria and the region in general. We are also concerned about all those in vulnerable situations and condemn persecution on ethnic or religious grounds.

24. We are convinced that failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict continues to hamper peace and stability in the Middle East. We remain committed to a just and lasting peace in the region, stating that a two-state solution must be sought, guided by the international legal framework previously in place, such as the relevant UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, resulting in the creation of an independent and viable State of Palestine, existing peacefully side by side with its neighbours. We express the need for new and creative diplomatic efforts to achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement and emphasize the importance of an early launch of direct negotiations between the Palestinian and the Israeli sides.

25. We express our solidarity with the people of Lebanon in connection with the massive explosion in the port of Beirut on 4 August 2020, which resulted in considerable casualties and large-scale destruction. We call upon all members of the international community to provide assistance to Lebanon with the purpose of overcoming the consequences of the catastrophe and the speedy normalization of the political and socio-economic situation in the country. We emphasize that, taking into consideration the legitimate aspirations of the Lebanese people for political solutions to the current challenges faced by the nation, Lebanese political forces should be able to work together in the current complicated conditions and take decisive steps for the sake of de-escalation of tensions, renunciation of violence and prevention of the situation sliding out of control.

26. We reaffirm our continued support for efforts by the Iraqi Government towards national reconstruction, development and a mutually respectful and inclusive national dialogue. Stressing the need to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and the inadmissibility of any interference in its internal affairs, we emphasize the importance of supporting the Iraqi people in their fight against manifestations of extremism and terrorism and promoting economic recovery of the country. We further acknowledge the importance of stability in Iraq for regional and international security, condemn in the strongest possible terms the heinous and inhuman violence perpetrated by terrorist and extremist groups, such as the self-styled ISIS, in the territory of Iraq.

27. We reaffirm our grave concern over the humanitarian crisis and the ongoing conflict in the Republic of Yemen that has a significant impact on security and stability of the whole region. We recall the need for a full cessation of hostilities in the country and establishment of an inclusive negotiation process mediated by the UN and reaffirm that progress cannot be achieved without a constructive dialogue with due account of the legitimate interests of different political forces of the country. Without sustainable peace in Yemen the humanitarian crisis will only continue to worsen and we emphasize further the importance of providing urgent humanitarian assistance to Yemenis and facilitating the rapid, safe and unhindered access of humanitarian supplies to all people and across all regions of the country.

28. We express our serious concern over the ongoing tensions, including one-sided actions, in the Gulf region. We reaffirm the support of the BRICS countries for the efforts to resolve the existing disagreements through negotiations and diplomatic engagement, stress the need for promoting a positive and constructive agenda in the region, in which all countries jointly respond to common threats and challenges.

29. We call for the establishment of long-term peace in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and reaffirm our unwavering support to the people of Afghanistan in its efforts toward building a stable, inclusive, peaceful, independent and prosperous sovereign State. We welcome the launch of intra-Afghan negotiations and will continue to support the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. We condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and express concern over the unstable security environment.

30. We welcome the agreement reached by the Leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia on a complete ceasefire since 10 November 2020 in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and support further political and diplomatic efforts to create the necessary conditions for a lasting and comprehensive peace in the region.

31. We express our support for continuing the diplomatic negotiations in bilateral and multilateral formats to resolve all issues pertaining to the Korean Peninsula, including its complete denuclearization, and maintain peace and stability in North East Asia. We reaffirm the commitment to a comprehensive peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation.

32. We call for international support for regional and subregional initiatives aimed at strengthening peace and security on the continent based on the principle "African solutions to African problems" as articulated by Africans themselves. We commend the African Union's commitment to promote the "Silencing the Guns by 2020" initiative and underscore the importance of an enhanced partnership between the United Nations and the African Union in the area of international peace and security.

33. We express our support for the African Union Agenda 2063 and the efforts towards intensified integration and development in the continent, including through implementing the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area. We note the progress achieved by the AU in addressing infrastructure gaps, in particular, within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and the importance of promoting investments with a view to supporting industrial development, creating jobs, ensuring food security, fighting poverty and providing for Africa's sustainable development. We reaffirm our readiness to develop further cooperation with the African continent, including with the aim to strengthening its potential to address the intertwined health, economic, and social effects of COVID-19.

34. Reaffirming our strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya, we call on the Libyan parties to the conflict to show mutual restraint and stress the importance of establishing a long-term lasting ceasefire in Libya, in order to ensure a comprehensive and sustainable solution through a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process under the auspices of the United Nations. We welcome the announcement of the resumption of inclusive intra-Libyan talks under the framework of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum. We reiterate the need to fully implement the decisions of the International Conference on Libya held in Berlin on 19 January 2020 and the UNSC Resolution 2510, noting the importance of parallel progress on all three tracks of the intra-Libyan negotiation process (military, political and economic) with substantial assistance from the United Nations. Encouraging the UN Secretary General to promptly designate a Special Representative for Libya, we note the significant role played by the African Union and the League of Arab States in promoting a peaceful intra-Libyan dialogue and political process.

35. We support the steps taken by the Sudanese leadership to strengthen national accord and overcome social and economic crisis in the country. We commend the commitment of the Sudanese government to the nationwide effort to bring an end to internal armed conflicts, primarily in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. We welcome the signing of the Juba peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the armed opposition movements on 3 October 2020 and encourage the signatories to swiftly implement the main provisions of the agreement.

36. We express concern over the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo and condemn attacks against civilians and UN peacekeepers. We call for tangible progress in promoting peace in the country within the existing legal framework and creating conditions for refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their homes.

37. We reiterate our strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations whenever, wherever and by whomsoever committed, and that it should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to contribute further to the global efforts of preventing and countering the threat of terrorism on the basis of respect for international law and the Charter of the United Nations, emphasizing that States have the primary responsibility in combating terrorism with the United Nations continuing to play central and coordinating role in this area. We also stress the need for a comprehensive and balanced approach of the whole international community to effectively curb the terrorist activities, which pose a serious threat, including in the present-day pandemic environment. To address the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, we emphasize the need to launch multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism, at the Conference on Disarmament. We also call for an expeditious conclusion and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism within the UN framework.

38. We welcome the outcomes of the V BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group (CTWG) and its subgroups' inaugural meetings, which have further advanced BRICS cooperation in the areas of countering terrorism and its financing, foreign terrorist fighters, radicalization, the use of the Internet for terrorism purposes and capacity building. We endorse the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Strategy aimed at complementing and strengthening cooperation among the BRICS countries as well as making a meaningful contribution to the global efforts of preventing and combating the threat of terrorism. We designate the BRICS High Representatives for Security to lead the review of the implementation of the Strategy and in this regard of the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group (CTWG) work including the development of Counter-Terrorism Action Plan.

39. We emphasize the need of a comprehensive and balanced approach to ICTs development and security, including technical advancement, business development, of safeguarding the security of States and public interests, and of respecting the right to privacy of individuals. We underscore the leading role of the United Nations in promoting dialogue to forge common understandings on the security of and in the use of ICTs and development of universally agreed norms, rules and principles for responsible behavior of States in the realm of ICTs, without prejudice to other relevant international fora. We emphasize the importance of international law and principles applicable in this sphere. In this regard, we welcome the work of the UN Open-Ended Working Group as well as of the Group of Governmental Experts and note progress in the discussions.

40. We also underscore the importance of establishing legal frameworks of cooperation among BRICS States on ensuring security in the use of ICTs. We note the activities of the BRICS Working Group on Security in the Use of ICTs and acknowledge the work towards consideration and elaboration of proposals on this matter, including on a BRICS intergovernmental agreement on cooperation on ensuring security in the use of ICTs and on bilateral agreements among BRICS countries. We reaffirm the importance of advancing the intra-BRICS cooperation, including through the consideration of relevant initiatives and the implementation of the BRICS Roadmap of Practical Cooperation on Ensuring Security in the Use of ICTs.

41. While emphasizing the formidable potential of the digital revolution for growth and development, we recognize new associated possibilities it brings for criminal activities and threats. We express concern over the rising level and complexity of criminal misuse of ICTs as well as the absence of a multilateral framework to counter the use of ICTs for criminal purposes. We recognize also that new challenges and threats in this respect require international cooperation and discussions on possible legal frameworks, including the need to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes under the auspices of the UN and note the establishment of an open-ended ad hoc intergovernmental committee of experts under the auspices of the UN in accordance with UNGA Resolution 74/247 of 27 December 2019.

42. We are concerned over the increasing challenge to protect children from online sexual exploitation and from other content harmful for their health and development and look forward to strengthening BRICS cooperation to develop initiatives aimed at ensuring safety of the children on the Internet.

43. We express our concern over the scale of the illicit drug trafficking worldwide that poses a threat to public security and international and regional stability. We emphasize our commitment to the three UN Conventions on drug control and the need to preserve the international drug control mechanism. We acknowledge the importance of cooperation on drug control among BRICS countries and note the IV Meeting of the BRICS Anti-Drug Working Group held on 12 August 2020.

44. We reaffirm our commitment to promote international anti-corruption cooperation, particularly, in light of the 2021 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly against corruption, strengthen BRICS collaboration, including within multilateral frameworks, subject to domestic legal systems, on all issues related to anti-corruption law enforcement, including on matters related to asset recovery and denying safe haven to corrupt persons and proceeds of corruption. We welcome the 2021 UNGASS and will work to promote UNCAC as an important channel for international anti-corruption cooperation. We encourage the BRICS Anti-Corruption Working Group to continue its work in this regard.

