Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 6.2018
2018.02.05— 2018.02.11
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane delivers closing remarks at the first BRICS Sherpa meeting (Министр Мейт Нкоана-Машабань выступает с заключительной речью на первом собрании Шерп БРИКС) / South Africa, February, 2018
Keywords: foreign_ministers_meeting, speech, top_level_meeting
South Africa

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told the first meeting of BRICS Sherpas and Sous Sherpas meeting Cape Town on 6 February 2018 that the priorities identified by South Africa will help guide BRICS as it enters its second decade of existence. South Africa took over as Chair of BRICS on 1 January 2018 and will host the 10th BRICS Summit in July 2018.

Addressing senior diplomats from all five BRICS countries in the first official meeting hosted by South Africa since taking over the role of Chair, the Minister said: "We believe that the identified priorities will lead to shared prosperity and inclusive growth and we are confident that your deliberations have charted a path towards the realisation of the BRICS developmental agenda in the second decade of BRICS cooperation".

The hosting of the 10th BRICS Summit coincides with the centenary celebrations of democratic South Africa's first President and international icon, Tata Nelson Mandela. President Mandela was a fierce supporter of the developmental agenda of the south, and it is significant that BRICS leaders will meet in South Africa in 2018. All the BRICS members individually and through other international forums such as NAM and the G77+China, played a major role in supporting the struggle for freedom in South Africa.

The Minister announced the launch of the official BRICS Summit website, This digital portal will be the first point of contact for the latest information on the Summit for both domestic and international users. This will include, amongst others, information about BRICS, the member countries, the host country and province, logistics and side events.

South Africa became a member of the powerful bloc, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India and China, in 2011. As the only African country in the bloc, South Africa also represents the voice of the continent. South Africa hosted the Summit for the first time in 2013.

The 2018 Summit will be an important milestone for BRICS cooperation, as it represents a decade of BRICS cooperation at the highest diplomatic level. The Summit will culminate in the adoption of the "Johannesburg Declaration" which will include BRICS' commitments for the year ahead.

Meetings which are scheduled to precede the Johannesburg Summit include the Second BRICS Sherpa meeting and a Meeting of the BRICS Special Envoys for Middle East and North Africa, both in April 2018; the BRICS Think Tank Council (BTTC) meeting in May 2018; and the meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations in June 2018.

Latest information on #BRICS2018 can be accessed via the following media:

For more information, contact Clayson Monyela on 082 884 59974.

Opening Remarks Mr KE Mahoai Director-General: Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Вступительное слово Г-на К.Е. Махоай, Генерального директора Департамента международных отношений и сотрудничества) / South Africa, February, 2018
Keywords: speech, top_level_meeting, foreign_ministers_meeting
South Africa

Your Excellencies, BRICS Sherpas and Sous-Sherpas


Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my sincere honour to welcome you to South Africa for this, the First BRICS Sherpas Meeting under the auspices of South Africa's Chairship. This city that we fondly call the 'Mother City' is steeped in the history of our country. Not far from here is the famous Robben Island, where our great leader Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for eighteen years out of twenty-seven years of incarceration.

The people and government of South Africa have asked the world to join us this year as we mark the centenary anniversary of our beloved Tata Nelson Mandela and, in so doing, to collectively honour the life and legacy of this icon.

Writing in 1993 on the future prospects of South Africa's foreign relations, the late President Mandela reflected on his time on Robben Island, noting, and I quote:

As the 1980s drew to a close I could not see much of the world from my prison cell, but I knew it was changing. There was little doubt in my mind that this would have a profound impact on my country, on the southern African region and the continent of which I am proud to be a citizen. Although this process of global change is far from complete, it is clear that all nations will have boldly to recast their nets if they are to reap any benefit from international affairs in the post-Cold War era.

Today, the BRICS Forum constitutes one of the cornerstones of South Africa's foreign policy, the underpinnings of which were envisioned by President Mandela all those years ago. Moreover, this august institution marks its own notable anniversary this year, as we commemorate the milestone tenth anniversary of BRICS Summitry at the highest diplomatic level and initiate the second cycle of BRICS cooperation.

