Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum

Monitoring of the economic, social and labor situation in the BRICS countries
Issue 47.2022
2022.11.21 — 2022.11.27
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Four BRICS Nations Call for Developed Countries not to Shift Climate Change Responsibilities onto Developing Countries (Четыре страны БРИКС призывают развитые страны не перекладывать ответственность за изменение климата на развивающиеся страны) / South Africa, November, 2022
Keywords: ecology, top_level_meeting, concluded_agreements
South Africa

At the 27th Conference of Parties at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, four BRICS nations are gravely concerned that developed countries are still not showing leadership or responding with a matching progression of effort.

These countries called for a united, solidarity-based response by developing countries to any unfair shifting of responsibilities from developed to developing countries.

Ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India, and China representing the BASIC Group have met, and in a joint statement issued by the group, they detailed that there has been backtracking on finance and mitigation commitments and pledges by developed countries.

"There has also been a significant increase in the consumption and production of fossil fuels in the past year by developed countries, even as they continue to press developing countries to move away from the same resources. Such double standards are incompatible with climate equity and justice," said the group.

The group also underscored the need for a fundamental transformation and modernisation of the global financial architecture, including a systematic reform of the multilateral development banks to make them fit-for-purpose in supporting sustainable development, and just and equitable transitions.

"The key is to address risk aversion in investing in developing countries, prioritise grant support and dramatically lower the cost and conditionality on borrowing money that places multilateral support out of reach of the majority of the world's population, including in BASIC countries," added the Group.

The group said developed countries must honour their pre-2020 commitments regarding mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation and support provided, without transferring any burden or responsibility to developing countries.

"Developed countries are required to take immediate actions to close the pre-2020 implementation gaps," they said.

The group also emphasised that developed countries need to further enhance the transparency of climate finance.

Xi to visit Saudi Arabia as Prince Salman seeks BRICS membership (Си посетит Саудовскую Аравию, поскольку принц Салман добивается членства в БРИКС) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: brics+, top_level_meeting, xi_jinping

Ahmed Adel, Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher

The upcoming visit of Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia, scheduled for December and prepared for a year, shows that the Gulf kingdom has sidelined American interests for its own and taken the first step towards de-dollarization. According to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, strengthening trade ties and regional security will be prioritised during Xi's upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia.

Jubeir emphasized that meetings between Chinese and Saudi leaders are "natural" and recalled that China is Saudi Arabia's largest trade partner. Sources familiar with the organisation of Xi's visit confirmed that it has been prepared for a year and that the Chinese leader will arrive in the second half of December to attend the China-Gulf Summit.

Xi's visit to Saudi Arabia is a continuation of a wider process stimulated by BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), in which China and Russia are key countries. BRICS and the SCO are increasingly attractive organisations for many countries as a framework in which development and cooperation is possible without blackmail and pressure.

Saudi Arabia has fundamentally changed its policy from one of complete submission to the interests of the US to now putting its own national interests first. This does not mean that the Saudis will break relations with the US, but it is a huge difference when the country puts its own interests first compared to when it is subordinated to the interests of Washington.

Riyadh pursues much better and closer cooperation with China as it is a continuation of the process in becoming an independent state and not subservient to Washington. In these processes, by the nature of things, since they are complementary economies, avoiding the dollar as a means of payment is a completely logical plan as it removes the risk of great damage if American sanctions are ever imposed.

On the one hand, BRICS, independently of Saudi Arabia, is operationally working to create a concept that would reduce the importance and influence of the dollar in the world economy. More precisely, such an achievement would reduce the influence of the dollar, which is effectively the basis of US foreign policy.

It is also for this reason that Saudi Arabia is positioning itself as a potential new member of the BRICS bloc.

Within that, a whole series of countries in bilateral cooperation, which is now expected from China and Saudi Arabia, agree on payments in domestic currencies as the first step in the process of de-dollarizing the world economy. It is also for this reason why the visit of Xi to Saudi Arabia follows from everything that has already happened and should not be considered a surprise.

However, it is too early to say whether China will overtake the US as Saudi Arabia's main partner, even despite the fiasco that was President Joe Biden's visit to the Gulf kingdom. This is especially the case because Saudi Arabia has based its defence on American weapons and has immense financial ties with the US.

There will definitely be more significant Sino-Saudi cooperation and the Arab kingdom itself will attempt to detach from the dollar. However, the truth is that de-dollarization is a process that will take many years. None-the-less, the Saudi reduction in cooperation with the US will inevitably occur.

It is recalled that South African President Cyril Ramposa said during his visit to Riyadh in October that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed Saudi Arabia's desire to join BRICS. Discussions on the expansion of the BRICS bloc are scheduled to take place in South Africa when it takes over the presidency in 2023.

Saudi Arabia's separation from the West has only accelerated under the Biden presidency. Biden described Saudi Arabia as a pariah state due to Prince Salman's alleged involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist. However, the US President changed his outlook and rhetoric towards the Arab country after coming to power.

As BRICS represents more than 40 percent of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world's GDP, with the group set to have bolstered global influence if it expands, Saudi Arabia is interested in gaining further independence by joining the bloc. Joining the bloc also means closer relations with China, something that Saudi Arabia is now pursuing despite Western criticism.

Philosophy and Their Role in Cooperation and Sutainable Development Between BRICS Countries(Философия и их роль в сотрудничестве и устойчивом развитии стран БРИКС) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion, sustainable_development

Yuri F. C. Fernandes, Federative Republic of Brazil, participant of the VI BRICS International School – special for InfoBRICS

Today, in the year 2022 of the 21st century, in the emergence of a multipolar world, we have a serious philosophical problem: to rethink our way of being and acting on planet earth. This problem arises in such a way as to present several layers. I will deal here with one of them, perhaps the main one, the layer of Philosophy.

During the last five hundred years we have seen the expansion and domination of the European peoples over the other continents and peoples of the world. This process was, above all, not only a process of material domination, but also a symbolic and philosophical one. The expansion of European thought shaped the world in these centuries and epistemicide was a fundamental element of this endeavor. They shaped the world in their image and opposition, having themselves as the center of civilization, as a model of thought, social, economic and political organization. Under his thinking the world, we were molded and subjugated. The philosophical contribution of the European continent to the thinking of humanity as a whole is undeniable and it is necessary to emphasize this before continuing, emphasizing that those who set out to try to erase and submit the other were the Europeans who took this thought and made a weapon of domination. I think that few of the European philosophers who contributed richly to humanity had in mind what their theses were made of or what they were used for. Would Socrates, Plato or Aristotle, mentioning here the best known and consensually important in a huge list of thinkers, would be satisfied with what has become of their works, their ideas, foundations of Western philosophical thought, if they had the opportunity to be here today? Under the aegis of taking progress to the world, under the arrogance of placing themselves as the "garden" - an allusion here to the recent speech of a famous European leader - who domesticates and prevents the advance of the "jungle" with the pretext of placing themselves as the bastions of freedom and civilization, supported by the idea of taking and imposing their democracy on the world, the friends of the West got lost in their words and actions and instead of making the world a better place, as they preach, supported by their liberal ideology that naive has nothing, have made and still make the world a place of inequality and despair. Thus, under these conditions, it is necessary for us, above all, to remain calm because with calm and strategy, reality, the world, is willing to be rethought in its entirety and the balance of power tends to be rebuilt under other weights. and other measures.