45. We reiterate our commitment to combating illicit financial flows (IFFs), money laundering and financing of terrorism and to closely cooperating within the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the FATF-style regional bodies (FSRBs), as well as other multilateral, regional and bilateral fora. We value and encourage the dialogue among BRICS countries on key issues of the Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT).

Economy and Finances, Intergovernmental Cooperation

46. We recognize complexity and interconnectedness of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its adverse impact on the international economy, healthcare systems, financial sector and development, well-being of the most vulnerable groups in our societies. In this regard, we reaffirm our commitment to contribute, in coordination with broader international community, to healthcare and economic recovery. Given the BRICS share in the global economy and trade, we commit to lead in reinvigorating multilateral cooperation and consolidating international efforts, aimed at elaborating common, efficient and sustainable solutions to tackling the current crisis and ensuring economic growth.

47. We will strengthen our efforts as necessary to promptly navigate the BRICS countries towards strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive economic development and growth in the post-COVID-19 era and acknowledge substantial fiscal, monetary and financial stability measures implemented in our countries in order to support economic growth, and reaffirm our determination to continue using available policy tools to safeguard people's lives and livelihoods.

48. We attach great importance to the information exchange on the nationally adopted measures as well as short-term and mid-term stimulus packages aimed at effectively mitigating the consequences of the current crisis and full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Policy priorities in our countries go beyond the immediate objectives to minimise the COVID-19 implications and include, inter alia, deepening international cooperation and trade, developing appropriate supply chains for industrial and agricultural goods and minimising disruptions to them, strengthening the social safety nets and healthcare systems, increasing public and private investments, promoting strong and sustainable macroeconomic policies, fostering resilience of the economies, maintaining financial stability and conducting important structural reforms to ensure that all three pillars of the Sustainable Development Agenda – economic, social and environmental – are pursued so that no one is left behind and those furthest behind are helped first. We acknowledge the need to strengthen cooperation on complex issues of the BRICS post-pandemic economic agenda.

49. We reiterate the importance of open, stable and secure global markets and acknowledge the building of more resilient global supply chains for increased production of critical health, food and other industrial and agricultural products at the national level and in our respective regional contexts, consistent with WTO rules. We call on all WTO members to ensure that all COVID-19 related measures are targeted, proportionate, transparent and temporary and do not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains, and are consistent with WTO rules. We welcome strengthening international cooperation in all these sectors. We will continue to explore concrete ways to facilitate the movement of people in a way that does not impede our efforts to protect public health.

50. Valuing the continued role of the G20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation and coordinated action to overcome the current global challenges, we commit to continue coordination and collaborative efforts within the G20 on issues of mutual interest to the BRICS countries and with the aim to advance in the G20 the interests and priorities of emerging market economies and developing countries, including the updating of the G20 Action Plan.

51. We reaffirm our commitment to a strong, quota-based and adequately resourced IMF at the center of the global financial safety net. We welcome the actions taken by the IMF in response to the crisis resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. The IMF emergency financing, together with the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) and the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) debt flow relief for the poorest countries, have helped the affected IMF Members address urgent balance of payments needs and mitigate the adverse health and economic impact. We call on the IMF to explore additional tools that could serve its Members' needs as the crisis evolves, drawing on relevant experiences from previous crises. Given the substantial demand for IMF financing, we keep demand on IMF resources under close review. Therefore, we look forward to expeditious actions on completing the 16th General Review of Quotas within the agreed time frame and implementing the long overdue governance reforms in the IMF.

52. We welcome the international efforts to provide support for low-income countries, including through the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and its extension by 6 months. We encourage the MDBs, including the World Bank, to go further on their collective efforts in supporting the DSSI. We strongly encourage private creditors to participate in the DSSI on comparable terms when requested by eligible countries. Furthermore, we call for more attention on the risks of downgrades by Credit Rating Agencies, which affect market access and impact sovereign decisions to request debt suspension.

53. We acknowledge the crucial role of international trade in economic recovery and remain fully committed to a transparent, open, inclusive, non-discriminatory and rules-based multilateral trading system, as embodied in the World Trade Organization. It is critical that all WTO Members avoid unilateral and protectionist measures, that run counter to the spirit and rules of the WTO.

54. We support the necessary reform of the WTO with a view to making it more resilient and effective in confronting global economic challenges and to improve its key functions in the interest of all WTO Members. The reform must, inter alia, preserve the centrality, core values and fundamental principles of the WTO, and consider the interests of all members, including developing countries and LDC, recognizing that the majority of WTO members are developing countries. We urge all WTO Members to engage constructively in addressing the need for expeditious restoration of the full-strength Appellate Body. We acknowledge, in this regard, the Joint Statement by BRICS Trade Ministers on Multilateral Trading System and the WTO Reform.

55. We note the progress in the implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2020 and underline its role in expanding our cooperation. We welcome the adoption of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership for the period 2021–2025 as a key guideline for enhancing BRICS cooperation in trade, investment and finance, digital economy and sustainable development, to facilitate the speedy economic recovery and increase living standards in the BRICS countries. We will also continue implementing, as appropriate, the BRICS Action Agenda on Economic and Trade Cooperation to guide our economic and trade cooperation.

56. We welcome the adoption of the BRICS Understanding on Investment Facilitation, which emphasized upon the voluntary actions for enhancement of transparency, improvement of efficiency and promotion of cooperation by BRICS countries as a way forward to promotion of investment for sustainable development. We also take note of the improvement of business environment for MSMEs. In this regard we welcome the adoption of the Guidelines for Promoting Effective Participation of MSMEs in International Trade that promotes MSMEs integration in global value chains and their operation performance. We recognize that appropriate instruments aimed at creating the favorable environment for investments at the domestic, intra-BRICS and international levels may promote international trade, sustainable development and inclusive growth.

57. We recognize the importance of strengthening infrastructure data-sharing to better identify investment opportunities, leverage private sector investments and meet the infrastructure investment needs of BRICS countries. In this regard, we acknowledge the initiative on exploring sharing relevant and already existing national data on infrastructure investment projects into a common Data Room on a voluntary basis. We take note of the progress made by the BRICS Taskforce on PPP and Infrastructure and look forward to further cooperation among BRICS countries and to possible modalities of NDB's engagement in this initiative.

58. We commend the NDB for providing financial resources to reduce human, social and economic losses caused by the coronavirus outbreak and to restore economic growth in the BRICS countries. We underscore timely measures taken by the NDB in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences embodied in the Emergency Assistance Program aimed to provide up to USD 10 billion for Emergency Loans to its member countries.

59. We commend the NDB's remarkable achievements made in the last 5 years and express our appreciation to the first President of the NDB Mr. Kundapur Vaman Kamath for his strong leadership in this institution during his tenure. We welcome Mr. Marcos Troyjo as the new President of the NDB and look forward to the Bank continuing its institutional development under his leadership. We welcome the opening of the NDB Eurasian Regional Center in Moscow – the third NDB regional office – and look forward to opening the NDB regional office in India next year.

60. We support the NDB membership expansion process based on relevant decisions by the NDB Board of Governors. This will strengthen the NDB's role as a global development finance institution and further contribute to the mobilization of resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in Bank's member states. The process of expansion should be gradual and balanced in terms of geographic representation in its membership as well as supportive of the NDB's goals of attaining the highest possible credit rating and institutional development. We welcome the launch of the formal negotiations with potential candidates based on these principles and work towards the timely expansion of NDB's membership.

61. We acknowledge the progress made in effecting the amendments to update the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) documents and the efforts of the BRICS countries' central banks in augmenting the analytical support to the CRA. We welcome the BRICS Economic Bulletin as an annual analytical document to support CRA. We welcome the successful conclusion of the third test run with advance payment as the added element of complexity.

62. We commend continuing work on the national payments systems' cooperation, in particular, the creation of the BRICS Payments Task Force (BPTF) and look forward to further progress on this track.

63. We welcome the establishment of the BRICS Rapid Information Security Channel (BRISC) to allow the BRICS countries' central banks to exchange information on cyber threats and share experience in countering cyber attacks in the financial sphere.

64. We note the progress achieved in establishing a BRICS Local Currency Bond Fund and look forward to its operation.

65. We reiterate the need to promote industrial growth and welcome further advancement of our trade and investment cooperation, including within the framework of the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR). We encourage mutually beneficial cooperation among BRICS countries and UNIDO on assessing the establishment of a Centre for Industrial Competences through follow up discussions as appropriate, and note China's initiative to establish a BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution Innovation Center.

66. We recognize the role of the digital economy as an important tool for modernization and transformation of the industry, promotion of inclusive economic growth, support of seamless global trade and business conduct, and thus helping BRICS national economies to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. At the same time we acknowledge the challenges arising from the unprecedented growth of digital technologies and e-commerce, and emphasize the need for a dedicated focus on overcoming the digital divide and to support developing countries to address its socio-economic implications. In the context of accelerated development of the e-commerce sector and increased volume of online-transactions worldwide, we will enhance our cooperation through the BRICS E-commerce Working Group. We recognize the potential for establishing a workstream to examine the experience of BRICS and other countries, as well as international associations in the field of consumer protection in e-commerce and create a basis for exploring the development of a practical framework for ensuring consumer protection in the BRICS countries, including through pilot projects and initiatives.