In the past decade, this Forum has evolved and expanded its mandate beyond the initial economic focus that brought us together, to include political, security, social and other relevant matters. We have established our own viable, credible and internationally comparable financial institutions, namely the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, the New Development Bank and its Africa Regional Centre. In fact, it was here in South Africa in 2013 that our Leaders first deliberated and endorsed these key institutions. I am pleased to hear that representatives from both the NDB and the ARC will be joining you during your deliberations and will give their respective, but complementary views and organisational plans for the further contributions of these institutions.

Through our engagement in BRICS we have worked not only to generate ideas, projects and programmes that are innovative and responsive to the realities that our countries and citizens face; but we have equally focused our efforts on the practical implementation of our ambitions. We have done so in a way that has yielded tangible results.

Despite this, however, we remain conscious that we cannot rest in the comfort of our gains, because there is always more work to be done. Nelson Mandela reminded us of this when he said:

"As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest".

It is with this sentiment in mind that we make concerted efforts to pursue peace and sustainable development on our continent and indeed for the countries of the Global South.

The main pillar in our foreign policy is Africa. From Sanya to Xiamen, we have sought to carry Africa into our BRICS engagements and have found place and resonance for the African Agenda in the BRICS Agenda and, in so doing, we have meaningfully honoured the mandate given to President Zuma by his fellow African Leaders when we initially joined BRICS.

As you would be aware, 2017 saw the launch of the ARC of the NDB in Johannesburg. This institution is a tangible attestation of the manner in which our international partnerships and collaborations can yield solutions that are primed to assist us on the Continent in unlocking our industrial development potential.

We intend to further engender a meaningful and productive interaction between BRICS and our African partners, whilst attempting to contribute to the BRICS institution-building agenda, through the two proposals we have put forward, namely the establishment of a Working Group on Peacekeeping and the Virtual Vaccine Research Platform. We will also, as in 2013, incorporate a Leaders Outreach session that includes our African partners.

Our assimilation into the BRICS Forum in 2011 was made easier by the fact that we had a shared outlook on the need to advance the interests and practical development of the Global South. We have successfully championed these mutual issues on multiple international platforms and have provided an amplified voice for the Global South on issues of concern, including the reform of the global political and financial architecture.

South Africa's intention from the onset has been to make meaningful and qualitative contributions to the operations and institutions of BRICS. This is reflected in the key proposals that we have put forward for our tenure as BRICS Chair in 2018. We trust that we will receive the full support of our partners, firstly to strengthen these proposals, and secondly to bring these to fruition. Our sector experts will expand on these ideas in further technical detail and provide some of the modalities that are required.

As we jointly forge our way forward, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of the work which you, our trusted Sherpas and Sous-Sherpas, perform in the context of our Forum. It goes without saying that this is the engine of BRICS. Your vital engagement is a microcosm of the discussions amongst our Leaders and is an essential consensus-oriented foundation for the decisions that our Ministers and Leaders endorse. The Xiamen Declaration noted that, our cooperation since 2006 has fostered the BRICS spirit featuring mutual respect and understanding, equality, solidarity, openness, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation, which is our valuable asset and an inexhaustible source of strength for BRICS cooperation.

This sentiment must resonate at all levels of BRICS interaction and I urge you, our Sherpas, to move in unison and in this spirit through your deliberations. I wish you well.

Thank you


[Abstract] Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks and answers to questions at a meeting with the finalists of the Leaders of Russia contest Russian Diplomatic Leadership in Today's World, Sochi, February 7, 2018 (Отрывок выступления Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова перед финалистами конкурса управленцев «Лидеры России» на тему «Современный мир и дипломатическое лидерство России» и ответы на вопросы, Сочи, 7 февраля 2018 года) / Russia, February, 2018
Keywords: speech, sergey_lavrov, mofa

Our unconditional priorities include deepening Eurasian integration. Chaired by Russia this year, the Eurasian Economic Union is picking up momentum. It already has several dozen partners who are interested in creating free trade areas with the EAEU, or concluding cooperation agreements.

Cooperation is getting stronger within the Union State of Russia and Belarus, the CIS and the CSTO, which promotes stability in Eurasia and helps counter international terrorism, drug trafficking, and illegal immigration. Joint work has been established with the CSTO countries at international venues, including coordination of positions in the UN and the OSCE.

For us, the Asia-Pacific region is a strategic priority for the rest of the 21st century, as President Vladimir Putin said. As a Pacific power, Russia will make full use of the vast potential of this region's rapid development, including for lifting the Russian Far East and Eastern Siberia.

