Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 41.2021
2021.10.11 — 2021.10.17
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Will China Stand in the Way of Global Health? (Будет ли Китай стоять на пути глобального здравоохранения?) / United States, October, 2021
Keywords: expert_opinion, social_issues
United States
Author: Jim O'Neill

As the current president of the G20, Italy has taken up a proposal to create a Global Health Board, modeled on the highly successful Financial Stability Board that was created in response to the 2008 financial crisis. By opposing the idea, China is showing that it isn't ready for global leadership.

LONDON – Last month, I lamented that the leaders of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) seem incapable of agreeing on coordinated policies that would benefit their own economies and the world. Now, I want to focus on a specific example that helps to illustrate the BRICS' role – and that of China, in particular – in weakening global governance.

Since this time last year, I have been a commissioner on the World Health Organization's independent Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development, which is chaired by former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. In our final report, published last month, one of our central and most exciting recommendations was for the G20 to create a new Global Health Board (GHB), following the successful model of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) that was established in response to the 2008 financial crisis.

After lying mostly dormant since its creation in 1999, the G20 sprang to life in 2008-09, proving to be the ideal body for managing the global financial crisis. Because it brought together all the important "emerging economies," including the BRICS, Argentina, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, it was the most significant positive development in global governance so far this century.

At the G20's initial 2008 meeting, the participants agreed to introduce the forerunner of the FSB, a body composed primarily of G20 central bankers and finance ministers. This new body's primary function would be to ensure that the global financial system was capitalized sufficiently to prevent anything like the 2008 crisis from happening again. In essence, this meant that a bank's capital should be there to support its customers, not the bank itself.

Importantly, the establishment of the FSB did not require any new organization or structure. Country representatives who were already in place were simply used more efficiently to carry out a specific, clearly articulated task. And because it was not created merely to serve the G20 members' needs, the FSB soon came to include representatives from many non-G20 emerging economies.

There are direct parallels with the current global health crisis. It is obvious that the world needs a more effective health surveillance system to minimize the likelihood of another pandemic. It is equally obvious that the world needs an emergency financing system that can be activated immediately in response to global threats from viruses or other dangerous pathogens.

Having led the United Kingdom's independent Review on Antimicrobial Resistance – which warned that AMR could cause ten million deaths per year and cumulative losses of $100 trillion by 2050 – it has long been clear to me that existing public-health and financial institutions are not oriented to monitor global-scale health risks. Establishing a GHB to focus wholly on this issue thus seems like a no-brainer.

Ultimately, the world might even need a Global Public Goods Board, whose remit would include not just public-health threats but also issues such as climate change. For now, though, a body to address the catastrophic loss of life and ongoing economic disruptions from COVID-19 is urgently needed.

As with the FSB, the GHB would not require that any new organization be created. It would be staffed by people who are already in place working on the relevant issues in national ministries of health and finance. It would also include key representatives from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the WHO, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Environment Programme, and perhaps several important NGOs such as the Global Fund.

My co-panelists and I have been pleased to see our GHB proposal enthusiastically endorsed by many G20 members, not least the United States, the UK, the European Union, and Japan. The idea also has been tentatively accepted by the WHO. (Indeed, one of the GHB's prerogatives would be to help strengthen the WHO, possibly by extending its financing beyond voluntary contributions.) And, best of all, it is my understanding that Italy, the current G20 president, will formally put the proposal on the agenda.

Yet, despite substantial support, the proposal is being opposed by the BRICS, starting with China. While China's sensitivities to questions about the origin of the coronavirus are well known, and while global governance among countries with vastly different political and economic structures is never easy, it is hard to understand why China would oppose a GHB.

In the spirit of not letting a crisis go to waste, the GHB could put the world – especially emerging economies – on a better footing. If China wants to be treated with the respect it craves, it needs to be more open to constructive dialogue about issues that affect all 7.9 billion of us. The more it focuses on its own narrow concerns, the worse off its own people – and the legitimacy of its leaders – will be.

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
The shift to a multipolar world: Is the US increasingly isolated? (Переход к многополярному миру: становятся ли США все более изолированными?) / China, October, 2021
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues

Editor's note: Bobby M. Tuazon is the director for policy studies of a Philippine think tank, Center for People Empowerment in Governance and a professor at the University of the Philippines. He is also an editor and co-author of 15 books. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily those of CGTN.