67. We reiterate our willingness to further deepen international cooperation in the field of energy on the basis of equality, non-discrimination and full respect for sovereignty and national interests, noting the pivotal role of energy in promoting sustainable development. Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all remains the priority of international energy policy and we intend to enhance cooperation to combat energy poverty. We emphasize that sustainable and efficient use of all energy sources, energy efficiency and technology deployment are essential for each country's energy transitions, and for building reliable energy systems and strengthening energy security. We emphasize the importance of BRICS countries greater contribution to the global energy agenda in line with their share in the world energy production and consumption.

68. We will enhance strategic partnership in energy by fostering trade in energy related goods, promoting technological cooperation, facilitating mutual investments, exchanging views on regulations and energy policies. We welcome the informal consultations among BRICS states on topical energy issues and discussions in international organizations and fora. We will enhance this dialogue in order to promote BRICS countries interests on the global scale. We welcome, in this regard, the adoption of Roadmap of BRICS Energy cooperation and the launch of practical cooperation within BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform (ERCP) including the preparation of joint reports. We note the importance of widening the scope of joint research, launching joint projects and strengthening the BRICS ERCP.

69. We highlight the need to strengthen further BRICS cooperation in the fields of intellectual property, technical regulations, standards, metrology and conformity assessment. We commend the collaboration between our national IP Offices and the outcomes of cooperation among BRICS countries under the Working Mechanism on Technical Regulation, Standards, Metrology, Conformity Assessment and Accreditation and reaffirm the importance of further cooperation.

70. We commend the progress of BRICS countries in tackling new challenges in urban areas and note the contribution of the BRICS Urbanization Forum towards these efforts.

71. Recognizing tourism as an important driver for the BRICS countries' economies, we acknowledge negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemics on the tourism industry and welcome further BRICS dialogue on cooperation in the field of tourism.

72. We recall that our countries produce more than a third of the global agricultural output and emphasize BRICS role and responsibility in ensuring the sustainability of the agriculture and food sector, global food security and nutrition. We emphasize the importance of a targeted, proportionate, transparent, timely and consistent with WTO rules approach when taking urgent response measures in connection with the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing the impact of these measures on the functioning of global food supply chains and the stability of agricultural markets consistent with national requirements. We commit to withdraw such measures as soon as they are no longer needed to fight the COVID-19.

73. We will reinforce the resilience of agriculture, rural areas and farmers in light of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic through deepening agricultural cooperation including South-South and the promotion of comprehensive development of rural areas, through forms of support compatible with WTO rules on agriculture. Rural development is of great significance to the balanced improvement of the world agricultural production, food security and the implementation of sustainable goals in agriculture. We acknowledge the importance of avoiding food loss and waste and encourage joint efforts towards the reduction of food loss and waste.

74. Recalling all BRICS Leader's Declarations since Ufa (2015), we reiterate our commitment to further enhance BRICS cooperation in addressing the challenges to health and human well-being including through developing effective joint responses to the continuing spread of major diseases (HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and others) and the emergence of infections with a pandemic potential. We welcome the efforts of States in developing and implementing policies and initiatives regarding the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic that are fit for their specific national situations. In this regard we recall the decision in the Johannesburg Declaration (2018) to establish the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre and encourage its timely and effective operationalization. We also welcome issuing the Review of the BRICS countries measures in the field of healthcare to counter the spread of the coronavirus disease and note Russia's proposal to set up a BRICS Integrated Early Warning System for preventing mass infectious diseases risks for future consideration and discussion. We recognize the fundamental role of the United Nations system, including the WHO, in coordinating the comprehensive global response to COVID-19 pandemic and the central efforts of States therein. We stress, in this regard, the importance of enhancing BRICS countries' positive contribution to international public health security, the need to pursue coordinated and decisive actions, both individually and collectively.

75. We take note of the progress made under the BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Framework Programme, which attracted multiple BRICS funding agencies and more than hundred BRICS projects supported in different thematic areas. This has facilitated networking of BRICS research organizations and scientists to work together and develop affordable solutions for common societal challenges. We recognize the importance of BRICS STI Cooperation in counteracting the spread and the impacts of COVID-19, including launching of a special joint R&D Call under BRICS STI Framework Programme and online experts exchanges. We acknowledge the progress achieved by the BRICS STI Steering Committee under the BRICS STI Architecture, especially on the thematic working groups.

76. We emphasize the crucial role of education for enhancing human capital, for the re-skilling and up-skilling of people in the post-COVID 19 recovery, achieving sustainable development and allowing for an inclusive economic growth. We are committed to enhancing cooperation particularly in the field of TVET and higher education, through best practices exchanges of knowledge and expertise, including in digital technologies for distant and blended learning, which have become necessary tools for the provision of high quality, steadily accessible education.

77. We remain committed to enhancing international cooperation to put an end to tax avoidance strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules. We are committed to promoting efforts on improving compliance with internationally agreed standards on tax transparency and exchange of information and look forward to further progress in information sharing for improvement of our tax authorities' abilities and technical capacity to deter, detect and disrupt illicit financial flows, tax evasion and tax avoidance.

78. We note the progress in cooperation among the BRICS countries' competition authorities, aimed at ensuring conditions for fair competition in priority markets and those critical for socio-economic development, improving competition policy and enforcement. We note the extension of the Memorandum of Understanding between the BRICS Competition Authorities on cooperation in the field of competition law and policy. We acknowledge the BRICS International Competition Law and Policy Center activities. We note the holding of the VII BRICS International Competition Conference in China in 2021.

79. We underline the importance of the BRICS national statistical agencies continuing their collaboration on methodological approaches to ensure their comparability and in this regard look forward to close intra-BRICS engagement on a regular basis.

80. We recommit to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and recognize that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. We recognize that many developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America will also take longer to recover from the COVID-19 and its associated implications. We call on donor countries to honour their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments, and to facilitate capacity building and the transfer of technology to developing countries together with additional development resources.

81. We reiterate the importance of continuous dialogue among BRICS countries in the field of disaster management and acknowledge the outcomes of the BRICS Joint Task Force on Disaster Risk Management Meeting and encourage further cooperation in this area.

82. We reiterate our commitment to the implementation of the Paris Agreement adopted under the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances. We urge developed countries included in Annex II to scale up the provision of financial, technical, technological and capacity-building assistance to developing countries to support mitigation and adaptation action. We also acknowledge in this respect the Statement of the 6th BRICS Ministers of Environment Meeting on 30 July 2020. We welcome the progress within the BRICS Environmentally Sound Technology (BEST) Platform, including the initiative to establish the BEST Platform "matrix". We look forward to further strengthening cooperation on environmental issues, in particular combating marine plastic litter as a key focus of the BRICS Clean Rivers Programme.

83. We acknowledge the importance of working together towards the development and the adoption of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15), including implementation of support mechanisms, in a way that addresses, in a balanced manner, the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources.

84. We call for enhanced intra-BRICS cooperation, including in relevant multilateral fora, to jointly combat customs offenses, develop customs technologies and cooperate in capacity building. We welcome the substantial progress made in the implementation of the Strategic Framework of BRICS Customs Cooperation. We are also encouraged by the significant strides that have been made in pursuing technical consensus on the Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters and welcome its early conclusion.

85. We express our support to enhancing interactions within the framework of BRICS Business Council as an effective way to forge closer business linkages between the BRICS countries, including in trade promotion, investments, infrastructure development, digital economy and exchanges of best practices in the fields of energy, effective regulation, responsible business conduct, development financing. We also welcome the activities of the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism, including the progress in developing the principles for the BRICS development institutions' responsible financing and efficient green finance mechanisms.

86. We further welcome the adoption of the Declaration on the establishing of the BRICS Women's Business Alliance (WBA) which provides a solid platform for promotion of women's economic empowerment in the BRICS countries aiming at expanding the role of women as drivers of economic growth.

Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges

87. We reaffirm the importance of BRICS people-to-people exchanges in enhancing mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation among our nations and peoples. We note with satisfaction, in this regard, that under the Russian BRICS Chairmanship, despite the pandemic-related limitations, activities in the fields of local governance, culture, sports, arts, films, youth and academic exchanges continued largely uninterrupted, which contributed to making substantive progress in this pillar. We encourage further diversified initiatives and activities.

88. We emphasize the importance of BRICS parliamentary exchanges and take note with satisfaction of the BRICS Parliamentary and Young Parliamentarians' Fora in 2020. We look forward to further strengthening BRICS parliamentary cooperation and its contribution to enhancing BRICS partnership. We also acknowledge the holding of the BRICS Friendship Cities and Local Government Cooperation Forum, II BRICS Municipal Forum, as well as related grass-roots initiatives.

89. We commend the outcomes of the BRICS Chief Justices Forum, which discussed the protection of rights and interests of economic actors, entrepreneurs and consumers through measures of administrative judicial procedure and adapting court mechanisms to the new realities of the "digital age".

90. We take note of the outcomes of II Formal Meeting of the BRICS Supreme Audit Institutions Heads and recognize the significance of advancing BRICS cooperation in this realm, including within the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), in the spirit of inclusiveness, openness and mutually beneficial knowledge sharing.