Our current relations with China are at their all-time best. The Foreign Ministry is focusing on further strengthening and developing Russia-China foreign policy coordination. Our common policy is aimed at strict compliance with the fundamental norms of international law and the UN Charter, be it in Syria, on the Korean Peninsula, or elsewhere, and plays an important stabilising role in global and regional affairs.

We are expanding strategic partnership with India and Vietnam. We maintain various ties with the overwhelming majority of states in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

We are working to implement President Putin's initiative to form a major Eurasian partnership, which involves the member states of the EAEU, the SCO, and ASEAN. In the long run, this project will also be open to the EU countries.

Notably, the talks on inter-party agreement in Germany ended today. The CDU, the CSU, and the SPD have agreed on coalition principles, such as a focus on promoting a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok. This is Russia's long-standing idea and initiative. I believe it is important and significant that such a statement came from Germany amid the attempts to punish us and to impose more sanctions on us.

In the context of Eurasian integration, we are taking vigorous steps to harmonise the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) with China's One Belt, One Road strategy. An agreement on trade and economic cooperation between the EAEU and China has been coordinated, and agreements on cooperation in trade, investment, and services between the EAEU and ASEAN member countries that were reached in Sochi in May 2016 are being implemented.

Russia, India and China represent a relatively new format, which was initiated by late Yevgeny Primakov, and has been yielding positive results to date. These meetings are held at the level of foreign ministers and industry-specific ministries and departments. This troika gave an impetus to the birth of BRICS.

The activities of the SCO, joined by India and Pakistan last year, are in full swing. The accession of new members has made it an even more effective body. On a separate note, I would like to mention our work at the Group of Twenty, which was formed in 2009-2010. Its formation as an entity that meets annually at the highest level showed that, notwithstanding its desire to retain the leading positions in international affairs, the West has to reckon with the realities of a polycentric world that is taking shape, as the G-20 includes Western G-7 countries and the key countries of the developing world and all BRICS members. The key issues that need to be addressed in the sphere of international finance and international economic relations are first tried out precisely in this format on the basis of the principle of consensus. This is unequivocal recognition of the realities of the emerging multipolar world order.
Press release on Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov's participation in the meeting of BRICS Sherpas and Sous-Sherpas (Об участии заместителя Министра иностранных дел России С.А.Рябкова во встрече шерп и су-шерп государств БРИКС) / Russia, February, 2018
Keywords: mofa, top_level_meeting, foreign_ministers_meeting

On February 4-6, Cape Town (South Africa) hosted a meeting of the BRICS Sherpas and Sous-Sherpas that was attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. This was the first meeting during this year's South Africa BRICS chairmanship.

During an interested and detailed exchange of views, the participants discussed current cooperation and the further deepening of the strategic partnership of the Five in the three key areas of cooperation – policy and security, the economy and finances, and cultural and humanitarian ties. Also discussed were the priorities of South Africa's BRICS chairmanship and the calendar of BRICS events in 2018.

Mr Ryabkov met with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on the sidelines of the meeting. The officials had a sustained discussion on enhancing cooperation and coordination among the Five, including in multilateral venues.

Mr Ryabkov also focused on the issues of BRICS cooperation during his meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister and Brazil's Sherpa in BRICS Henrique da Silveira Sardinha Pinto.
Rivals or partners: The evolution of Sino-India relations (Соперники или партнеры: эволюция китайско-индийских отношений) / China, February, 2018
Keywords: global_governance, social_issues, expert_opinion
Author: He Yafei

A positive relationship between China and India, neighbors and important members of G20 and BRICS, is essential to the reform of global governance as well as the course of globalization.

Amid tensions, competition and disputes between them, some drew immense attention from global media, such as the Donglang standoff last year. The two ancient civilizations are now facing a choice between cooperation or confrontation, inclusiveness or exclusiveness and integration or critical clashes.

These are absolutely critical to the future course of humanity in the 21st century, especially when the world is facing the rise of populism and anti-globalization sentiment.

While forecasting the trajectory of the relationship between two ancient countries, we'd better first take a look at the current global situation as it provides an important context to the bilateral ties we wish to evaluate.

In view of the global changes, there are growing uncertainties arising from the unbalanced distribution of political forces in the world. The rise of populism, parochial nationalism, isolationism and protectionism can be seen penetrating power institutions, and showing no signs of abating.

The polarization of wealth, the division of social classes and political extremism have jeopardized social stability and added uncertainties to the world's future.