The multipolar moment has arrived, which requires us to bring other philosophical matrices, our Philosophies, to the center of the debate. If a matrix, a way of thinking, was what shaped the place we arrived at that moment, now reality urges new ways of thinking about the totality of reality, engaged in thinking about solving humanity's problems, defense strategies, security, innovation, sustainable development, social, political and economic organization. When I say new, it's in the sense of making them protagonists as much as those who have always dictated the rules of the game and left no room for other ideas. The rules need to be rethought from this multiplicity of ideas. Not just rules but essential concepts for humanity, such as the very concept of humanity, equality, cooperation, and how they were put up until now, the organizations to which they gave the bases, their dynamics, decisions and resolutions. How can our philosophers, ancient and contemporary, help us to think about this multipolar world? From the perspective of the global South, starting from here, how can we think about our problems and contribute to the planet? It is time for our philosophical thought to be a protagonist as well, nothing more consistent with a multipolar world than multiple philosophies supporting the construction of an international system that contemplates all of us, sovereign States and their citizens, us humans, us nature, we system organic, planet Earth. If we are in this moment of remodeling the international order under multipolarity, then let's deal with ideas, and how ideas have shaped and can shape the world, or rather, how the world can shape ideas, how the dialectic between idea and reality arises, what she demands of us. Our philosophies not only can but should be in this world, this world needs different protagonists based on the real world to build a common prosperous future together. In the diversity of philosophical perspectives lies the source of problem solving formulations that affect us all. Today, reality calls us to bring them to the table.

At the BRICS International Philosophy Forum, where young thinkers, members of the bloc and observers can discuss and think together in cooperation, across the most diverse areas of knowledge, produce documents with useful guidelines for the designation of projects and decision references for the different actors in each BRICS country. Its importance comes from the need to have our philosophical matrices as a basis for the elaboration of theories and strategies, in contrast to the movement of the incident periods and to shape the world of its philosophical matrices. If we are in the emergence of a multipolar world with the natural protagonism of the countries that make up the BRICS, we must, as reality urges, have our means, supported by our original and unique thinking, to support this plurality of ways of being in the world. and position itself in the international system. Thinking about autonomy in this multipolar world necessarily involves having the autonomy to think from our roots in the dialogue with our strategic partners.

We have philosophical matrices in each nation, in each people, because where there is a human being, there is also the production of knowledge and therefore Philosophy. In their craving for colonial domination, some Western nations positioned themselves as masters of philosophy. Only they would be able to say what is and what is not Philosophy and what would be useful to humanity. It was a dark time for knowledge. The Philosophy that underlies all areas of knowledge, therefore, the so-called "mother of knowledge" was hampered, imprisoned and put in favor of world projects that definitely did not contemplate all of us. The world we live in was shaped from this movement, from the restriction of the most precious knowledge of each people, of their philosophies. I don't want to say that we were forbidden to do philosophy or to think, this is almost impossible, the question is what we were allowed to do with that thought, where it was able to reach and act.

It is time to bring our philosophies to the center of the debate, so that we can think about the world that is formed from them. Our peoples, ancient with crossings that renew them, all produced and produced thought. We are fertile ground for thinking and solving problems from our perspective. Why is there no philosophical cooperation, inside and outside universities and multilateral organizations, between us? I mean, carried out as an institutional initiative of the BRICS bloc. Why isn't there? How to make this cooperation happen?

What's driving Saudi Arabia's 'look east' policy? (Что движет политикой Саудовской Аравии «смотреть на восток»?) / Saudi Arabia, November 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues
Saudi Arabia

Containing nearly 41% of the world's population, the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) bloc represents a quarter of global GDP and 16% of international trade.

Recently, along with Turkey and Argentina, Saudi Arabia has shown interest in joining, and the addition of these countries will be on the agenda of the next BRICS summit scheduled to take place in South Africa in 2023.

As relations with Washington take a sour turn of late, Riyadh is now exploring new options to extend its geopolitical influence. Though the US and Saudi Arabia have long been close allies, their bilateral ties have weakened since the Biden administration came to power and voiced criticism over the Kingdom's human rights record.

In addition, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 put Riyadh in a corner after US intelligence agencies discovered links with the Saudi government. Fearing political ostracisation and isolation, Saudi Arabia started searching for new allies in the East to balance the Western world.

"While still geopolitically dependent for its security on the US, Saudi Arabia has geoeconomically shifted to the East"

But will keeping its options open help Riyadh replace Washington, and can it derive any worthwhile benefits?

To start with, where joining the BRICS is concerned, Riyadh's move would bring it closer to Beijing's orbit, as according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) China accounts for almost 70% of the group's economy.

Amid the ongoing rivalry between Beijing and Washington, any spat between the US and Riyadh could provide China with more opportunities to extend its influence in the Kingdom.

In response to reports that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) had expressed intentions to join, Chinese spokesman Wang Wenbin announced that "China supports and welcomes this".

Expected to compete with the economies of the richest countries by 2050, according to the banking group Goldman Sachs, the BRICS group is showing rapid economic growth, contributing 25% of the world's total economic output.

At the 14th BRICS Summit in July this year, new possibilities for economic cooperation were discussed, such as a new development bank, an inter-country payment system, an exclusive BRICS basket reserve currency, and a contingent basket reserve currency.

"While still geopolitically dependent for its security on the US, Saudi Arabia has geoeconomically shifted to the East," Mohammadbagher Forough, Research Fellow at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies, told The New Arab.

"China is right now the top trade partner of the country. India and Russia are becoming increasingly important to it as well (for different reasons). Given these developments, it's only natural that the Saudis would want to join BRICS+ or SCO."

Highlighting the advantages of this move for Saudi Arabia, a Beijing-based international relations expert told Chinese media, "The idea of joining BRICS shows Saudi Arabia's growing autonomy in its diplomacy with Washington".

Then Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands during a meeting at the Diaoyutai State guest house on 31 August 2016 in Beijing, China. [Getty] He added that "joining BRICS will also protect Saudi Arabia's own energy interests in a substantive way, rather than being a card to be used by others".

Next, there is the Moscow factor. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has made even minimal restructuring of foreign policy an uphill task for most countries. Though advantageous, achieving neutrality is much more difficult than in the past.

Even though the addition of more countries into the BRICS group requires some time to formalise, it has been compared to the planned expansion of NATO, largely because Moscow is part of the economic group.

In addition, Riyadh's increasing support for Russian interests had already tested the basis of the Saudi-US relationship at various junctures. Complicating matters further, no agreement could be reached with Washington on increasing oil production during President Biden's recent visit to the Kingdom.

"An inherent paradox is that disengaging from each other does not suit either Riyadh or Washington"

Then in October, the Saudi-led OPEC+ cut oil production further by two million barrels daily. While this step must have helped Russia, it irked Washington even more as it could have spiked gasoline prices just before the American midterm elections.

As a result, it was reported that US President Biden has "no plans" to meet MbS at the G20 summit this month.

Lastly, Riyadh has been indulging in some 'energy geopolitics' of its own.

Discussing an independent oil strategy with two of its biggest customers, China and India, the Saudi energy minister visited New Delhi last month to discuss economic cooperation.

Meanwhile, after a virtual meeting with his counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi issued a joint statement with Riyadh and praised the Kingdom's "pursuit of an independent energy policy and its active efforts to maintain the stability of the international energy market".