At no time is the contradiction between superpower unilateralism and multipolar world momentum been sharper than today. This is shown by the US's shove toward expanding its alliance system with greater emphasis on the military encirclement of China through the new Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) trilateral military alliance and the reactivation of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) between the US, Australia, Japan and India. This new American offensive has aroused resistance from countries in the Asia-Pacific and elsewhere where the option of war has lost steam in favor of the peace and development paradigm.

Economics is uniting many parts of the world, but the US and its few allies try to put a brake to this movement. US policymakers, for instance, see the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as "Beijing's weapon" to push out American influence in the neighboring regions of China. Designed to link many countries through infrastructures, trade and new corridors of industries, the BRI joins 139 countries. Some 63 percent of the world's population lives within the borders of BRI countries.

In the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), whose major trading partner is China, six countries have joined the BRI. Although some countries in the region have military cooperation with the US, ASEAN steers clear of the growing tensions between Beijing and Washington. Such avoidance has deepened in light of ASEAN countries' economic engagement with China and in the midst of the US's resolve to bring them to its side on a belligerent policy against Beijing. ASEAN is developing as an important center of the new multipolar world.

Economic interdependence and collective action also resonate in Eurasia, where China's BRI engages the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in complementary economic activities. A free trade agreement, EAEU comprises Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. The EAEU is in partnership with the BRI since the union covers the majority of territories traversed by the BRI's Silk Road Economic Belt from Central Asia to Europe.

The growing partnership in economic development and security cooperation between China and Russia through the BRI, the EAEU and the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) bloc and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) lays the foundation for the creation of a multipolar world. These economic initiatives and organizations, although not necessarily aligned, represent a significant number of countries, economies and populations encompassing the vast expanse of Eurasia and neighboring regions.

Reacting to the new multipolar formations, the US not only underrates them with malicious innuendoes as representing governments that are "authoritarian" and non-democratic. For years, the major country involved in some of these initiatives – China – has been viciously maligned as an aggressor, a country out to replace the US as a world power in its capacity as the new global hegemon.

Thus, with the decline of its economy, the US's main arsenal in countering China's rise is military power by tightening its military encirclement of China and conducting provocative "freedom of navigation operations" in the South China Sea.

The US also continues to foment tensions in the Taiwan Straits by increasing military aid and arms trade with the separatist clique, thus emboldening the latter to move for independence from the Chinese mainland in violation of the one-China principle. On this note, the US is duplicitous. While it harps on supporting the one-China principle, this voice is easily drowned out by treating Taiwan as a "separate state and ally" with billions of dollars in military aid.

In recent years, the US has tried to push China against the wall through a trade war that sought to drastically reduce its exports to the US coupled with a technology war that has led to the decoupling of Huawei and other IT companies from their American counterparts.

It is not China alone or Russia that has been the target of US restrictions and other unilateral sanctions. As of March this year, tens of countries have been targeted for unilateral sanctions that included visa denials, trade embargoes and frozen assets, which were detrimental to their economies and resulted in medical and food shortages, often with the massive loss of human lives, especially children. The US has been unwavering in the face of international pressure to end its vicious practice of imposing sanctions. The UN resolutions to halt the 60-year trade embargo on socialist Cuba that remain unheeded are a case in point.

The more the US rolls out its hostile agenda of containing China and the rest of the developing countries, the more it finds itself isolated. From the perspective of the developing world, there is nothing to gain and everything to lose in supporting the US's self-centered zero-sum game. Economics unites the world, and war will divide it.

World of Work
BRICS International School (online) (Международная школа БРИКС (онлайн)) / Russia, October, 2021
Keywords: social_issues, cooperation

BRICS International School will take place from November 29 to December 3, 2021 in online format. The programme is organized by the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

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


The main objectives of the programme are:

  • Accumulating intellectual potential of the young experts and introducing new expertise.
  • Developing a professional community of the young experts-BRICSologists.
  • Supporting the best future-oriented projects and studies from BRICS young leaders.
Young scientists and diplomats, journalists, entrepreneurs, Bachelor's and Master's students as well as post-graduates from Russia, Brazil, India, China, South Africa, other countries and regions, aged from 18 to 35, are invited to join this programme.


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

Among the mentors of the programme are top Russian and international experts and practitioners, representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations, ministries and agencies, think tanks with considerable experience in BRICS research.

Due to the epidemiological situation in the world, BRICS International School is to be held online.

Working language is English.

Upon successfull completion of the programme, participants will receive certificates.

Deadline for applicationsNovember 20, 2021.

In case you have any quires or difficulties with online registration please fill in the registration form and forward it to the organizers via e-mail

Successful candidates will be notified by e-mail on November 22, 2021 and invited to take part in BRICS International School.

See you soon online!

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