The United States, for instance, with the slogan of "American First," has become uneasy with the "Great Convergence." It has also been unwilling to provide public products globally and collaborating to rewrite the rules of international order since Donald Trump assumed the presidency. It is such self-centered policies that create an uncertain future. Therefore, how China and India react will be critical in international relations and global governance.

Besides, geopolitical tensions among countries, such as Russia and the United States, continue to escalate, and the rhetoric of the Thucydides Trap cannot be muted. Regional crises in the Middle East, East Asia and Ukraine, and the rampant growth of terrorism place world peace and stability at risk.

Moreover, the fourth Industrial Revolution, with the frenetic expansion of information technology, is accelerating and the world, despite being challenged by the conundrums of financial crises, asset bubbles, economic imbalance and employment inequality, awaits a new epoch.

In dealing with the problems, the different countries and regions hold different views and work towards different solutions, some positive, others, irrational.

In the past few years, the five member countries of BRICS have contributed more than 50 percent to the world's economic growth. However, instead of being applauded, they have been blamed by the United States for manipulating their currencies and dumping products.

Among those countries, China has been most affected by the anti-dumping investigations and those based on section-301 of the U.S. Trade Act. The United States has done this despite the looming threat of a trade war.

The ideological doctrine dichotomizing the world into "Liberal Democracy" and others still works on the mentality of the Western world that still believes in its superiority and seeks to impose liberalism on the other countries at the expense of color revolutions or even civil wars.

The international environment requires China and India to prioritize the changing of the world order that must become more just, fair and reasonable.

The sustainable and relentless efforts of the two countries can be formed in the following aspects:

First and foremost, the mechanism of international platforms, such as BRICS, G20 and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), can facilitate the development of a political, economic and security framework that can be conducive to the holistic interests not only in Asia, but also the world.

As the two populous countries enjoying pivotal roles in Asia, China and India, are congruent in their efforts to develop the community of shared future and uphold and maintain world peace and stability.

Second, with their increasing involvement in the world economy and global governance, the two countries are consistent in seeking national resurgence.

As the constructor, contributor and reformer of the global economy and global governance, China and India still need to enhance their cooperation because they remain heavily reliant on the developed economies, even though their economic growth rates far exceed the Western countries.

Most China's manufacturers, for instance, remain working in the middle or low end of the industrial chain; meanwhile, India's underdeveloped infrastructures restrict domestic development.

Therefore, the two sides need to prioritize cooperation in a win-win framework.

Like China, India has more than once stressed that the international order and relations based on the age-old Bretton Woods System are outdated in modern society, where the growing voice of developing countries should be heard.

Third, the two countries should enhance their bilateral and multilateral ties to highlight mutual trusts and pass through the labyrinths that trouble South Asia, and Asia and the world as a whole.

Fourth, the "Belt and Road" Initiative is expected to work as an approach to overcome stereotypes, bias and other difficulties that have obstructed bilateral relations, where strategic cooperation should be deepened with effective communication.

In history, the centuries-old Maritime Silk Road gave birth to a far-reaching interconnection and cultural influence between China and India. Today, the India Ocean remains a key route for 50 percent of the containers and 70 percent of the oil transmitted across the globe.

Consistent with China's "Belt and Road" Initiative, India has also made strategic plans inspired by the country's historic legacies, such as, the "Project Mausam," the "Sagarmala National Perspective Plan" and the "Spice Route" Project.

To implement these plans, China and India need enhanced connectivity.

The author is a former Foreign Minister and incumbent senior research fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
South Africa Hosting BRICS 2018: Opportunity for Deepening Trade and Investment Co-Operation (ЮАР принимает БРИКС 2018: возможность углубления сотрудничества в области торговли и инвестиций) / Russia, February, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, economic_challenges, investments, SA_chairmanship
Author: Dr. Irina Z. Yarygina

Dr. Irina Z. Yarygina, Professor of Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Expert of National Committee on BRICS Research (Russia) – special for InfoBRICS

As the world moves towards a multi-lateral world order, as is evident at the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, with systemic shifts in the politics of North America and a post Brexit EU, the BRICS groups of nation is well positioned to provide appropriate leadership and new models in the area of economic development, finance and trade, meeting the SDG's, peace and security, cultural co-operation and respect; and much needed reforms in global financial governance.