In recent months, Riyadh and Beijing have also been mulling over payments in Chinese yuan for Saudi oil. Such a move would likely have a minor global impact, however, as Sino-Saudi trade is worth nearly $320 million every working day while trade in USD is valued at around $6.6 trillion.

Alongside that, Riyadh is finally executing plans to set up a $10 billion oil refinery in Gwadar in Pakistan and a tripartite agreement between Riyadh, Islamabad, and Beijing is being considered. For further discussions, the Saudi Crown Prince is expected to visit Pakistan this month.

Therefore, the Kingdom's pivot to Asia is progressing well, with the intention of securing long-term economic and strategic cooperation. However, an inherent paradox is that disengaging from each other does not suit either Riyadh or Washington.

If Saudi Arabia's outreach to the East is completed, the US will look like it is losing its hold on the region as its traditional allies are slipping away. At least for now, the US remains the Kingdom's main security guarantor, and this would be a major contradiction in Saudi Arabia's quest for new allies.

"Riyadh's engagement with Asian countries can help in economic diversification and stable energy partnerships, but the Kingdom would have to give priority to Washington for its defence needs"

Though China has a "comprehensive strategic partnership" with the Kingdom, it does not specify any clear military role and it has similar contracts with several other Middle Eastern countries. Beijing did sign memorandums of understanding (MoUs) on nuclear energy projects with Riyadh and supplied it with ballistic missile technology and drones, but it has not provided the kind of security cover Washington can offer.

Riyadh's engagement with Asian countries can help in economic diversification and stable energy partnerships but the Kingdom would have to give priority to Washington for its defence needs. Also, Washington and Riyadh share almost identical regional security interests.

At any time, terror threats can raise their head again, and Riyadh would look towards Washington for help. Only recently, Saudi and US agencies shared intelligence on an alleged imminent Iranian attack on energy infrastructure in the Middle East.

Therefore, despite some erratic phases, no long-term change can be expected in Saudi foreign policy towards the US, and it is likely both countries will go back to square one on important matters.
Goodbye G20, Hello BRICS+ (Прощай G20, здравствуй БРИКС+) / Saudi Arabia, November, 2022
Keywords: brics+, expert_opinion
Saudi Arabia
Author: Pepe Escobar

By Pepe Escobar

The redeeming quality of a tense G20 held in Bali – otherwise managed by laudable Indonesian graciousness – was to sharply define which way the geopolitical winds are blowing.

That was encapsulated in the Summit's two highlights: the much anticipated China-US presidential meeting – representing the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century – and the final G20 statement.

The 3-hour, 30-minute-long face-to-face meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden – requested by the White House – took place at the Chinese delegation's residence in Bali, and not at the G20 venue at the luxury Apurva Kempinski in Nusa Dua.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs concisely outlined what really mattered. Specifically, Xi told Biden that Taiwan independence is simply out of the question. Xi also expressed hope that NATO, the EU, and the US will engage in "comprehensive dialogue" with Russia. Instead of confrontation, the Chinese president chose to highlight the layers of common interest and cooperation.

Biden, according to the Chinese, made several points. The US does not seek a New Cold War; does not support "Taiwan independence;" does not support "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan"; does not seek "decoupling" from China; and does not want to contain Beijing.

However, the recent record shows Xi has few reasons to take Biden at face value.

The final G20 statement was an even fuzzier matter: the result of arduous compromise.

As much as the G20 is self-described as "the premier forum for global economic cooperation," engaged to "address the world's major economic challenges," the G7 inside the G20 in Bali had the summit de facto hijacked by war. "War" gets almost double the number of mentions in the statement compared to "food" after all.

The collective west, including the Japanese vassal state, was bent on including the war in Ukraine and its "economic impacts" – especially the food and energy crisis – in the statement. Yet without offering even a shade of context, related to NATO expansion. What mattered was to blame Russia – for everything.

The Global South effect

It was up to this year's G20 host Indonesia – and the next host, India – to exercise trademark Asian politeness and consensus building. Jakarta and New Delhi worked extremely hard to find wording that would be acceptable to both Moscow and Beijing. Call it the Global South effect.

Still, China wanted changes in the wording. This was opposed by western states, while Russia did not review the last-minute wording because Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had already departed.

On point 3 out of 52, the statement "expresses its deepest regret over the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands the complete and unconditional withdrawal of armed forces from the territory of Ukraine."

"Russian aggression" is the standard NATO mantra – not shared by virtually the whole Global South.

The statement draws a direct correlation between the war and a non-contextualized "aggravation of pressing problems in the global economy – slowing economic growth, rising inflation, disruption of supply chains, worsening energy, and food security, increased risks to financial stability."

As for this passage, it could not be more self-evident: "The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today's era must not be of war."

This is ironic given that NATO and its public relations department, the EU, "represented" by the unelected eurocrats of the European Commission, don't do "diplomacy and dialogue."

Fixated with war

Instead the US, which controls NATO, has been weaponizing Ukraine, since March, by a whopping $91.3 billion, including the latest presidential request, this month, of $37.7 billion. That happens to be 33 percent more than Russia's total (italics mine) military spending for 2022.

Extra evidence of the Bali Summit being hijacked by "war" was provided by the emergency meeting, called by the US, to debate what ended up being a Ukrainian S-300 missile falling on a Polish farm, and not the start of WWIII like some tabloids hysterically suggested.

Tellingly, there was absolutely no one from the Global South in the meeting – the sole Asian nation being the Japanese vassal, part of the G7.

Compounding the picture, we had the sinister Davos master Klaus Schwab once again impersonating a Bond villain at the B20 business forum, selling his Great Reset agenda of "rebuilding the world" through pandemics, famines, climate change, cyber attacks, and – of course – wars.

As if this was not ominous enough, Davos and its World Economic Forum are now ordering Africa – completely excluded from the G20 – to pay $2.8 trillion to "meet its obligations" under the Paris Agreement to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

The demise of the G20 as we know it

The serious fracture between Global North and Global South, so evident in Bali, had already been suggested in Phnom Penh, as Cambodia hosted the East Asia Summit this past weekend.

The 10 members of ASEAN had made it very clear they remain unwilling to follow the US and the G7 in their collective demonization of Russia and in many aspects China.

The Southeast Asians are also not exactly excited by the US-concocted IPEF (Indo-Pacific Economic Framework), which will be irrelevant in terms of slowing down China's extensive trade and connectivity across Southeast Asia.

And it gets worse. The self-described "leader of the free world" is shunning the extremely important APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Bangkok at the end of this week.

For very sensitive and sophisticated Asian cultures, this is seen as an affront. APEC, established way back in 1990s to promote trade across the Pacific Rim, is about serious Asia-Pacific business, not Americanized "Indo-Pacific" militarization.

The snub follows Biden's latest blunder when he erroneously addressed Cambodia's Hun Sen as "prime minister of Colombia" at the summit in Phnom Penh.

Lining up to join BRICS

It is safe to say that the G20 may have plunged into an irretrievable path toward irrelevancy. Even before the current Southeast Asian summit wave – in Phnom Penh, Bali and Bangkok – Lavrov had already signaled what comes next when he noted that "over a dozen countries" have applied to join BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa).

Iran, Argentina, and Algeria have formally applied: Iran, alongside Russia, India, and China, is already part of the Eurasian Quad that really matters.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Afghanistan are extremely interested in becoming members. Indonesia just applied, in Bali. And then there's the next wave: Kazakhstan, UAE, Thailand (possibly applying this weekend in Bangkok), Nigeria, Senegal, and Nicaragua.