91. We commend the progress in cultural cooperation and acknowledge its role in enhancing understanding between peoples. We welcome the outcomes of the V Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Culture and look forward to further exchanges in the various ongoing initiatives in the field of culture and preservation of cultural heritage, including between our national museums, libraries, art galleries and theatres, among others. We note with satisfaction the organization of the V BRICS Film Festival. We take note of Russia's initiative on the establishment of a BRICS Working Group on Culture.

92. We welcome the First BRICS Sports Ministers Meeting and the adoption of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Physical Culture and Sports. We look forward to further dynamic collaboration in sports between BRICS countries, acknowledging, inter alia, the importance of annual BRICS Sports Games. In this context we look forward to China to host Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

93. Being committed to upholding continuity of BRICS partnership for the benefit of prosperity and friendship of future generations of our countries and our youth, we recognize the vast potential and stress the importance to further develop BRICS youth exchanges, including in such areas as science, innovation, energy, ICTs, volunteerism and entrepreneurship. We note with satisfaction the holding of the Meetings of BRICS Youth Officials, BRICS Young Diplomats and Young Scientists Fora, and other informal youth related initiatives, including BRICS Youth Energy Summit and cooperation within the framework of BRICS Youth Energy Agency and the IV International BRICSMATH.COM online mathematics competition for school students and the encouraging participation in it of children of all five countries. We welcome the upcoming annual BRICS Youth Summit.

94. We note with satisfaction the holding of the BRICS Ministers of Education Meeting and commend the progress in our education cooperation. We encourage consolidation of the BRICS Network University and BRICS University League so as to provide synergetic engagement of their activities. We welcome deepening Network University members' cooperation aimed at building the universities' capabilities and strengthening their role in driving the digital transformation and leveraging innovations to provide quality education, increase economic growth and expand prosperity.

95. We commend the outcomes of the Meetings of the BRICS Think Tank Council (BTTC) and BRICS Academic Forum, acknowledging the progress made towards strengthening BRICS expert dialogue and exchanges among academic community to promote future-oriented research policy analysis and knowledge-sharing. In this regard the BTTC should continue to improve its internal mechanism and strengthen its connection with BRICS governmental sectors and other institutions including the NDB and the BRICS Business Council. We note the holding of the BRICS Civil Forum and acknowledge launching the BRICS Solutions Awards.

96. India, China, South Africa and Brazil commend Russian BRICS Chairmanship in 2020 and express their gratitude to the government and people of Russia for holding the XII BRICS Summit.

97. Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa extend full support to India for its BRICS Chairmanship in 2021 and the holding of the XIII BRICS Summit.

Need to Hold Countries Supporting Terror Accountable: PM Modi at BRICS (Необходимо привлечь к ответственности страны, поддерживающие терроризм: премьер-министр Моди в БРИКС) / India, November, 2020
Keywords: narendra_modi, terrorism, summit, quotation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address at the virtual BRICS Summit hosted by Russia said that through the self-reliant campaign, India has initiated a reform process.

The PM said that during the pandemic, Indian Pharma companies sent medicines to 150 countries. He further said that the vaccine to be produced by India and its delivery will help humanity.

In 2021, BRICS will complete 15 years. Our 'sherpas' can make a report to evaluate the various decisions taken by us in the past years, the PM further added.

The PM also said that terrorism is the biggest problem today. We have to make sure that countries that shelter terrorists and support them are also held responsible. He also said that questions are being raised on the credibility of the global institutions. The reason is because they have not changed with the times. Reforms are needed in IMF, WTO, WHO, PM Modi also said.

During the 12th Summit, held in the backdrop of the 75th Anniversary of UN and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders would be discussing intra-BRICS cooperation and key issues in the global context, including the reform of the multilateral system, the Ministry of External Affairs had said prior to the summit.

Further the MEA said that the summit would also discuss measures to mitigate the impact of the ongoing pandemic, cooperation in counter terrorism, trade, health, energy and people to people exchanges. BRICS: PM Modi, Xi to come face to face for second time this month.

This would be for the second time this month that Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President, Xi Jinping would be coming face to face since the tensions broke between the two countries along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh. The last time the leaders met virtually was at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. There was no bi-lateral as the summit was held in a virtual format.

According to an official statement issued by Russia's Presidency in the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), "The theme of the meeting of the leaders of BRICS countries is 'BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth'."

The purpose of the Russian BRICS Chairmanship in 2020, as it is for multifaceted cooperation between the BRICS countries, is to contribute to raising living standards and quality of life of our people, the statement said.

President Xi Shares His Global Vision During the 2020 BRICS Summit (Президент Си делится своим глобальным видением во время саммита БРИКС 2020 года) / China, November, 2020
Keywords: xi_jinping, summit, quotation

Chinese President Xi Jinping shared his vision for global development during the 2020 BRICS Summit that was held online on November 17. The international environment is extremely turbulent considering the evident trend of de-globalization processes and prevailing economic uncertainty, but that's why it's all the more important that he shared his views for how the world should recover from these recent setbacks. President Xi's speech is best studied against that context as well as the obvious topic of BRICS cooperation.

The Chinese leader was optimistic with his assessment that peace and development are still the theme of the times, remarking that multipolarity and economic globalization will irreversibly lead the world towards a community with a shared future for mankind.

It will still be an uphill journey, Xi warned, but multilateralism as practiced in accordance with the UN Charter will safeguard peace and stability for all. Importantly, all of this must be done with a view towards people-centered development as the basis for everything.

It's here where the BRICS can be most effective. This network of emerging global leaders already constitutes one of the world's most influential platforms. Those five countries cooperate real closely on many areas of shared economic, political, and social concerns, most recently on the epidemiological front with respect to countering the COVID-19 pandemic.

By pooling their efforts, BRICS countries can set a powerful example to the rest of the world that it's possible to resist other countries' unilateral sanctions, extrajudicial actions, and meddling.

Unlike the U.S. and some of its allies, the BRICS countries firmly believe in the primacy of international law and have the highest respect for the World Health Organization's leading role in combating the pandemic. They're also cooperating with one another on vaccine research, production, and distribution too. Their world-class scientific and technical expertise will be crucial in helping the world survive COVID-19. With that in mind, President Xi proposed a BRICS symposium on traditional medicine's role in preventing and treating the virus.

Once global epidemiological security is more confidently guaranteed, the world can then focus on its economic recovery, and it's here where China can once again lead the way. Its economy already bounced back from its low point earlier this year at the height of the pandemic's outbreak inside its borders, and its new development paradigm of dual circulation where domestic and international circulation mutually reinforce one another will help stimulate the global economy. It will also repair the damage done by some countries' protectionist policies.

Old economic models are increasingly becoming outdated, however, President Xi reveals to his counterparts during Tuesday's video conference that China is opening a BRICS partnership innovation center focused on the New Industrial Revolution. The BRICS countries can extend their existing economic and financial cooperation into that new frontier to facilitate "the great reset".

The global vision that President Xi therefore elaborated upon is an exciting one where countries work together in pursuit of mankind's best interests. There might predictably be some hiccups along the way, but the trust-based relations between the BRICS countries could serve as a very stabilizing factor during this unprecedented transition in global political and economic affairs as the world begins to embrace new models.

Multipolarity and the New Industrial Revolution, unfolding in parallel, are complementary with one another.

The responsibility thus falls upon the rising BRICS nations to lead the way. President Xi's closing remarks were very symbolic in this respect. He noted how everyone is in the same boat, but they must remain calm and cooperate even during harsh winds and high waves.

Eventually the storm will end and the passengers will get to where they planned to go. The same holds true for mankind's future. The world is in the midst of several storms, but with the BRICS countries steering the ship, the rest of the passengers shouldn't have much to worry about.

Putin advocates more BRICS cooperation to fight pandemic (Путин выступает за расширение сотрудничества БРИКС в борьбе с пандемией) / China, November, 2020
Keywords: vladimir_putin, summit, covid-19

MOSCOW, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- The BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- should step up joint efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.
"The task of developing collective BRICS steps to combat infections, increase interactions between anti-epidemic departments, and protect the life and health of our citizens came to the fore," Putin said during the 12th BRICS summit hosted by Russia via video conference.
He said that it is important to boost the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Center, which was agreed upon two years ago at the Johannesburg summit.
Putin also attached significance to financial institutions in funding anti-virus efforts.
He praised the direct contribution of the BRICS countries toward a comprehensive package of G20 measures aimed at overcoming the negative consequences of the pandemic.
"The focus is on rebuilding global value chains and the openness of international trade," Putin said.
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, cooperation among the BRICS states has been "actively developing" in the political, economic and humanitarian spheres, the Russian leader noted.
The five countries are increasing cooperation in science, technology and innovation, while intensive contacts have been established between their academic and scientific centers, according to Putin. Enditem
BRICS Seeks to Prepare Legally Binding Tool to Prevent Arms Race in Space (БРИКС стремится подготовить юридически обязательный инструмент для предотвращения гонки вооружений в космосе) / Pakistan, November, 2020
Keywords: summit, political_issues, expert_opinion

During Tuesday's meeting, the heads of the BRICS member states – Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa – touched on issues of global importance, including the war in Syria, the fight against international terrorism, and the production and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine.

BRICS countries want to prepare a legally binding tool to prevent an arms race in space, reads a declaration adopted at the group's 12th summit, which is being held on 17 November in Moscow.

