Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 32.2021
2021.08.09 — 2021.08.15
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Russian agency notes BRICS, South Asian states demand for cooperation with country's firms (Российское агентство отмечает потребность стран БРИКС и Южной Азии в сотрудничестве с фирмами страны.) / Russia, August, 2021
Keywords: cooperation, economic_challenges

According to Svetlana Chupsheva, 40 Russian projects entered new markets and became winners of international contests and ratings last year only

MOSCOW, August 11. /TASS/. The Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) sees the demand for cooperation with Russian companies in BRICS and South Asian states, General Director of the Agency Svetlana Chupsheva told a press conference on Wednesday.

"We see the demand of BRICS and South Asian states for cooperation with Russian companies, Russian technologies on formation of new partnership alliances and new technological solutions, new education standards, the development of joint solutions on <...> key issues related to climate changes, issues of people's life quality, tackling poverty, supporting demography, urban environment development, issues connected with investment climate development, new digital economy regulation. <...> We are ready for a partnership alliance with other countries," she said.

Moreover, there is a platform on promotion of Russia's best practices, technological and innovation solutions abroad in the ASI, Chupsheva said, adding that last year only, despite the difficult COVID year, 40 projects entered new markets, became winners of international contests and ratings.

Valedictory Address by Shri Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Secretary (CPV & OIA) & BRICS Sherpa at the BRICS Academic Forum 2021 (Поздравительное слово Шри Санджая Бхаттачарьи, секретаря (CPV & OIA) и шерпа БРИКС на Академическом форуме БРИКС 2021) / India, August, 2021
Keywords: speech, think_tank_council, top_level_meeting

Dr. Samir Saran, Dr. Sachin Chaturvedi, Academics and Analysts from the BRICS Community,

1. It has been my pleasure to have followed the journey of the BRICS Academic Forum through the last few months. Some of you may recall that in April, at the launch of the BRICS Academic Forum process 2021, I had conveyed that we (i.e. the BRICS Sherpas) would lean on you for innovative ideas to carry forward the BRICS aspirations and to strengthen its global impact and relevance. The Minister for External Affairs also referred to it in his inaugural address to the Forum.

2. BRICS Academic Forum, since its inception in 2009, has been instrumental in enhancing cooperation in research and capacity building among academic communities of BRICS countries. The Forum has deliberated on the most pressing development issues faced by BRICS countries- issues of economic growth, investment and infrastructure, cooperation and sustainable development; challenges of technology, digitalisation and big data; emerging opportunities in food and health security and education. You always came up with useful recommendations for the BRICS leadership. The BRICS Think Tank Council, established in 2013, helped in bringing continuity in the deliberations.

3. BRICS finds its roots in the meeting of Foreign Ministers in 2006, held on the margins of UNGA. This is therefore a milestone year for BRICS, we have completed 15 years. It is a moment for celebration and reflection. There have been numerous achievements in BRICS: we are the only plurilateral grouping with a Bank of our own, we have a financial safety net in the Contingent Reserve Arrangement and we are creating a Vaccine R&D Virtual Centre. Tangible intra-BRICS cooperation exists in various sectors, however, cooperation in some areas could have been stronger. 15th anniversary of BRICS is therefore an opportune time to reflect on the achievements and missed opportunities and to visualize the direction we would like BRICS to take, in coming years. The calls for diversity and pluralism are louder, the demands for reform of global governance and multipolarity are stronger and BRICS is at the heart of it.

4. I understand that BRICS Academic Process, through the last few months, has delved on various issues of importance for BRICS cooperation including multilateralism, international security, digitalization, climate change, gender and SDGs. I have listened very carefully to all your suggestions. We strongly value your insights as we take forward intra-BRICS cooperation.

5. During our Chairship in 2021, we have tried to strengthen intra-BRICS cooperation under the overall theme of BRICS@15: Intra BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus with 4 priorities -reform of the multilateral system, counter terrorism cooperation, technological and digital solutions to SDGs and people-to-people cooperation.