It's crucial to note that all of the above sent their Finance Ministers to a BRICS Expansion dialogue in May. A short but serious appraisal of the candidates reveals an astonishing unity in diversity.

Lavrov himself noted that it will take time for the current five BRICS to analyze the immense geopolitical and geoeconomic implications of expanding to the point of virtually reaching the size of the G20 – and without the collective west.

What unites the candidates above all is the possession of massive natural resources: oil and gas, precious metals, rare earths, rare minerals, coal, solar power, timber, agricultural land, fisheries, and fresh water. That's the imperative when it comes to designing a new resource-based reserve currency to bypass the US dollar.

Let's assume that it may take up to 2025 to have this new BRICS+ configuration up and running. That would represent roughly 45 percent of confirmed global oil reserves and over 60 percent of confirmed global gas reserves (and that will balloon if gas republic Turkmenistan later joins the group).

The combined GDP – in today's figures – would be roughly $29.35 trillion; much larger than the US ($23 trillion) and at least double the EU ($14.5 trillion, and falling).

As it stands, BRICS account for 40 percent of the global population and 25 percent of GDP. BRICS+ would congregate 4.257 billion people: over 50 percent of the total global population as it stands.

BRI embraces BRICS+

BRICS+ will be striving towards interconnection with a maze of institutions: the most important are the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), itself featuring a list of players itching to become full members; strategic OPEC+, de facto led by Russia and Saudi Arabia; and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China's overarching trade and foreign policy framework for the 21st century. It is worth pointing out that early all crucial Asian players have joined the BRI.

Then there are the close links of BRICS with a plethora of regional trade blocs: ASEAN, Mercosur, GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), Arab Trade Zone, African Continental Free Trade Area, ALBA, SAARC, and last but not least the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the largest trade deal on the planet, which includes a majority of BRI partners.

BRICS+ and BRI is a match everywhere you look at it – from West Asia and Central Asia to the Southeast Asians (especially Indonesia and Thailand). The multiplier effect will be key – as BRI members will be inevitably attracting more candidates for BRICS+.

This will inevitably lead to a second wave of BRICS+ hopefuls including, most certainly, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, three more Central Asians (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and gas republic Turkmenistan), Pakistan, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka, and in Latin America, a hefty contingent featuring Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Venezuela.

Meanwhile, the role of the BRICS's New Development Bank (NDB) as well as the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will be enhanced – coordinating infrastructure loans across the spectrum, as BRICS+ will be increasingly shunning dictates imposed by the US-dominated IMF and the World Bank.

All of the above barely sketches the width and depth of the geopolitical and geoeconomic realignments further on down the road – affecting every nook and cranny of global trade and supply chain networks. The G7's obsession in isolating and/or containing the top Eurasian players is turning on itself in the framework of the G20. In the end, it's the G7 that may be isolated by the BRICS+ irresistible force.

Pepe Escobar is a columnist at The Cradle, editor-at-large at Asia Times and an independent geopolitical analyst focused on Eurasia. Since the mid-1980s he has lived and worked as a foreign correspondent in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Singapore and Bangkok. He is the author of countless books; his latest one is Raging Twenties.

The Cradle

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of InfoBRICS.

BRICS Development Paths and Integration Opportunities (Пути развития БРИКС и возможности интеграции) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: brics+, expert_opinion

Andrey Sarilov, participant of the VI BRICS International School – special for InfoBRICS

Against the backdrop of waning integration impulses in the developed world, the largest developing economies are forging ahead with new initiatives directed at revitalizing regional integration an example of such integration is BRICS. Given the size and potential of each of the BRICS members, we must hope for greater synergy in the interaction of the world's leading emerging economies. One of the ways to strengthen BRICS development as well as the lingering contradictions may be to shift the focus from trade liberalization or large-scale integration among its core members towards building a wider framework of integration/cooperation in the developing world that fills the voids of integration and opens new gateways for cooperation among BRICS and their partners across continents. That kind of framework may be realized through China's initiative to create a BRICS+ circle that according to China's foreign minister Wang Yi will represent a new platform for the South-South cooperation via holding dialogues with other major developing countries or groups of developing countries to establish a more extensive partnership.

The first thing to realize about the uniqueness of the BRICS is that each member is also a leading economy in its continent or sub-region within a regional integration arrangement: Russia in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Brazil in Mercosur, South Africa in the South African Development Community (SADC), India in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and China in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), in the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and the prospective Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). All countries that are partners of the BRICS in these regional integration arrangements may form what might be termed as the 'BRICS+ circle' that becomes open to flexible and multiple modes of cooperation on bilateral or regional basis. Thus, rather than expanding the core set of BRICS members, the BRICS+ initiative seeks to create a new platform for forging regional and bilateral alliances across continents and aims at bringing together the regional integration blocks, in which BRICS economies play a leading role. Accordingly, the main regional integration blocks that could form the BRICS+ platform.

In the trade and investment sphere the BRICS+ network could encourage expanding the set of FTAs/PTAs across individual countries or regional blocks of the BRICS+ grouping. Trade alliances do not have to follow the standard path of comprehensive FTAs, but could also involve targeted/limited liberalization via preferential agreements (PTAs). Investment alliances and liberalization measures could be concluded in the form of lowering barriers for FDI into strategic sectors or companies as well as via lowering capital controls in mutual transactions. One of the transmission mechanisms that could be employed to facilitate the propagation of trade and investment alliances within the BRICS+ framework might be raising the priority accorded by BRICS+ economies to an alliance with a country that has become a member of one of the core RTAs within the BRICS+ network or that has concluded trade or investment alliances with an individual country or regional block within BRICS+. An FTA alliance forged by South Korea, for example, with the Eurasian Economic Union could improve the possibilities for this country to conclude alliances with other regional blocks or individual countries in BRICS+.

Cooperation in international organizations, including the Bretton Woods institutions to increase the consolidated voting share. In the IMF the consolidated share of the BRICS is just below the 15% mark. The addition of BRICS+ partners would raise the consolidated share of the vote by 1- 2 percentage points (depending on the exact composition of the BRICS+ circle) to more than 15%, which would enable the BRICS+ to have a blocking stake with respect to the key decisions of the Fund. BRICS+ countries could also form alliances in other international organizations, including the WTO, where a BRICS+ group in negotiations could complement other SouthSouth alliances, for example in G20 or G33.

Cooperation between development banks and other development institutions formed by BRICS+ economies, namely the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), the SAARC Development Fund (SDF), Mercosur Structural Convergence Fund (FOCEM), China Development Bank (CDB), China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund (CAF), and the New Development Bank (NDB). Within this group of development institutions, the NDB could potentially perform a coordinating role with respect to BRICS+ initiatives, while there could also be a role for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which can serve as a platform for bringing together the financing from developing and developed economies. Within this network of regional development institutions, cooperation could be targeted at cofinancing investment projects as well as initiatives and programs aimed at fostering the attainment of key development goals (human capital development, ecology, financial sector integration/cooperation).