"We emphasise the urgent need to agree on a multilateral legally binding accord that can fill the gap in the international framework regarding space, including an agreement that will prevent countries from deploying weapons, threatening, or using force against objects in outer space", the BRICS group said in a statement.

Last year, the United States created a sixth branch of the military called the Space Force, a decision that was criticised both domestically and abroad. Opponents of the move say it may result in an arms race in space, which may threaten the world.

Moscow has repeatedly stressed that it opposes the deployment of any types of weapons in space and has urged Washington to work together to prevent a new arms race.

During the 12th summit of the BRICS group the leaders of the member states discussed issues of global importance. In the declaration adopted at Tuesday's meeting, BRICS also spoke about: the need to adopt a UN convention on the fight against international terrorism; a renewal of talks on the Biological Weapons Convention. The group stressed that it is necessary to adopt a legally bindingprotocol that would create a verification mechanism to monitor how signatories honour their obligations; the importance of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and called on the parties to agree on an extension of the accord; a diplomatic resolution of the Korea issue;

Stronger BRICS Partnership for Greater Global Benefits (Более прочное партнерство БРИКС для больших глобальных выгод) / Cyprus, November, 2020
Keywords: cooperation, summit, expert_opinion

The virtual summit of the five major emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — was held at a time when the international community is confronting profound transformations and growing uncertainties, such as rising trade protectionism and unilateralism.

The coronavirus crisis is worsening the situation. And within their borders, all BRICS members are facing monumental work to boost domestic development.

Over the years since the inception of the mechanism, the BRICS countries have continuously elevated their global economic rankings and expanded all-round cooperation, particularly in economic and trade sectors, which have yielded substantial results over the past decade.

For example, the New Development Bank (NDB), also known as the BRICS bank, has produced notable accomplishments.

The multilateral bank has approved 65 infrastructure and sustainable development projects worth 21 billion U.S. dollars across all its member countries in the past five years, ranging from urban development to water sanitation, from clean energy to smart cities, NDB President Marcos Troyjo said earlier this month.

The bank is also providing up to 10 billion dollars in crisis-related assistance and economic recovery projects through its emergency COVID-19 response program, he added.

To ensure that the BRICS countries can further unleash their cooperation potential and a second "golden decade" for the bloc despite the current difficulties, they need to join their hands more closely.

The first priority is to work with the rest of the world in the epic fight against the pandemic. The BRICS countries should strengthen public health cooperation, exchange experience in epidemic prevention and control, and make joint contributions to ensuring that vaccines, once ready, are affordable and accessible globally.

The member countries also need, on the condition of maintaining health safety, to resume work and production and set up "fast tracks" and "green lanes" to facilitate the flow of people and goods in an orderly fashion.

The second common task is to deepen their economic and trade cooperation so as to infuse new impetus into the global economy. The Chinese economy is already bouncing back, and is very likely to become the only major economy in the world to register positive growth this year. Other BRICS countries also boast an optimistic economic outlook.

British economist Jim O'Neill, best known for coining the acronym BRIC in the early 2000s, told U.S. news outlet CNBC that China is "well on its way" to recovering from the pandemic-induced economic crisis and will continue to be "the most important marginal driver" of global gross domestic product (GDP).

O'Neill pointed out that Brazil, Russia and India are also likely to see V-shaped bounce backs in the coming quarters.

To facilitate a more steadfast recovery of themselves and the global economy, the BRICS countries need to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination and jointly stabilize the global industrial and supply chains.

Over the longer run, while mulling updating the strategy for their economic partnership, the BRICS countries should leverage their respective strengths and jointly explore new growth drivers, so as to achieve higher quality, as well as more resilient and sustainable development, and to blaze new paths that could inspire other emerging markets and developing countries.

The third job is to improve global economic governance so that it can better reflect the transformations of the current global political and economic landscape.

Collectively, the BRICS members represent 30 percent of the world's landmass, 42 percent of the global population and 20 percent of the global GDP, which put them in a good position to play a greater role in anchoring this changing world.

Calling BRICS "stepping stones" for reforming global governance, Yaroslav Lissovolik, program director of Russia's think tank Valdai Discussion Club, noted that apart from the increasing weight of the bloc in the world economy, BRICS exercises a "comparative advantage" compared to other groups or arrangements in reaching out to the rest of the world, given that "this diverse grouping is present in all of the main regions of the developing world."

The BRICS countries, as the representatives of the developing world, share the obligation to increase the voice and influence of emerging markets and developing countries in the international arena. To this end, they should advocate the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in improving global governance, and push for reforms of the global economic governance system to strike a balance between fairness and efficiency.

Currently, economic globalization is encountering strong headwinds. The BRICS countries need to band together to counter protectionism and isolationism, maintain the multilateral trading system centered on the World Trade Organization, and build an open world economy.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has compared the BRICS economies to five fingers of a hand, saying they are "short and long if extended, but a powerful fist if clenched together." Indeed, if the five countries can forge a more tenacious partnership, their joint efforts can always make more positive differences in the world.

Brazil Will Track Illegal Amazon Wood Exports: Bolsonaro at BRICS Summit (Бразилия будет отслеживать незаконный экспорт древесины с Амазонки: Болсонару на саммите БРИКС) / India, November, 2020
Keywords: cooperation, political_issues, summit, jair_bolsonaro

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has faced mounting criticism over inaction in the Amazon rainforest, where illegal felling of trees has increased recently, especially during the pandemic.

During a BRICS summit, Bolsonaro said that in the coming days, his government will name countries involved in the import of wood which is extracted illegally from the rainforest.

Bolsonaro was speaking at the BRICS summit - a block of developing economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

According to the Brazilian President, local police had come up with a way to track wood exported from the Amazon using isotopes.

Data suggests that deforestation in the "Earth's lungs" - or the Amazon rainforest has increased under the right-wing Bolsonaro. He has urged for increased mining, farming, and economic development. Additionally, he undermined the role of forest fires.

While addressing the BRICS nation states - China, Russia, South Africa, and Russia, Bolsonaro launched an attack on multilateral forums. He also defended reforms in the World Trade Organization as well as the World Health Organization.

Bolsonaro has infamously downplayed the intensity of COVID-19, even after catching it himself. He has also vocally rejected WHO's social distancing guidelines.

According to him, the pandemic and the economic crisis ought to be addressed together.

BRICS hopeful to address new crisis and opportunities at summit (БРИКС надеется решить новый кризис и возможности на саммите) / China, November, 2020
Keywords: summit, expert_opinion

Affected by the continuous spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 12th BRICS (an acronym coined for the five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Summit, originally scheduled to be held at the end of July 2020, will be held Tuesday via virtual conference.

The form of the "cloud summit" reflects the severe impact of the pandemic on the BRICS countries, but also the hope for greater cooperation. In fact, the pandemic has not really hindered the pace of the BRICS dialogue.

Under the vigorous promotion of the rotating presidency of Russia, the BRICS has planned to carry out nearly 100 online activities before the end of this year.

As the most important BRICS events in 2020, the biggest highlight of the upcoming summit is how BRICS countries can now draw on each other's strength and help each other reach broad consensus and take effective actions on jointly promoting anti-pandemic cooperation, jointly realizing recovery and development, and ensuring global security and stability.

Among them, Russia is crucial to the guidance of the meeting's agenda. At the same time, China's experience and proposals will also attract attention, as facts have proved that China has achieved major results in the fight against COVID-19. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) stated that "China is the only G20 country in which output is projected to rise in 2020."

China and Russia will likely give full play to their respective advantages and act as "engines" in collaboration with other BRICS members to drive BRICS cooperation back to the fast lane. They will continue to become locomotives for global economic growth.

At the same time, there is hope for all to create a more suitable environment for international peace, security and stability at the summit.

In addition to fighting the pandemic, Russia put forward three major priorities in its presidency as early as the beginning of 2020. First, strengthening multilateral principles in global politics to promote the common interests of BRICS countries in international forums; Second, promoting cooperation in the fields of trade, economy and finance; Third, boosting cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.

First of all, under the pillar of political and security cooperation, there will be talks about how to take the opportunity of commemorating the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War and the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations to further advocate for the establishment of a BRICS security community, and strengthen the "BRICS voice" and "BRICS action" to deal with international and regional critical issues.

Second, under the pillar of economic, trade and financial cooperation, talks will address pandemic prevention and controls, looking at changes in the needs of economic and social development caused by the virus.

It will seek to advance the implementation of the new "strategy for BRICS economic partnership."

Third, in terms of people-to-people exchanges, the summit will raise ways to continue to enrich the content and form of cultural activities, look at how to effectively boost the depth of relevant exchanges, and create more popular branded products.

Moreover, how Russia restarts the "BRICS plus" and "expansion model," resuming the dialogue between BRICS and emerging markets and developing countries, is also one of anticipated parts in the summit. It may promote the institutionalization of those dialogues.

Against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic, discussing how to save more people's lives, particularly the vulnerable groups, and protect their basic rights of sustainable development should be the top priority of the BRICS countries as they expand their dialogues with other countries.

In today's era of profound changes unseen in a century, BRICS countries once again stand at the crossroads of history.

The evolution of the international system and competitions between major powers has prompted some BRICS members to rely more heavily on BRICS cooperation. They have also stimulated certain BRICS members' speculative attempts to pick sides or to gain advantage from both sides in major power games.