Since its formation in 2009, the BRICS group has consolidated and are on the cusp of growth, with more and more nations aiming to join this significant group. South Africa hosts the BRICS summit this year and is in an unique position to leverage massive trade and investment opportunities for itself and the region, as well as new approaches to peace and security that are sustainable.

This comes against the backdrop of uncertain and chaotic trade wars, with the US and post Brexit EU retreating into nationalist and inward looking path and setting up 'fortresses in terms of trade, immigration and social trends' . While formal traditional Aid from Northern nations to Africa are reducing, the BRICS nations offers new and refreshing path for substantive economic, trade and development co-operation.

However, South Africa needs to be decisive and deepen its BRICS trade within BRICS and engage the New Development Bank BRICS Bank for its development needs. Many emerging nations are also aiming for BRICS second tier membership; which means more opportunities – and competition for intra- BRICS resources and finance.

The following key developmental trends are shaping BRICS

a. Development Finance

The recent report by African Development Bank (AfDB) cites and Investment Deficit of $ 130 billion, with a dire need to invest in key economic enablers such as roads, rail, agriculture and energy infrastructure . The New Development Bank (NDB) is a new vehicle that is ideally suited to plug this massive development finance needs of South Africa and potentially other African nations to facilitate African regional integration in line the SADCs Industrialisation agenda.

b. Trade and Investment

Actually, BRICS economic entities contribute to multilateral cooperation, which is supported by governments and financial institutions. Banks play special role in this process. There is no denying the fact, that effective banking strategy depends on accurate assessment of common needs and a search for mutual solutions for increase quality of life. From experience, liberation of financial-economic relations need mutual efforts in investment facilitation, backed by new technologies and harmonization of rules and regulations. Assistance in reaching these goals is the basic task for BRICS governments, which have to use different vehicles.

Some of them are noted by the recent World Trade Organization ( WTO) summit held in Buenos Aires, December 2017. Cooperation in the fields of green, blue economy, e-commerce, fair trade, infrastructural developments, and facilitation for small and medium-sized institutions are of a major interest to BRICS, as well as agricultural projects, energy security and value added manufacturing to enhance industrialization with the main aim - of raising growth ( i.e. GDP), as well as the standard of living of our nations ( Quality of Life and sustainability)

Macro and Micro Economic dynamics within BRICS

From experience, main functions for the public sector are: macroeconomic stabilization, income distribution and resource allocation. The correct approach to solving these problems means reasonable regulation and cooperation in meeting new challenges of rapid globalisation. There is an on-going process of reengineering BRICS cooperation within globalized economic environment. The speed of co-operation depends on macro and microeconomic factors, as well as participation in the global market, supply of products and political support in global and regional fora.

The mutual aim of BRICS governments are linked with economic and social developments aligned to the UN's SDG agenda, as well as successful production, safe and secure banking, financial stability and effective debt management, which is the main feature of stability in the globalized economy. These goals can be reached if it is backed by flexible bank services and mutual projects that appreciate the need for developmental impacts for BRICS nations.

Under a globalized economy and growing co-operation, manufacturers feel pressure from clients that require quality goods and services at a lower price. BRICS - as partners and not competitors are able to solve this varietated problems Sensible regulation of inter-state relationship encourage flexible economic co-operation. In its turn, creation of common legislation, which provides effective banking servicing of BRICS economy, creates a stable foundation for collaboration. The establishment of essential conditions for privilege interaction between credit institutions requires time and political power, but it is worthwhile considering it.

Rating of market demands of BRICS shows that implementation of joint growth programme demands long-term financing, project financing, inclusive of syndicates and constant information flow in all segments of economy. Effective relationships between entities are built on foundation of common economic interests and governmental support of entrepreneurs, dealing in area of international trade, unification of banking activity and policies. In this regard the BRICS Business Council chapters working with Governments and Labour offers a solid platform for social dialogue within BRICS nations, as well as between BRICS group

It is worthwhile mentioning in this respect the financial institutions with BRICS participation, namely the New Development Bank (NDB) - a multilateral development bank established by Brazil, India, China and South Africa in 2014. According to its Status, the Bank supports public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments. Initial authorized capital is 100 Billion. USD, initial subscribed capital - 50 bln. USD, equally distributed among the funding members. The voting power is equal to the number of its subscribed shares in the capital. Its headquarters is in Shanghai, China. NDB objectives are:

i. Promotion of infrastructural and sustainable development projects with a significant development impact in member countries;

ii. Establishment of an extensive network of global partnerships with other multilateral development institutions and national development banks;

iii. Building of a balanced project portfolio, giving a proper respect to their geographic location, financing requirements and other factors.