Use of national currencies/payment systems: the BRICS+ circle could serve as an extensive platform for creation of BRICS+ countries' payment systems and expansion in their use. It could also serve as a platform for extending the use of national currencies in mutual trade and investment transactions, thus reducing dependency on the US dollar and the euro. The countries that form part of the regional blocks of BRICS+ could support each other's efforts in promoting creation of international financial centres (though admittedly there may be also competition, particularly in a regional context) via listing companies in the exchanges of BRICS+ economies. There may also be greater cooperation in advancing some of the BRICS+ currencies as reserve currencies that become part of gold and currency reserves of the respective Central Banks.

Thanks to regional integration on almost all continents (which makes such integration truly global and inclusive) and due consideration of global WTO rules, the above-described sequence of integration caused by BRICS will not only ensure greater liberalization of trade and investment, but also reconcile some of the contradictions between regionalism and multilateralism. Overcoming the contradictions between bilateral, regional and multilateral/global integration would serve as a decisive breakthrough in removing obstacles to global growth.

In fact, the BRICS+ circle forms the internal "regional rim" of the BRICS economies partnership, which consists of key regional integration blocks, such as MERCOSUR, SATS, EAEU, etc. The BRICS++ circle forms a circle of bilateral unions (with individual countries or regional blocks) on the terms of the FTA or on the basis of other types of economic agreements integration (including in the investment sphere). Both BRICS+ and BRICS++ expand the set of alliances for all countries included in this broader circle, while existing trade or investment agreements can serve as the basis for multilateral transactions with other members of the expanded group. If you manage to increase your economic weight.

And what about the rest of the world, which is not directly part of the BRICS+ and BRICS++ structures? Firstly, a framework of cooperation between the BRICS+ circle and the developed world is needed, which can be based on existing FTAs or comprehensive economic agreements with developed countries formed by BRICS+ economies (FTAs between SACU and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) or the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between Japan and India). The liberalization of investments with the countries of the developed world can be carried out within the framework of such joint projects, as well as within the WTO and other global organizations, where the BRICS+ countries could form a single group.

The expediency of the BRICS+ format emanates in part from the tendencies that the BRICS and the global economy have been affected in the past several years. Firstly, there is the increasing domination of regionalism in the global economy that manifests itself in the creation of regional mega-blocks. Secondly, trade policies of some BRICS members are increasingly determined by their priority RTA — the EEU in the case of Russia, SACU in the case of South Africa, and Mercosur in the case of Brazil. Indeed, regionalism appears to be an important element of trade and overall external economic policy in the majority of BRICS economies. In fact, when China advanced its BRICS FTA proposal, other BRICS countries alluded to difficulties in following this format due to the transfer of trade policy to the RTA level (Brazil and Mercosur being a case in point).

Another sign of the growing importance of regionalism in BRICS politics was the decision of India, the host of the 2016 BRICS Summit, to invite the leaders of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) to hold a joint meeting with BRICS.

Indeed, this practice of inviting representatives of the main RTAs (and, possibly, the relevant banks/development funds) created by the BRICS countries could become a model of BRICS+ actions at the initial stages of formation. The heads of the five main regional blocs, as well as the relevant development institutions, could meet during the BRICS summits to discuss their integration agenda and define development/integration goals for the future. Alternatively, each country hosting the BRICS summit can invite representatives of its respective regional bloc to strengthen the partnership between this RTS and the BRICS countries. Such an agreement leaves the BRICS+ structure with a coordinating role in formulating the agenda of globalization and South-South cooperation at the initial stages of its functioning.

Within the framework outlined above, the essence of the BRICS+ initiative is not to expand the core of the BRICS by including the largest developing countries, but rather to create a network of alliances that would be comprehensive and represent all major regions/continents of the developing world. . In this regard, the BRICS+ paradigm has more to do with inclusivity and diversity than with the selection of the biggest heavyweights. By the very nature of its presence in all key regions and continents of the developing world, BRICS can fulfill a unique role as a comprehensive platform for economic cooperation around the world. Thus, the BRICS+ concept is, first of all, a different approach to economic integration and a different way of structuring alliances on a global scale.

In this regard, the BRICS+ principle is in some way a technological step forward compared to the principle of territorial and exclusive regionalism. The BRICS+ integration structure, spread all over the world, is very similar to the eBay trading platform, which provides all potential network participants with the opportunity to exchange preferences and concessions regardless of their location. This is different from the regionalism of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which are limited to a certain place or area, no matter how large it may be. The dispersed and decentralized nature of BRICS is not a disadvantage in terms of integration, but is an advantage in promoting a more open and inclusive integration structure. In this respect, BRICS+ is not territorial, unipolar,

As for the developing world, the BRICS+ system could focus on filling the gaps in global integration — by eliminating the lack of integration in some regions of the developing world (primarily in Asia and Africa), the model of economic integration could become similar to what can be called "balanced regionalism" or "sustainable regionalism", and not regionalism, which seeks to benefit only the leaders of the world economy. Sustainable regionalism can include helping developing countries achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals for the period up to 2030 by gaining greater access to markets and technologies, as well as infrastructure development.

The key question that needs to be asked today is: "What kind of structure of integration and globalization do we need for sustainable development"? The answer is to move away from the "core-periphery" model of globalization, which is characterized by extreme global imbalances and high inequality, to a decentralized structure "without a core — without a periphery" of BRICS+. The BRICS+ structure should also recognize that globalization will be inherently incomplete, and thus should strive to emphasize the possibility for different standards and ways of integration, in contrast to the proselytizing approach to imposing universal standards, which is fraught with violations and reversals.

Most importantly, the nature of trade integration that BRICS and its institutions are striving for could be made more inclusive (open to the participation of other developing and developed countries), in contrast to the exceptional nature of integration, which was largely pursued in the past and was based on a narrow geographical or "community of values" criterion. The emergence of BRICS offers the world economy a unique opportunity to reboot the international integration process and make it truly global, non-discriminatory and more in line with the global rules of the WTO.

The current global setting characterized by waning integration and liberalization impulses in the developed world presents a possibility and a need for a renewed impetus towards economic integration in the world economy. The global integration process is in need of a sufficiently strong starting engine, a new platform of integration that can compensate for the lack of momentum coming from the 'old platform' of the developed world. The BRICS grouping, being present in all the key regions and continents of the developing world, could serve as the basis for such a new comprehensive global platform of integration, but may encounter limitations in largescale integration among its core heavyweights. To overcome these limitations a wider context for the BRICS that may take on the form of BRICS+ would serve to broaden the possibility set of economic alliances that can be forged across a greater array of countries and regions. In this respect China's BRICS+ initiative announced earlier this year is timely in terms of breathing new life into the evolution of the BRICS as well as delivering a new impetus to the process of global economic integration.

The BRICS+ framework provide opportunities for greater trade and investment integration as well as a supportive institutional framework of coordination among regional development banks and development of financial systems. The key principle in this process is to allow for substantial flexibility in the multilateralization of alliances to include trade and/or investment, as well as the possibility of regional and/or bilateral alliances. In this respect the pattern of BRICS+ integration is more akin to that of ASEAN and East Asia in general, which is characterized by the prevalence of bilateral alliances and variations in integration patterns as opposed to the pattern of the EU predicated on a set of uniform standards targeting the creation of one single block. On the contrary to the core-periphery pattern prevalent in the preceding decades, the BRICS+ model provides an opportunity for open and diversified integration in the global economy. The result is a global economy that is characterized by divergence of various models of development rather than a convergence towards one sole model or standard.