Yet despite the combined crises, the BRICS mechanism is functioning relatively well for creating meaningful dialogues. Whether or not BRICS countries can withstand new crisis, overcome fresh challenges and create new opportunities, will be the question that leaders of the five countries have to answer solemnly in the summit.

The author is director at the Institute of Foreign Relations of the BRICS Research Institute of Sichuan International Studies University.
President calls on BRICS to strengthen trade, investment ties (Президент призвал БРИКС укреплять торгово-инвестиционные связи) / South Africa, November, 2020
Keywords: cyril_ramaphosa, summit, quotation
South Africa

To fast-track economic recovery post the COVID-19 pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on his Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICS) counterparts to strengthen trade and investment ties.

The President's call comes as the BRICS virtual summit took place on Tuesday, coinciding with the start of the South Africa Investment Conference in Johannesburg.

"We call on our BRICS partners to ramp up investment in not just South Africa but across the continent, particularly in the manufacturing sector.

"Investors from the BRIC countries will realise considerable benefits by investing in Africa, particularly with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area from January 2021," he said.

The third SA Investment Conference is a platform to share with investors the progress South Africa has made in economic reforms and to showcase the country's potential as an investment destination.

While African leaders acted swiftly to contain COVID-19, President Ramaphosa called on the international community and the BRICS partners to support a comprehensive stimulus package for African countries.

"This will enable African countries to contain the disease and rebuild our damaged economies," said the President. The New Development Bank has a significant role to play.

"To date, the bank has approved $4 billion of COVID-related emergency assistance projects, including $1 billion to South Africa to support our health response and social relief measures," he said.

President Ramaphosa welcomed the indications from the New Development Bank that it aims to provide up to $10 billion in crisis-related assistance and to support economic recovery efforts.

In light of the battle of the COVID-19 pandemic and the search for a vaccine, President Ramaphosa said this year's experience has demonstrated the need to accelerate the establishment of the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre in South Africa, as agreed in the 2018 Johannesburg Declaration.

"We support the initiative to establish an integrated early warning system for preventing mass infectious diseases, and believe this is a project that could be supported by the New Development Bank.

"Investing in science, technology and innovation will not only prepare us for future health emergencies, but it will also enable us to confront other global challenges," said the President.

At the summit, South Africa also reiterated its call for multilateralism.

"It is clear from this pandemic, that we must strengthen multilateralism as the preferred means to advance our mutual interests.

"We reiterate our call for reform of the UN Security Council to ensure that it is more representative and inclusive, in line with the principle of the sovereign equality of all states," said President Ramaphosa.

With respect to development through industrialisation, President Ramaphosa said countries must ensure that trade rules take the interests of developing countries into account.

In this regard, the President said reform of the World Trade Organisation is key to rebalancing the global trading system and ensuring that its benefits are shared more equitably.

As resolved in the 2019 Brasilia Declaration, President Ramaphosa urged for continued collaboration through the BRICS partnership to address the problem of under-invoicing, which has a profound impact on industrial development and employment goals.

"Our meeting today – in the midst of economic and social turmoil – is evidence that our partnership is strong and enduring.

"Working together, let us continue our onward march towards shared peace, security and prosperity, not only for our respective countries, but for all of humanity," said the President. –

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's greetings to the organisers and participants of the 7th BRICS Legal Forum, Moscow, November 18, 2020 (Приветствие Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова организаторам и участникам VII Юридического форума стран БРИКС, Москва, 18 ноября 2020 года) / Russia, November, 2020
Keywords: sergey_lavrov, speech, top_level_meeting

I cordially welcome the organisers and participants of the 7th BRICS Legal Forum.

The cooperation between the five countries is becoming more and more diverse, embracing new promising areas for joint work. This success is largely due to our coinciding or very similar approaches and our reliance on international law, as well as on a positive, forward-looking agenda.

Dialogue through the legal communities contributes to the common cause. Such high-level discussions are all the more in demand today because a number of Western states are trying to destroy the international legal architecture formed after World War II, and to impose instead a narrowly selfish and non-inclusive rules-based order.

It is gratifying that this meeting has a full programme, even with remote participation, which covers the widest range of topics that are of concern to lawyers in our countries. I am confident that its results will serve to build up legal cooperation within BRICS, will enable the exchange of useful experience, and will strengthen corporate solidarity.

I wish you fruitful work and all the best.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
BRICS New Development Bank: Last five years and looking ahead to the next five (Новый банк развития БРИКС: последние пять лет и перспективы на следующие пять) / India, November, 2020
Keywords: ndb, expert_opinion

By Aashna Mehra and Meeta Keswani Mehra

The emergence and persistence of BRICS – a group of "like-minded" emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russian, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) – has often been viewed sardonically, described in a recent opinion editorial in The Diplomat as "a talk shop among apparently incongruent powers and a meaningless investment-banking acronym long past its sell-by date." As the twelfth BRICS summit comes into increasing focus against a relentless India-China border dispute, a raging global pandemic and a dramatic shift in American policy post-election, one of the summits' pioneering creations, the New Development Bank (NDB or the Bank), also marks its fifth anniversary.

The NDB was first mooted by India in 2012 and came into existence in July 2014 at the sixth BRICS summit in Brazil. The motivation behind the creation of the Bank was to challenge the Western-dominated paradigm of international development finance embodied in organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In the past five years since it began actively investing, the NDB has recorded a number of successes and has cemented its place as a preeminent multilateral development bank focused on sustainable infrastructure. As of November 2020, it has approved 65 sustainable development and infrastructure projects across all BRICS economies worth $21 billion, spanning clean energy, transport infrastructure, water resource management, urban development, environmental efficiency and social infrastructure.

Notably, 27% of the Bank's project approvals are denominated in the local currencies of the respective borrowing members instead of USD. This percentage is among the highest for multilateral development banks, and growing, and reflects the Bank's desire to address currency volatility risk and its detrimental impact on the creditworthiness of project cashflows. In 2019, the NDB approved loans denominated in Euros, Renminbi, South African Rand and Swiss Franc and issued an RMB 3 billion bond in the China Interbank Bond Market, which was three times oversubscribed.

The NDB also received AA+ credit ratings from Fitch and Standard & Poor's as well as AAA ratings from the Japan Credit Rating Agency and the Analytical Credit Rating Agency. This has allowed the Bank to raise funds at competitive rates and pass those savings onto its member borrowers, who, on average, have a credit rating of BBB- and would be charged much higher rates for development financing were it not for the NDB.

However, the most impressive achievement of the Bank has been its ability to operate not just steadily, but at a growing pace even as economic and geopolitical challenges have plagued some of its member countries. In 2019, global economic growth, including in BRICS countries, slowed to 2.9% from 3.6% the year before, marking its lowest level since the Great Recession of 2008.

This has been exacerbated by increasing protectionism and trade restrictions across the world as well as an intensifying border stand-off between India and China, both BRICS members and two of the largest contributors to global GDP expansion.Even as COVID-19 began to take centre stage around the world, the NDB stepped in and committed to a $10 billion Emergency Assistance Program to help BRICS countries tackle immediate health impacts and economic recovery concerns; assistance that would not have existed without the NDB. As the Bank looks ahead to its next five years, it must draw upon and double down on these experiences of successfully operating in an increasingly volatile and multi-polar world.

At the same time, the NDB must also learn from the omissions and lessons of the past five years. As of December 31, 2019, the NDB had committed capital of $15 billion in aggregate, but of this committed capital, only $1.5 billion (or 10%) had been disbursed as cash to projects by the end of 2019. Increasing the rate of utilization of its committed capital must remain a major focus of the Bank in the coming years.

Moreover, even though the NDB has stated its support for sustainable and green infrastructure, it's funding for a Trans-Amazonian highway project (Para Sustainable Municipalities Project) in Brazil has come under scrutiny from environmentalists, who have highlighted the disproportionately negative effects of deforestation in the Amazon as a result of urban development projects in the region. Historically, the Bank has tried to use the socio-environmental standards of the respective borrower nations to approve funding for projects, but it should gradually push to develop an internal set of consistent and transparent compliance standards that ensure that environmental and/or social damages do not begin to outweigh the stated economic benefits of projects. Finally, a large part of the NDB's portfolio of infrastructure projects thus far consist of financing for government-sponsored or government-backed public sector firms in the borrowing countries, with 80% of approvals in 2019 concentrated on "sovereign and sovereign-guaranteed operations".

As the NDB diversifies towards making equity investments and attempts to crowd-in private investments to complement its efforts, it should begin to pivot towards investing in private sector firms and projects in its borrowing countries.

Going forward, one needs to sketch out the short-, medium- and long-run lending priorities for NDB. In the immediate future, there should be an emphasis on building healthcare capacities and national health preparedness for its member nations and other vulnerable countries, with special support towards containment of the spread of COVID-19 and assistance for social and economic recoveries in terms of incomes and jobs.

From a medium-term perspective, investments for reinforcing urban resilience in mega-cities and densely populated agglomerations for mitigation of adverse impacts of air pollution and adaptation to climate change needs to be the focus. In keeping with its current emphasis, a medium to longer-run priority should be on lending support for renewable energy technologies (solar, wind and biomass) to help improve their dissemination in the overall energy mix of the member nations of BRICS and elsewhere. In all of these endeavours, the Bank could attempt to devise mechanisms to elicit public-private partnerships for long-run financial sustainability.

Aashna Mehra is an investor at renewable energy and infrastructure private equity firm in the United States. She received her MBA as a Silver Scholar and Kerry Fellow from Yale and her Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton.