6. In June, this year, our Foreign Ministers issued a Joint Statement on Reforming and Strengthening of the Multilateral System. We have reached agreement, at experts level, on concluding a BRICS Counter Terrorism Action Plan to enhance practical BRICS cooperation in this area.

7. During this year we have tried to assimilate digital and technological solutions for the achievement of SDGs in the context of various BRICS mechanisms. We hope to come up with a BRICS portal for Digital Public Goods. The BRICS Agriculture Research Platform, another digital platform, will address issues related to sustainable agricultural development, hunger, poverty, nutrition, climate resilience, etc.

8. Some other important outcomes that are expected to be achieved in the coming weeks include the BRICS Agricultural Cooperation Action Plan 2021-24; Innovation Action Plan 2021-24; Cooperation on Disaster Resilience; and Cooperation in Digital Health and Traditional Medicine. Agreement among BRICS Space Agencies for BRICS Satellite Constellation is expected to be signed and the Mutual Customs Assistance Agreement is also likely to be concluded. Hence, we have had an active and fruitful year thus far in the BRICS pillars of Political and Security and Economic and Financial cooperation.

9. It has always been India's endeavor to enhance People-to-People and Cultural exchanges, which constitutes the third pillar of BRICS cooperation. This pillar not only adds flavour and vitality to the movement but also deepens the quality of our relations and interactions. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had especially called for strengthening of this pillar of BRICS cooperation. BRICS Games, Youth meetings, Film Festivals, Business Council & Forum, Women's Business Alliance, Academic Forum, Think-Tank Council, Civil Forum, Young Scientist Forum, Parliamentarians meetings, etc are now regular P2P mechanisms. BRICS Ministers for Culture, Youth Affairs, Sports, Tourism also meet regularly to strengthen cooperation in the areas.

10. As I mentioned, we have used the opportunity of our Chairship to embark on an exercise to consolidate intra-BRICS cooperation and to streamline processes. As part of this exercise we have revisited the Terms of Reference of BRICS mechanisms and agreed to update the document. We had requested the Indian representatives at the Academic Forum to review the major decisions taken in BRICS, including the MoUs and Agreements signed, and to prepare a report on their implementation status. I am told that work on that document is presently ongoing and we can expect a detailed report in coming weeks.

11. This will be a good beginning. Unlike many other plurilateral groupings, BRICS does not have a dedicated secretariat. While each rotating Chairship takes upon itself the responsibility of secretariat functions, availability of historical data relating to BRICS decisions, under its numerous tracks, remains a challenge for all BRICS partners. As we have a vibrant academic community in BRICS, it may be useful to have our Academic Process act as a repository of documents, reports and information on BRICS, perhaps is the form of a BRICS portal.

12. The BRICS Academic Forum has provided a stage for deliberations and discussions among the leading academic institutions of BRICS countries on issues of common interest. I am glad that the forum continues to strengthen dialogue, floats new ideas and proposes solutions on numerous issues of global significance.

13. This year's deliberations, at the BRICS Academic Track, have provided interesting perspectives on these issues. These issues are critical for the future of mankind and the responsibility that BRICS countries bear in this regard. We are at a unique crossroad and the Covid pandemic has brought these issues into sharper focus. The deliberations in the academic circles have laid the groundwork and set the aspirational levels for agreement that we governments can expect to achieve in coming times.

14. I believe we need to challenge ourselves continuously and work together, towards expanding common ground while reducing differences, for making real progress in intra-BRICS cooperation. This will send a strong message to the global community and will boost the standing of BRICS in international affairs. I am confident that with the support of our BRICS academic partners, we will be able to achieve this goal through dialogue and consensus.

15. I thank you all for your participation and would like to use this opportunity to thank Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) for their masterly steering of the BRICS Academic Process in 2021.

16. I will make sure your valuable suggestions are circulated to fellow BRICS Sherpas and is also brought to the knowledge of BRICS Leadership.