In the end, the new vision of integration in the form of BRICS+ could drag the world economy out of its misery of persistently low growth rates. It appears that new principles and new approaches in advancing openness and integration are required. We need to think about integration, growth and globalization in new and in hitherto abnormal ways to surmount the 'new normal'. We need to shift gears from the old 'core-periphery' paradigm to veritable sustainable development, which in the integration sphere is to be based on greater diversity, equality of opportunity and due care with regard to spillover and trade diversion effects.

Source: InfoBrics

A New Age of Globalization: BRICS and the Challenge of Creating a Fair International Legal Order(Новая эпоха глобализации: БРИКС и задача создания справедливого международного правопорядка) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion, global_governance

Gabriel Dourado Rocha, Federative Republic of Brazil, participant of the VI BRICS International School – special for InfoBRICS

Initially, the so-called BRIC – Brazil, Russia, India and China – was coined in 2001, when it was predicted that the share of Brazil, Russia, India and China in the world's GDP would grow and that this would raise questions about the impact of these countries on economic policies. In this context, international organizations should be reformed, and in particular, the G7 should be reorganized to incorporate BRIC countries.

In September 2006, at the margins of the General debate of the sixty-first session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the foreign ministers of Brazil, Russia, India and China met and began a series of high-level meetings, which resulted in the integration of the group at the first BRIC Summit of Heads of States in Yekaterinburg, Russia (2009). In 2014, the New Development Bank (NDB), as well as the BRICS Contingent Reserve

Agreement (CRA), is created, intended as alternatives to the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF). At the Ufa Summit (2015), the BRICS announced that the NDB would be lending in local currency, and expressed their disappointment with the prolonged failure by the United States to ratify the IMF 2010 reform package, which continues to undermine the credibility, legitimacy, and effectiveness of the IMF, which does not reflect the international arena anymore.

Nowadays, the BRICS countries expanded their cooperation in the most different fields and represent close to a third of global output. The group also became an important player of International Relations, doing an important role in supporting the authority of the UN as the main organization responsible for maintaining International Peace and Security, but at the same time pushing the need to reform the UN and to strengthen the international legal framework, to make it more effective and capable of meeting global challenges.

Although the BRICS has become a trend topic in academic publications, the analyses of the group from the field of Public International Law are often under-represented. In this connection, research about such a BRICS perspective is pertinent not only due to the few analyses related to this topic but also because the levels of cooperation within or through the group are gradually increasing.

For this purpose, as I will present below, I see that the development of the BRICS in the international arena has to coordinate efforts in the area of Economics, Law and International Relations so that there is effective cooperation between the national development of BRICS countries and an equally prosperous international order.

After fourteen years of successful BRICS summits of Heads of State held between 2009 and 2022, with many achievements from BRICS Legal Cooperation, it also has been challenging to strengthen the respect for fundamental principles of International Law, such as the Principle of Nonuse of Force.

Rostam Neuwirth points that the BRICS legal cooperation has already steps that had been taken in several distinct areas ranging from international trade, investment, arbitration and contract law to intellectual property, outer space, culture and education. As the metaphorical reference pointed out by Rostam Neuwirth indicates, there's an element of cognitive level, more comprehensive and more deeply rooted that holds all of these "bricks" or building blocks of a future global legal order together. According to him, BRICS cooperation exemplifies important questions about the relevance of the rule of law for the BRICS in an era of change, and the rule of law can be an agent of change in the contemporary global governance.

Since 2009, the BRICS has produced a profusion of documents, such as declarations, statements and plans of action issued by the BRICS Summits of Heads of States. The diversity of the BRICS countries was not an insurmountable obstacle to legal cooperation, although an exact and exhaustive legal qualification of these documents is not easy. In this respect, the identification of similarities and differences in the legal consciousness of BRICS societies becomes one of the elements in analyzing the BRICS perspective on International Law.

This perspective was already present in 2003 in the formalization of the IBSA Dialogue Forum (India, Brazil and South Africa), an international group for promoting cooperation among these countries launched through the approval of the "Brasilia Declaration". These countries gave special consideration to the importance of respecting the rule of International Law, based on respect for the sovereignty of States, strengthening the UN and emphasizing the exercise of diplomacy as a mechanism to maintain International Peace and Security. They affirmed the need to combat threats to International Peace and Security by following the UN Charter. It's interesting to note that India and Brazil are both founding members of BRIC (2009) and IBSA (2003).

According to Brazilian Ambassador Maria Edileuza Fontenele Reis, in comparing BRICS and IBSA, we see that the meetings between the Heads of State and Government of the three countries drove the process with endogenous dynamics. In this sense, Maria indicates that IBSA inspired the BRICS, because BRICS resulted from Minister Celso Amorim's vision, inspired by the construction of IBSA.

As well as within the scope of cooperation within the IBSA, the diversity of the BRICS countries has not been an insuperable obstacle to increasing the levels of institutionalization and cooperation within or through the group is increasing each year.

It has been asserted that the prohibition of the use of force or threat of force in article 2, paragraph 4, of the UN Charter is a jus cogens norm, a peremptory norm of International Law from which no derogation is permitted. In the Case Concerning the Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), the ICJ has noted that the prohibition in article 2, paragraph 4, of the UN Charter is not only a principle, but also a principle of Customary International Law.

However, while in the context of military interventions there is more certainty of the interdiction of the threat or the use of force, in the field of economic measures its questionable if article 2, paragraph 4, extends that far. During the drafting of the UN Charter, there was a proposal made by Brazil to specifically prohibit the use of economic measures, but the proposal was rejected, although the reasons for that rejection were unclear.

Nevertheless, certain forms of political pressure or economic coercion might be against the Prohibition of Intervention in Internal Affairs of States, according to the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations (UNGA Resolution 2625).

From this perspective, the BRICS approaches related to the field of International Economic Law focuses its action on the fully supporting of the Principle of Non-intervention, standing against the unilateral imposition of coercive measures in violation of the principles of International Law outlined in the UN Charter, as well as the principles of the multilateral trading system, and in the necessity to reform the international system's financial/economic architecture, mainly in the bodies of the IMF, World Trade Organization (WTO) and WB. At the Durban Summit in 2013, for example, BRICS indicated that the WTO requires a new leader capable of working multilaterally and better representing developing countries, what seems to have influenced the election of Roberto Azevedo as Director-General of the WTO, the first representative of a BRICS country to be at the front of the organism since its foundation in 1995.

Moreover, the components that make up the financial architecture of BRICS, the NDB and the CRA, were signed into treaty in 2014 and became active in 2015. This year, at the Ufa summit, BRICS expressed their disappointment with the prolonged failure by the United States to ratify the IMF 2010 reform package, which continues to undermine the credibility, legitimacy and effectiveness of the IMF. It must be emphasized that the BRICS does not present itself as a rival to the Bretton Woods system and does not seek to replace it, even though it no longer reflects the reality of the contemporary international system, but articulates an alternative to the policies of the Westerndominated financial institutions, in other words, an effort to overcome the bonds imposed by the hegemonic structures contrary to developing countries and emerging markets such as BRICS.

In this sense, the BRICS NDB and CRA were created to be alternatives to the policy of unilateral imposition of IMF and WB regimes that do not serve the interests of the vast majority of States, although NDB and CRA raised critical for being fruitless, for lacking palpable achievements to meet the expectation of massive infrastructure needs in many countries around the globe, especially its founding members, that have been left unattended by the traditional institutions. Furthermore, despite the NDB's initial capital being constituted in US dollar, it could be advisable for the BRICS countries to set up investment funds with local currencies, for instance operated by the NDB, and to allow the bank to concentrate loans in currencies of BRICS countries. Besides, the bilateral trade between the BRICS members is also increasingly being conducted in national currencies.