Since 2015 - the year of starting the activity – NDB has financed the projects for renewable energy (wind, solar, etc.) and green energy in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, as well as infrastructural development in India (upgrading major district roads) and South Africa (transmission of renewable energy). There are also some other on-going infrastructure development projects, etc. We consider that the practical impact of NDB activities will increase and the bank will contribute to the growth of economic ties of member-countries based on common values and goals.

Vehicles for the BRICS financial assistance with SME focus

The practice offers examples of effective collaboration. A long-term strategic alliance suggests cooperation of private and public financial institutions in the field of international trade and to address core challenges of unemployment and skills development. Sound financial management, modernisation of banking technology, BRICS Ratings Agency, BRICS mutual clearing system, usage of national currencies and e-commerce can also contribute to the enlargement of BRICS market. In addition, BRICS banking should be transparent and accessible to customers, regardless of the place of accreditation, if business is executed in the economic environment of our nations. Actually, one of the important trend of bank participation in economic cooperation is Trade & Finance Promotion, which helps to assists customers in selecting contractors for International Cooperation.

Currently, small and medium-sized BRICS enterprises have to apply adverse cooperation schemes, including an advance payment for import. In other cases, foreign trade contracts are prevented by excessive pricing conditions for underwriting and insurance payments.

As the world enters a complex 2018, with many key global events for regions and nations, the BRICS 2018 Summit can be a milestone event for South Africa - and Africa; and fellow BRICS nations stand ready to deepen their co-operation for mutual growth and development through the platforms within BRICS and beyond for an equitable, sustainable and fair world order.

Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
[Abstract] Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks at a ceremony on the occasion of Diplomats' Day, Moscow, February 8, 2018 (Отрывок из выступления Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова на торжественном собрании по случаю Дня дипломатического работника, Москва, 8 февраля 2018 года) / Russia, February, 2018
Keywords: sergey_lavrov, vladimir_putin, speech, top_level_meeting, mofa

We have received many greetings on Diplomats' Day. I would like to read out the message we have received from President Vladimir Putin.

"To the staff and veterans of the Foreign Ministry


I would like to extend my most sincere greetings to you on your professional holiday, Diplomats' Day.

There are many brilliant victories in the centuries-long history of Russian diplomacy and outstanding people who are the pride of the nation. The current Foreign Ministry staff continues to protect the country's interests based on the good traditions of the past.

In the current complicated international situation and amid numerous problems, you are working hard to create favourable foreign policy conditions for Russia's sustainable socioeconomic development and to protect the rights of Russian citizens and compatriots outside Russia.

The central apparatus and foreign offices of the Foreign Ministry are dealing with formidable challenges connected with the development of truly equitable and mutually beneficial cooperation with all our foreign partners. Our continued priorities are to uphold the UN's key role in global affairs, to consolidate the international community in the fight against the terrorist threat and to strengthen the foundations of strategic stability and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The defeat of the main terrorist forces in Syria has created conditions for a peaceful settlement in that country, which the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi has confirmed. Of course, there is still much work ahead to resolve the Syrian crisis and several other regional conflicts.

It is vitally important to continue to promote the further development of mutually beneficial integration processes within the Eurasian Economic Union and to enhance the efficiency of multilateral cooperation organisations, which have been established with proactive contribution from Russia, such as BRICS, the SCO and the CSTO.

I hope that Russian diplomats will continue to work creatively and in earnest. Your achievements are certainly fostered by the broad support given to our foreign policy in Russian society.

I wholeheartedly wish success to the Foreign Ministry employees and health, long life and courage to the veterans.

Vladimir Putin."
Goa government seeks more time to complete probe in 2016 BRICS summit food scam (Правительству Гоа требуется больше времени для завершения расследования мошенничества с питанием на Саммите БРИКС в 2016 году) / India, February, 2018
Keywords: social_issues, food_scam

Panaji: The Goa government led by Chief Minister Manohar Parikkar on Tuesday told the human rights panel that it requires four more weeks to complete the inquiry into the alleged food scam during the BRICS summit held in the state in 2016.

Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma made a representation in this regard before the Goa State Human Rights Commission (GSHRC).

Subsequently, the two-member commission, headed by retired district court judge AD Salkar, adjourned the hearing on the complaint filed by social activist Aires Rodrigues in connection with the scam to 2 April.

Sharma told the GSHRC that the inquiry has been initiated and statements of police officials have been recorded.

He said four witnesses were examined and another four weeks were required to complete the inquiry and submit the report.

On 14 December last year, the GSHRC had asked the chief secretary to submit a detailed report within 45 days and name the erring officials.

The GSHRC, in its order, outlined 28 points to be examined by the chief secretary while conducting the inquiry.

Rodrigues, in his complaint to the GSHRC on 14 October, 2016, submitted that Rs 51.6 lakh was given to a private contractor for the supply of food to the police personnel posted on duty for the BRICS summit.

But, the contract was sub-let to a roadside contractor who prepared the food of substandard quality in the most unhygienic conditions, he alleged.

Rodrigues claimed that insects and cockroaches found their way in the food served to the policemen.
World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
Team India Won the First BRICS Culture Quiz in Durban-South Africa (Команда Индии выиграла первый конкурс культуры БРИКС в Дурбане-ЮАР) / India, February, 2018
Keywords: social_issues, rating

The first Brics culture quiz held from 2nd to 6th February 2018 in Durban mainly wit one knock out round happening in Cape town and it was an event including the participation of visually impaired candidates from 10 countries. It was a great experience for the visually impaired team of India which was represented by Saurabh Pant ( captain and Quizzer on his best) and in this way the experience of standards also upgraded to a better level as the team from these 10 countries faced on various round in which the first one was digital, the second one being the Braille type round and the last knock out round had to be the Mike on round in which the participation was a phenomenal one and so the impact of those who participated in the tournament indeed.

This quiz tournament was organise with the support of the South Africa association of Cultural Group and the South African Quiz federation with support of the other federation of Quiz supported by the all Brics countries and at the end of the day it was a great experience not only in quiz but as a whole organised move. The teams did have great joy with tours to local natural attraction and cultural places being added and the tourism groups also felicitated with great food services, nice stay to offer and also the great cultural hospitality by understanding Blind community in forming the recognition which was the key incentive at first.

However after all the rounds done to the accuracy level and the results being formed, The Indian team came out victorious in the leadership of two good leaders with other quizzers following the chase.

Saurabh Pant led the quiz well with the support of vice captain Nandi Amolkar Shrivastav and both were not only the lasting spheres and Kartike, Shailesh and Anvesha who were the other three quizzers came to the party and chipped in occasionally to make the move unique. India defeated the other 3 final opponents with margins of around 250 points and at the end it was a great experience for all of them as being blind and it is a remarkable journey in South Africa by support and hospitality which is the great impact for the Brics purpose and also for community incentive by all means.
Comprehensive reports, BRICS research materials
Oil volatility and sovereign risk of BRICS (Волатильность нефти и суверенный риск БРИКС) / Netherlands, February, 2018
Keywords: research, economic_challenges
Author: Elie Bouri, Syed Jawad Hussain Shahzad, Naveed Raza, David Roubaud


• Study dependence between crude oil implied volatility shocks and BRICS sovereign risk.

• Examine spillovers in value-at-risk using multivariate regression quantile.

• Oil volatility represents a common risk for oil-exporters and oil-importers.

• Quantile impulse-response function: oil-exporters (oil-importers) are more sensitive to positive (negative) oil shocks.

• Cross-quantilogram: low (high) volatility of oil predicts low (high) sovereign risk at various quantiles and lags.


We study the dependence between oil implied volatility shocks and BRICS sovereign risk from July 2009 to March 2017. First, we examine spillovers in value at risk using multivariate regression quantiles and reveal that oil volatility represents a common risk for oil-exporting and oil-importing BRICS countries. We also employ a quantile impulse-response function and reveal the presence of an asymmetry in the mechanisms of shock transmissions between oil exporters (Russia and Brazil) and oil importers (China and India): the former are more sensitive to positive oil shocks, whereas the latter are more sensitive to negative oil shocks. Second, we measure the directional predictability in the quantiles using the bivariate cross-quantilogram approach and show that in most cases, a low- (high-) volatility of oil market predicts low (high) sovereign risk at various quantiles and lags. Policy implications are discussed.
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