I thank you.
S. Africa to seek opportunities on BRICS Business Forum (Южная Африка будет искать возможности на бизнес-форуме БРИКС) / China, August, 2021
Keywords: economic_challenges, cooperation

JOHANNESBURG, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- South Africa would use the the BRICS Business Forum to showcase what the country can offer, improve confidence and attract investment, said an official on Friday.

Busi Mabuza, chairperson of the Chairperson of the South African chapter of the BRICS Business Council, said the country intended to use the opportunity presented by the BRICS Business Forum to showcase new possibilities and opportunities within the regions.

"In an environment where sentiment globally is bearish, when the pause button is pressed by many investors, we want to make sure that opportunities in BRICS stand out," she said.

India will host the BRICS Business Forum virtually on Aug. 16-18.

Mabuza said she will go with captains of industry from various sectors to lure investors into the country.

She explained that in the Forum they want to identify challenges and opportunities to ensure greater economic, trade and investment ties amongst the BRICS countries.

Mabuza expressed confidence in BRICS countries' capability to drive economic development amongst those countries.

"There is a consensus amongst our partners that there are opportunities in our economies to unlock growth and allow for development. Our conviction is that we have to massively mobilize all the resources at our disposal and accelerate economic activities that will put the BRICS economies on a journey towards a sustainable recovery trajectory," she said. Enditem

BRICS Partnership for Strengthening Agro Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Security (Партнерство БРИКС по укреплению агробиоразнообразия для обеспечения продовольственной безопасности и безопасности питания) / India, August, 2021
Keywords: cooperation, chairmanship, economic_challenges

Joint Declaration of the Eleventh Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Agriculture discussed

The Ministers of Agriculture of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa deliberated virtually on the theme "BRICS Partnership for Strengthening Agro Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Security".

The implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development noted that BRICS countries are well positioned to take a leading role in helping to achieve the objectives of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate hunger and poverty. The strong agricultural research base in BRICS countries and the need to harness and share knowledge, facilitate transfer of technologies from lab to land to provide improved solutions for enhanced productivity, especially in the face of climate change, maintaining agro biodiversity and ensuring sustainable use of natural resources was acknowledged.

BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Agriculture Research Platform has been developed by India to promote cooperation in the areas of agricultural research, extension, technology transfer, training and capacity building. The intention to make the BRICS Agriculture Research Platform functional and encourage research cooperation to improve the use and application of agricultural technologies for meeting the needs of producers and processors was also expressed.

The Joint declaration of the eleventh meeting of BRICS and Action Plan for 2021-24 for agricultural cooperation of BRICS countries and BRICS Agriculture Research Platform were discussed in depth. This BRICS Working Group meeting will endorse the Action Plan of 2021-24 for adoption in BRICS meeting.

Shri Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri. Abhilaskha Likhi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare and Ms. Alaknanda Dayal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare attended the virtual meeting of the BRICS working group held on 12 -13 August 2021 at Sushma Swaraj Bhawan, New Delhi.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
NDB to Add Four New Members as Multilateral Looks to Grow (NDB добавит четырех новых членов в рамках развития многосторонности / United Kingdom, August, 2021
Keywords: ndb, cooperation
United Kingdom

The New Development Bank will add at least four new member countries next month, with the likes of Bangladesh and Egypt leading the charge to join. A concerted focus on ESG and more private-sector lending are also on the cards for the Shanghai-based multilateral.

Co-owned by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – the five original Brics nations – the Shanghai-based multilateral is poised to add up to five new member countries to its fold by the end of September.

The NDB's boards of directors and governors, including its president Marcos Troyjo, met on July 19 to decide on the pace of expansion of the six-year-old institution.

Four countries – a mix of nations from Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa – will definitely join during the next six to eight weeks, with a fifth addition a distinct possibility.

The new members will tick a number of boxes. They will be big and active borrowers from the IMF or the World Bank – in some cases both – and will have a substantial infrastructure deficit in areas such as 5G wireless telecommunications.