An interesting initiative is the implementation, albeit slow, of BRICS pay, an international payment system, offering to the participating banks and other financial institutions Internet and Mobile banking platform in a cloud format.

According to the Digital Bank BRICS website, the BRICS PAY payment service will simplify, accelerate and reduce the cost of cross-border transfers and the process of paying for goods and services for holders of national digital currencies. Despite being a still incipient instrument, some experts even believe that in the long-term BRICS Pay can become a full-fledged alternative to European and American payment systems (in particular, The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, SWIFT).

At the group's last summit, held in June 2022, BRICS supported the NDB's goals of attaining the highest possible credit rating and institutional development. As mentioned earlier, the recent strengthening of the BRICS is related to the correct position taken by the group to resolve conflicts through dialogue and reiterating commitment to multilateralism through upholding International Law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter as its indispensable cornerstone, and to the central role of the UN in an international system in which sovereign States cooperate on the basis of International Law.

At the XIV BRICS Summit, the group reaffirmed support for an open, transparent, inclusive, non-discriminatory and rules-based multilateral trading system, as embodied in the WTO, which needs to be reformed to improve its role for setting global trade rules and governance, promoting the rights and interests of its members, including developing members and least developed countries. BRICS recognized that special and differential treatment as established in WTO rules is a tool to facilitate the achievement of WTO objectives with respect to economic growth and development and called upon all WTO members to avoid unilateral and protectionist measures that run counter to the spirit and rules of the organization. BRICS also emphasized the top priority and urgency of launching the selection process of the Appellate Body members to restore the binding two-tier multilateral dispute settlement mechanism and that the Appellate Body crisis should be resolved without further delay and should not be linked with other issues.

This position contrasts with the unipolar world led by the US that emerged after the end of the Cold War, which even engulfed the International Law. The BRICS was created as an alternative to the unilateral policies of the IMF and the WB, that is, not as a contrast to Western institutions, but to seek alternatives that allow International Economic Law to be a mechanism to regulate and promote development that serves to the vast majority of States and generate achievements to meet the expectation of massive infrastructure needs in many countries around the globe. In this sense, the strengthening of International Law remains a necessary task for the BRICS to advance sustainable development, ensure the promotion and protection of democracy, Human Rights and fundamental freedoms for all, and promoting cooperation based on the spirit of mutual respect, justice and equality.

The emergence of BRICS, initially seen as a group of countries in an economic forecast of Jim O'Neill, nowadays is actively involved in global governance institutions, primarily in the bodies of the IMF, WB, WTO, and UN. Taking this into account, this paper focused on the BRICS ability to construct the future global political and economic world order based on International Law and overcome their differences and problems caused by the overall complexity of global affairs in a rapidly changing world. The format of an article hardly permits to exhaust the entire range of problematic issues typical of BRICS and the features of modern International Law. Since its emergence, one of the main tasks of which are enhancing efficiency to the principle of renunciation of the threat of force or its use in International Relations, eliminating the dangers of new armed conflicts between States, by ensuring turning internationally from confrontation to peaceful relations and cooperation and other appropriate measures strengthening international peace and security. Therefore, it is necessary to consider International Law as the Law of peace.

Meanwhile, in the past decade, violently, with rude violations of the UN Charter and its collective security system, legitimate governments are overthrown in neighbouring countries (Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen). And shortly before that, the use of military force destroyed Iraq, on whose territory ISIS terrorists continue to engage in atrocities.

In Syria, where the BRICS countries have not supported international interference and rejected the approval of the Resolution S/2011/612, which includes measures under Article 41 of the UN Charter, the group showed that it is possible to fight for the effectiveness of International Law. The US is not able to solve global problems alone. Only rejection of a dead-end a unipolar model of globalization imposed by the west may contribute to the revitalization of International Law. The return of the former authority of the UN is impossible without respect for multipolarity. International Law is urgently needed to the normal functioning of the international system. Therefore, there is no alternative to increasing the effectiveness of International Law.

On the subject of multilateralism, at the 2022 summit, BRICS they reiterated the call for reforms of the principal organs of the United Nations and recommitted to instill new life in the discussions on reform of the UN Security Council and continue the work to revitalize the General Assembly and strengthen the Economic and Social Council.

Although the BRICS seeks not to compete with Western powers, but to build a fairer world, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has increased conflicts, mainly due to sanctions applied to Russia.

As indicated in the last summit, BRICS is committed to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States, stress commitment to the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises.

This is not possible without abolishing the racist division of the world into a group of exceptional States that a priori have the right to do everything they want and all other countries that must follow in the wake of the Golden Billion and cater to its interests, as said by the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov addressing to participants in the 5th Global Forum of Young Diplomats.

The non-use of military force or threat of force remains invariable principle of the UN Charter, it is of a peremptory nature and cannot be easily changed or cancelled due to even numerous violations or based on a legal position that only one adheres to or several States, whatever military and economic power they have.

In this subject, despite the complex scenario that BRICS countries are evolved, wherein Brazil is shaken by a political crisis, India is evolved in a complicated situation of latent ethno-religious conflict, and the sanctions pressure that Russia has been subject to since the Crimean crisis, intensified in 2022 due to the conflict with Ukraine, BRICS exists and advocates for the development of multipolar world order based on International Law.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's video message to the participants in the 4th BRICS+ International Municipal Forum, Moscow, November 24, 2022 (Видеообращение Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова к участникам IV Международного муниципального форума БРИКС+, Москва, 24 ноября 2022 г.) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: brics+, sergey_lavrov, speech

Dear friends,

I am glad to welcome the participants in the 4th BRICS+ International Municipal Forum traditionally held in the hospitable St Petersburg. Over the short time since the first forum, the format has won the reputation of a relevant and dynamically developing platform for cooperation between regional and municipal officials and business communities.

It is good to see that not only BRICS delegations but also representatives of our partners in Asia, Africa, Central and South America are taking part in the forum. We welcome their genuine interest in developing multi-dimensional cooperation with our group. And it is not surprising. After all, the forum is based on the principles of equality, mutual respect and fair treatment. BRICS encapsulates synergy of cultures and civilisations representing different regions of the planet. This international framework is an example of multilateral diplomacy that matches the realities of the 21st century.

I am pleased to see that the forum offers yet another intensive programme. You will be discussing major courses and national strategies in the sustainable development of regions. You will be sharing best municipal governance practices and will review prospects for implementing joint projects. In no small measure, this kind of meaningful dialogue seeking practical solutions to improve the quality of life for our citizens forms a future-oriented and constructive cooperation agenda.

It is obvious that solutions to the numerous problems of modern times, be it security or the economy, can only be found through collective efforts, relying on the balance of interests and generally recognised international legal norms. I am confident that today's event will follow the same constructive course as the cooperation within BRICS in general.

I hope that the forum will contribute to strengthening friendship and trust between nations, leading towards new joint initiatives. Participation in this forum is also a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the unique cultural and historical legacy of our country and discover the captivating beauty of Northern Palmyra.

Finally, I wish you productive work, interesting meetings, good health and all the best.