Meeta Keswani Mehra is a Professor of Economics at the Center for International Trade and Development, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
BRICS bank 'working at full speed on supporting economic recovery' of member states amid Covid crisis (VIDEO) (Банк БРИКС поддерживает восстановление экономики стран-участниц в условиях кризиса Covid "на полную мощность" (ВИДЕО)) / Russia, November, 2020
Keywords: ndb, economic_challenges, summit

The Covid-19 pandemic is bringing "unparalleled challenges," but the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) is "rising to the occasion" to tackle the crisis and boost the trade bloc's economic recovery, said NDB President Marcos Troyjo.

Annual BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism Financial Forum was hosted by Russia, to which the BRICS presidency passed this year. It was held as a video conference and chaired by Russian bank VEB.RF's Igor Shuvalov. As well as Troyjo, participants included the president of China Development Bank, Ouyang Weimin; the president of the Brazilian Development Bank, Gustavo Montezano; the chairman of the Development Bank of South Africa, Enoch Godongwana; and the managing director of India's Export-Import Bank, David Rasquinha.

With the coronavirus crisis being the main theme in 2020, Troyjo said, "The bank contributes to the ongoing efforts of our BRICS countries in facing up to the health and economic consequences of Covid."

The NDB has already allocated $10 billion in committed support through its emergency assistance program, of which $5 billion is designed to finance health and social relief, and another $5 billion is targeted at supporting economic recovery.

Troyjo added that four Covid-19 emergency program loans, totaling $4 billion, have already been approved for Brazil, India, China, and South Africa. The bank is currently considering another $1 billion that was requested by Russia, he said.

According to the NDB president, the bank "is working at full speed on supporting economic recovery." The scope of that program includes enhanced credit access to small and medium-sized companies, rural infrastructure to facilitate economic activity and job creation, the restoration of production capacity in key sectors affected by the pandemic, and boosting early economic recovery by financing key infrastructure projects.

Troyjo noted the NDB's "remarkable achievements," and the increase in the number of projects it is supporting. "The NDB loan book now stands at $21 billion, and by the end of this year, we expect approvals to reach $26 billion," he said.

Speaking about the bank's vision for the next five years, he said: "We want to position the NDB as the premier multilateral development institution for emerging economies." He added that there are plans to expand the trade bloc's membership and strengthen the role of the NDB as a platform for international cooperation.

The Shanghai-based NDB, which was established in 2014, provides funding for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging economies. With capital of up to $100 billion, it aims to continue issuing financial products denominated in the local currencies of its member states.

The BRICS Strengthens Economic Ties in the Post-Pandemic Era (БРИКС укрепляет экономические связи в постпандемическую эпоху) / China, November, 2020
Keywords: economic_challenges, summit

The BRICS is forging economic cooperation at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the world economy.

China expects the summits to play "important leading roles" in global efforts to strengthen cooperation in fighting COVID-19, facilitate economic recovery and improve economic governance.

BRICS is the acronym for an emerging-market bloc that groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The bloc set up the New Development Bank (NDB) in 2015 to finance infrastructure projects in the developing world. The Shanghai-headquartered bank has offered much needed assistance in reliving pandemic-induced economic pains.

Leslie Maasdorp, vice president and CFO of the bank, noted that global pandemics demand cross-border solutions.

"Given the fiscal constraints faced by most BRICS countries, the NDB, alongside other multinational development banks, has become a key instrument to complement the governments' limited resources to fight the pandemic," Maasdorp commented in a July blog post.

NDB repurposed its lending program in helping BRICS members fight the pandemic. The bank announced a $10 billion emergency assistance program, which allows fast track disbursements for COVID-19-related loans made as bullet payments within a month of approval. The loan would usually take several months to be disbursed for an infrastructure project.

Trade ties

More than 60 companies from the BRICS bloc showcased their products at the third China International Import Expo (CIIE), taking up exhibition area of nearly 4,000 square meters.

From January to September, the bilateral trade volume between China and Brazil hit $86.51 billion, a year-on-year increase of 4 percent. In the same period, the trade volume between China and Russia was $78.84 billion, a year-on-year drop of 2 percent, custom data showed.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa congratulated China for hosting the third CIIE, terming it an important event at a time when the world is embarking on the road to economic recovery.

China reiterated that it will continue to open its vast consumer market to the world despite the pandemic. The country is embracing "Double Development Dynamic" strategy, indicating an economic development pattern that takes domestic development as the mainstay, with domestic and international development reinforcing each other.

NDB President Reports to BRICS Leaders, Outlines Priorities for New Development Bank (Президент НБР отчитался перед лидерами БРИКС, обозначив приоритеты Нового банка развития) / China, November, 2020
Keywords: ndb, summit, economic_challenges

On November 17, 2020, Mr. Marcos Troyjo, President of the New Development Bank (NDB), reported on the Bank's achievements and outlined its priorities for the next five-year cycle to the Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa during the 12th BRICS Summit, held in a virtual format.

"In mere five years, we have accomplished what peer institutions took decades to achieve," said Mr. Troyjo. "We are talking about 65 projects totaling USD 21 billion. By the end of this year, we expect approvals to reach USD 26 billion."

Mr. Troyjo noted that the NDB is supporting strategic infrastructure projects, while addressing core developmental needs of its member countries. "We are there to support key infrastructure projects in the BRICS. Logistics, urban development, water and sanitation, energy – core development needs are all within our scope," he said.

The NDB responded to the challenge of providing support to its member countries in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, stated Mr. Troyjo.

"USD 10 billion is our committed support through an Emergency Response Program. The first USD 5 billion are directed to finance health and social relief," said the NDB President. "The second USD 5 billion contribute to boosting economic recovery. Especially, through the creation of jobs that come from infrastructure investment and the support for small and medium-sized enterprises."

"We realize the NDB's outreach is made more effective by the work of our regional offices," highlighted Mr. Troyjo. "This has been our experience in the Americas Office in Brazil and the Africa Center in South Africa. They are soon to be followed by the Eurasian Center in Moscow, recently ratified by the Russian Parliament, as well as our Indian Regional Office".

In his speech, Mr. Troyjo also underlined that the NDB had made important strides forward in the membership expansion of the Bank. "Negotiations are well under way. I am confident we will be able to announce new members very soon," he added.

Mr. Troyjo also laid out priorities for the New Development Bank's work in the next five years.

"We want to position the NDB as a premier development bank for emerging economies. And we will play a leading role in the conversation on what development policy means in the 21st century," said the NDB President.

The NDB will make progress in membership expansion in a gradual and responsible way, added Mr. Troyjo.

"We will increase the complexity and outreach of our operations. This is key as the concept of infrastructure evolves to encompass both traditional challenges and those presented by the economy 4.0," stated Mr. Troyjo.

The NDB's President also noted the importance of making NDB a talent-intensive institution and strengthening the Bank's role as a platform for international cooperation, where member countries come together and work constructively on issues of shared interest.

Background information

The NDB was established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to mobilize 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.

World of Work
HITs Student is a BRICS Worldskills Champion in Mobile Development (Студент HITs - чемпион мира BRICS Worldskills в области мобильной разработки) / India, November, 2020
Keywords: social_issues, rating

Denis Sharapov, a student at the TSU Higher IT School (HITs), became the best Russian mobile application developer at the BRICS Future Skills Challenge Competition – an international championship for promising professional skills. His rivals were developers from Russia, India, China, and Brazil.

– There was a rather difficult task at the championship, as close as possible to the tasks that developers face in their daily work. The participants had to develop a sports mobile application that would record the results of practice and check the progress. Participants received mock-ups of the application and the documentation necessary to work with the server part, – says Lidia Ivanova, TSU teacher, deputy chief expert of the championship.

As the expert emphasizes, the participants from Russia stand out well. But in other countries, mobile app development is also developing very quickly. The World Championship was postponed to 2022, so it's too early to talk about participation at the . But the good result in a competition of such a high rank is an excellent reason to participate in the qualifications for the national team.

In August 2020, Denis Sharapov won the All-Russian competition of professional skills "Best in Profession". He received the title of the best developer of web and multimedia applications in the Russian Federation and was among the winners of the Leaders of Digital Transformation 2020 hackathon at the Moscow Mayor Prize as part of a team of four HITs students.
BRICS Business Council promotes cooperation (Деловой совет БРИКС способствует сотрудничеству) / Russia, November, 2020
Keywords: business_council, cooperation

Just days after the heads of state of the the BRICS countries convened their 12th Summit online, hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the bloc's Business Council also met virtually in St Petersburg, and highlighted the strong multilateral relations between business communities in the alliance,

But members said awareness about the alliance should be boosted in a period of increased economic and trade volatility.

Busi Mabuza, the chairperson of the South African Chapter of the BRICS Business Council, said it is quite clear that global cooperation and stability is critical to the recovery of global, regional, and national economies.

The South African economy suffered a 17.6 per cent year-on-year (y/y) decline in the second quarter. Only India among the BRICS had a more severe contraction with a 23.9 per cent y/y slump. Brazil has an economic structure similar to South Africa and it suffered a 11.4 per cent y/y decrease as it the lockdown in that country was not as severe as South Africa's.