Bangladesh is widely tipped to become a new member of the NDB next month. Another strong candidate for inclusion in the expanded multilateral is Egypt, which has made huge strides since it secured an IMF bailout five years ago.

World of Work
2nd Meeting of the BRICS Task Force on PPP and Infrastructure (Второе заседание Комитета старших должностных лиц в сфере энергетики БРИКС2-е заседание Целевой группы БРИКС по ГЧП и инфраструктуре) / India, August, 2021
Keywords: top_level_meeting

India hosted the second meeting of the BRICS Task Force on PPP and Infrastructure under India's 2021 Presidency. India was represented by Shri. Baldeo Purushartha, Joint Secretary (Head of the Indian Delegation and Chair), Ms. Archana Mayaram, Director and Ms. Shreshtha Saraswat from Infrastructure Policy & Finance Division, Ministry of Finance. Ministry of Finance delegates from Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa attended the meeting. NDB also participated in the meeting as an Observer. The agenda of the meeting was to seek member's views on the draft Technical Report on 'Social Infrastructure: Financing and Use of Digital Technologies' which has to be prepared as per the mandate assigned to the Task Force by the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. During his inaugural address, Shri. Purushartha apprised the members of the progress made so far with regards to the preparation of the Report and also reiterated the importance of submitting a consensus-based document for endorsement of the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in their August meeting. Ms. Mayaram presented the key findings of the draft Report. Member countries and NDB appreciated and supported the Presidency's initiative and recognized the importance of collaboration and knowledge sharing in the social infrastructure space.
BRICS Second Meeting of Committee of Senior Energy Officials (Второе заседание Комитета старших должностных лиц энергетики БРИКС) / India, August, 2021
Keywords: top_level_meeting

The Republic of India under its BRICS Presidency for the year 2021 organized the Second meeting of Committee of Senior Energy Officials on 11-12 August 2021. Bureau of Energy Efficiency under the aegis of Ministry of Power hosted the meeting through video conferencing. The two-day event saw participation by senior energy officials and delegates from all the BRICS members countries. On Day-1, Secretary (Power), Government of India delivered the keynote address to the BRICS Member countries and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Power provided the welcome remarks. The meeting started with discussion on draft Communique for the BRICS Energy Ministers meeting. Representatives from BRICS countries gave elaborative inputs on the structure and content of the draft Communique. Based on these inputs, the presidency revised the Communique. The session was moderated by Director General, Bureau of Energy Efficiency. On Day-2, the delegates from BRICS countries presented their views on the involvement of youth into energy cooperation for research and development activities. On behalf of the Presidency, International Solar Alliance and TERI School of Advanced Studies presented the potential areas for energy cooperation among BRICS countries. During the second session, India presented the findings of the presidency outcome documents i.e., BRICS Energy Technology Report and BRICS Energy Report, based on information provided by BRICS countries. Representatives from member countries agreed to adopt the outcome of the study during the BRICS Energy Ministers meetings to be held on September 2, 2021. Senior energy officials from BRICS countries agreed to provide inputs on the final communique for adoption by the Energy Ministers of BRICS countries during their meeting. The Concluding Remarks and Vote of Thanks was given by Director (IC), Ministry of Power, Govt. of India.
Seventh Meeting of the BRICS Working Group on Security in the Use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) (Седьмое заседание Рабочей группы БРИКС по безопасности при использовании информационно-коммуникационных технологий (ИКТ)) / India, August, 2021
Keywords: digital, cooperation, top_level_meeting

The Seventh Meeting of the BRICS Working Group on Security in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) was held on 12 August in virtual mode under the Chairship of India. Mr. Atul Malhari Gotsurve, Joint Secretary (Cyber Diplomacy), Ministry of External Affairs chaired the Meeting. Senior officials from relevant Ministries, Departments and agencies from BRICS countries participated in the Meeting. The delegations discussed various aspects of cooperation between BRICS countries with respect to the security in the use of ICTs and exchanged views on wide range of matters related to cybersecurity and cybercrime.
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