Russia had a 8.0 per cent decrease, while China's economy grew by 3.2 per cent y/y in the second quarter. A more appropriate comparison for China would be the first quarter as it imposed selected lockdowns then after the COVID-19 virus emerged in Wuhan. In the first quarter, the Chinese economy fell by 6.8 per cent y/y.

In a session on opportunities for sustainable development, delegates agreed on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stimulate economic recovery, and create new jobs. The new economic development models that have emerged during the global Covid-19 pandemic can be further scaled up with a strong focus on sustainable transport corridors, new and more efficient materials for building and construction and greater innovation to increase agricultural yields. In particular, recent experience in South Africa in the field of renewable energy uptakes were held up as best practices for other BRICS members.

The delegates said that areas of cooperation within the BRICS alliance exist in fields such as green growth opportunities, energy storage, electric transport, and solar thermal power. The Business Council called for greater trust between private and public sector entities to foster better collaboration and create an environment that supports more seamless contract enforcement and dispute resolution, so that the move to the Fourth Industrial Revolution would be able to facilitate international industrial cooperation and reduce the impact of the distance factor, particularly in the transport and logistics sectors by embracing a digital economy.

The BRICS Business Council was created in 2013 at the South African summit in Durban to strengthen and promote economic, business and trade ties among the business communities in the member countries. The St Petersburg summit this year was an important next step to strengthen relationships and identify immediate and innovative opportunities for future cooperation.

BRICS Expert Round Table on Anti-Corruption Education and Training (Круглый стол экспертов БРИКС по вопросам антикоррупционного образования и обучения) / Russia, November, 2020
Keywords: expert_opinion, fas, social_issues

On 1 December, the BRICS Expert Round Table on Anti-Corruption Education and Training under the Russian BRICS Chairmanship will take place in a virtual format.

Anti-corruption education and training are key to preventing and detecting corruption effectively. However, recent reports of the United Nations highlight that all countries across continents face such challenges as relatively little attention to anti-corruption education programmes, lack of a culture of integrity in some parts of the public sector and frequent failure of business ethics.

This is why Russia has identified anti-corruption education as a priority of its BRICS Chairmanship in 2020. The BRICS already have a standing cooperation in the field which is to be reinforced by expert support and knowledge.

The Round Table on Anti-Corruption Education and Training to be held on the occasion of the forthcoming International Anti-Corruption Day will focus on good practices and common challenges of the BRICS in three strictly intertwined areas: raising public awareness about corruption, anti-corruption education in universities and training for anti-corruption practitioners and officials. The detailed programme of the event is provided below.

DATE: 1 December 2020

TIME: from 11 a.m. GMT to 2 p.m. GMT



Welcome and introduction.

Chair: H.E. Andrey Avetisyan, Ambassador-at-Large for International Anti-Corruption Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian Federation – Chair of the BRICS Working Group on Anti-Corruption Cooperation.

Session One. Raising public awareness about corruption.

Moderator: Mr. Vijayendra Bidari, Deputy Director, International Police Cooperation Unit, Central Bureau of Investigation, India.


  • Mr. Michael Seloane, Commissioner, Office of Public Service Commission, South Africa;
  • Gen. Aslan Yusufov, Deputy Director, Department for Supervision over Enforcement of Anti-Corruption Legislation, Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation, GRECO Bureau Member.

Incorrect to have a myopic view of corruption. It is myopic to limit the effort of combating corruption to merely making laws or creating institutions. Despite having the most stringent laws and punishments, despite creation of plethora of anti-corruption institutions, it is undeniable that the menace of corruption continues to raise its ugly head and torment every facet of society.

True cost of corruption to socio-economic and political development of society is enormous. The 'True Cost' of corruption is enormous in terms of damage to socio-economic fabric of society and perpetrates grave injustice on the general population. A worrisome scenario seems to be emerging with continued prevalence of corruption and its tolerance in society. Corruption cannot be allowed to become a 'new normal' in society especially considering its severe degenerative effects on every aspect of our socio-economic and political development of nations.

Fight against corruption needs to become a mass movement in society. The fight against corruption can only be successful if the fight goes beyond the public offices, enforcement agencies and courts. The fight against corruption has to be fought in our homes, in our families, in our communities, in our colleges and neighbourhoods. People will raise their voice against corruption only if they are empowered with the right knowledge to know what constitutes corruption and awareness of what constitutes an infringement of their right to live with dignity in a corruption free environment. Once the level of awareness against corruption reaches a critical mass, society will coalesce into a mass movement and rid itself of corruption.

Issues for discussion:

  • Are we doing enough to create awareness of corruption in the general public?
  • Do we have the right framework to create awareness against corruption in the general public?
  • What are the way forward and future steps in creation of awareness against corruption in the general public?
Session Two. Anti-corruption education in universities.

Moderator: Dr. Xiumei WANG, Professor of Law, Beijing Normal University, China.


  • Mr. Atul Singh, Additional Secretary, Central Vigilance Commission, Government of India;
  • Dr. Benni Lekubu, Senior Lecturer and Anti-Corruption Subject Matter Expert, College of Law, University of South Africa.

Corruption is a global challenge which may negatively impact economic growth and sustainable development of not only the BRICS countries, but also the international society as a whole. As we all know, in recent years the BRICS countries have made great efforts to fight against corruption in various ways, and following SDG 16 to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all and to make the world safer and cleaner. Anti-corruption education plays a fundamental role as such.

Issues for discussion:

  • Experience-sharing in anti corruption education in BRICS countries' universities.
  • Teaching anti-corruption courses in BRICS countries' universities.
  • Discussion of special programmes.
Session Three. Training for anti-corruption practitioners and officials.

Moderator: Mr. Alexey Konov, Director for Anti-Corruption Policy, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia.


  • Mr. Marconi Costa Melo, General Coordinator of International Legal Cooperation in Criminal Matters, Ministry of Justice and Public Security, Brazil;
  • Mr. Paul Daniel, Additional Secretary, Central Vigilance Commission, Government of India;
  • Mr. Busani Ngcaweni, Principal of National School of Government, South Africa.

For anti-corruption reforms to be successful, it is not enough to issue comprehensive legislation. No less important is to ensure that both employees of anti-corruption agencies and public officials subject to anti-corruption restrictions and prohibitions understand well the requirements of the law and know how to relate them to real life.

One of the most important means of achieving this goal is professional training of public officials. And the larger the anti-corruption reforms carried out in the country are, the broader the range of public officials they affect, the more important training becomes.

However, organizing professional training on anti-corruption issues is a challenging task. Finding an appropriate balance between theory and practice in curricula, determining the optimal duration and methods of training, ensuring the quality of training throughout the country - all these and many other difficult issues must be resolved to create an effective system of anti-corruption professional training.

With this in mind, it is surprising that professional training on anti-corruption issues is much less discussed in the literature than other anti-corruption tools. There are practically no materials by international organizations on the topic of anti-corruption professional training. Meanwhile, each country has its own experience in this field. We believe that comparative analysis could be highly beneficial both to the BRICS countries and beyond.

Issues for discussion:

  • Does your country have a centralized training system for anti-corruption practitioners and (or) public officials subject to anti-corruption restrictions?
  • What is the main focus of the curricula: specific anti-corruption rules and regulations, or more general issues such as history, causes and consequences of corruption, or both?
  • How is quality of anti-corruption training throughout the country ensured? What in your opinion are the possibilities for strengthening cooperation among the BRICS countries in this field?
Expected outcome and follow-up.

Common challenges and opportunities for strengthening BRICS cooperation in the field identified in the course of the event along with the recommendations of the participants will be reflected in a focused strategic document by the Russian Chairmanship in the BRICS Working Group on Anti-Corruption Cooperation. The outcome will also lay the basis for the programmes of two special projects initiated and financed by the Russian Federation under its BRICS Presidency:

  • workshop for university educators "Enhancing Capacity to Teach Anti-Corruption, Integrity and Ethics", organized by UNODC under the auspices of the Education for Justice Initiative (Vienna, 2021);
  • BRICS tailor-made "train the trainer" course in the International Anti-Corruption Academy (Laxenburg, 2021).
Participants of the Round Table will be eligible to take part in these expert initiatives.

Please note, a link to the Zoom conference will be provided to registered participants two hours prior to the starting time.

For any queries you may have please contact us at


BRICS Umbrella to Increase India, Russia Collaboration on Artificial Intelligence (БРИКС расширяет сотрудничество Индии и России в области искусственного интеллекта) / India, November, 2020
Keywords: innovations, cooperation

The organizers of the Russian govt back mega Artificial intelligence event have said that they see increase collaboration between Indian and Russian companies under the BRICS umbrella.

First Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board, Sberbank and Alexander Vedyakhin told WION that, "R&D in AI is gaining momentum in Russia and India as both countries aspire to gain leading positions in the global market. Close interaction within BRICS could give an additional impetus to future joint AI projects between Russia and India as the two countries share a time-tested strategic partnership. "

Sberbank, the largest bank of Russia is the main organizer of the "artificial intelligence journey" event that will take place in December and will see considerable Indian participation.

Alexander Vedyakhin said,"India tops the list of foreign participants at the international artificial intelligence conference AIJ-2020, to be held online December 3-5. This is yet another manifestation of the untapped potential of cooperation between Russia and India in this high-tech field. I am quite confident that by joining effort we can achieve tremendously great results"

3 Indian origin speakers will also speak at the event this year. The event was inaugurated by Russian President Vladimir Putin last year and saw the participation of 9,000 participants from around the world.

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