G20 Summit of 2022: Bridging the North-South Divide (Саммит G20 2022 года: преодоление разрыва между Севером и Югом) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues

Every G20 Summit is certainly an event of major significance to the world economy, if only because it presents an opportunity for the leaders of the world's largest economies to meet and mend bilateral ties. Aside from these benefits, though, G20 summits are always a welcomed venue to candidly assess the shortcomings of the current economic system and devise joint measures to pre-empt or counter a global economic slowdown. This time, the risks of a global recession are real and the focus on dealing with these risks had to be overriding. In the end, while some of the results of the G20 summit may be seen in a positive light, shortcomings of the G20 framework remain, including pressing vulnerabilities facing the world economy today.

Meetings and declarations: a glass-half full view

One of the summit's key highlights was the meeting between the leaders of China and the U.S., with China exhibiting notable activism in meeting other leaders of Western economies, including Australia and France. The meeting between the leaders of the U.S. and China appears to have moderated bilateral tensions, though divisions on Taiwan clearly remain. De-escalation of tensions may have been facilitated by several factors, including the midterms in the U.S. and an increasing burden of economic problems falling on both sides coupled with recessionary fears for the global economy more generally. In the very least, Xi and his Western counterparts created the conditions for moving forward with a more constructive agenda, which is arguably one of the more positive results of the G20 summit.

Another important part of the summit had to do with the statements delivered by the heads of state—of great significance were the declarations made by Xi Jinping. His speech at the G20 summit addressed some of the gaps in the G20 framework. In particular, Xi Jinping expressed support for a more inclusive framework for G20 and for bringing the African Union as a full-fledged member into G20. There is indeed no reason why the European Union should be the only regional block represented at the G20 forum as a full-fledged member. Inviting the African Union will allow the Global South to have its very own regional voice at G20 alongside the regional grouping of the advanced economies.

Also important was Xi's statement on the alleviation of the debt burden for the least developed countries—something that needs to be prioritized in the coming years given the deleterious impact on the economies of the poorest nations coming from Covid and the increased risks to energy and food security. Xi's statement that "modernization is not tantamount to Westernization" is also of note as it suggests that China's course in the global economy will be its own model of modernization rather than a simplistic replication of a Western-stylized approach. In effect, the competition in the global economy between the U.S. and China will be a competition between the convergence towards one "exemplary model" vs. a divergence in the models of modernization that could be pursued by the economies of the Global South.

G20 final statement: a mixed bag

On the surface, the G20 declaration adopted in Bali accords substantial attention to some of the pressing issues facing the global economy, such as food and energy security. Another area of focus is climate change, with the declaration stating: "We reiterate our commitment to achieve global net zero greenhouse gas emissions/carbon neutrality by or around mid-century, while taking into account the latest scientific developments and different national circumstances." There are doubts, however, that these general commitments materially affect the attainment of environmental goals in the near- to medium-term. The same goes for trade liberalization where the declaration states: "We reiterate our support for open, transparent, inclusive, predictable, and non-discriminatory, rules-based agricultural trade based on WTO rules." The problem is that the scale of protectionism and the problems of the WTO were steadily increasing despite many such "reiterations" in the past years.

What is lacking in the above decisions of G20 is a set of specific and quantifiable commitments, be it in terms of financing commitments to resolve challenges such as energy and food security, or specific commitments related to liberalization of trade. But, perhaps, the most important weakness in the G20 statement is its insufficient focus on the risks of a recession and contingency measures that need to be undertaken to counter a global downturn. While there is some mention of priorities in monetary policy that should target lower inflation, supporting growth is not articulated as such. This lack of focus and prioritization specifically relates to the coordination of fiscal policies / stimuli. On balance, the G20 statement appears to be more skewed towards anti-inflationary rather than pro-growth policies.

Still, G20's final declaration was a success in some respects, if only due to the very fact that G20 managed to come up with a compromise text. The latter is in no small degree an outcome of the growing role the Global South nations within the G20 and, in particular, Indonesia as the Chair. This ability to surmount divisions shows the scope for G20 to evolve into a platform where a constructive balance may be attained by the developed and emerging economies in spite of the disagreements that are likely to persist on key global issues.

How effective is G20?

Of course, the adoption of statements is an important but not the most critical function for G20. Rather, the main rationale for the continued operation of G20 is the effectiveness of its economic coordination and anti-crisis measures. In this regard, G20 has been instrumental in launching coordinated anti-crisis stimuli in the course of the past phases of global crises. The coordinated stimulus of 2020 was superior to the one that was undertaken to counter the effects of the 2008–2009 crisis—the scope was greater and it included multilateral development banks, thus employing a greater share of the Global Financial Safety Net.

There have also been a number of important initiatives to bolster international economic cooperation (Global Infrastructure Hub, Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation and Enhancing Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats), but the overall severity of the global problems afflicting today's world economy (protectionism, energy crisis, indebtedness, looming recession) suggests that the effectiveness of G20 has its limitations. They have to do with the inability of developed and developing economies to overcome their differences on key global issues, as was the case with the WTO's poor effectiveness. And then there is also the issue of exclusivity of the G20 club. Even with the possible admission of the African Union into G20, it will continue to lack inclusivity and outreach with respect to other parts of the global economy.

These limitations notwithstanding, Russia views G20 as an important platform of international cooperation that brings together the largest developing and developed economies. Throughout its G20 membership, Russia has advanced a number of proposals and initiatives related to reinforcing international economic stability, job creation and developing an integrated approach to labor market policy (all these initiatives were launched in 2013 during Russia's G20 chairmanship). Besides, Russia views G20 as a useful platform for strengthening economic policy coordination among the BRICS economies (all of BRICS are G20 members) as well as with other heavyweights of the Global South.

G20 evolution: What is the way ahead?

Looking into the future, the unique feature of G20 summits in the next three years is that they will be chaired by BRICS economies as India holds G20 presidency in 2023, followed by Brazil in 2024 and South Africa in 2025. The G20 troika in 2023–2024 will entirely be composed of developing economies, with the G20 troika of 2024 composed of BRICS economies only (the IBSA group). This is a precious opportunity for BRICS and for the developing world at large to deliver their tangible contribution to global governance. The words pronounced by the leading economies of the Global South on making a difference globally can now be put to the clearest of tests. India's role in this three-year BRICS-G20 sequence will be crucial as some of the initiatives that India may launch could then be supported and carried on for several years by Brazil and South Africa.

What could such an undertaking be? Perhaps, it could address the lack of outreach and inclusivity of the G20 with respect to the rest of the world, most notably the Global South. In this respect, one possible modality could be a platform within G20 that brings together the regional integration blocks of G20 countries. Back in 2017–2018, the Valdai Club proposed to create a Regional 20 (R20) mechanism to bring together the regional integration arrangements led by G20 economies. This would allow for an expanded participation of small and medium-sized economies in global governance as the regional partners of G20 members. A more comprehensive version of this proposal could involve not only the participation of regional integration arrangements, but also regional associations such as CELAC and the AU.

Another idea could be to invite the New Development Bank for G20 summits in the next three years along with the traditional participants in these annual meetings such as the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank. Still another possibility could be a platform for regional financing arrangements and regional development banks to work together with Bretton Woods institutions in creating a mechanism for ex-ante crisis diagnostics/prevention and ex-post crisis resolution.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Egypt Applies to Join Shanghai-Based New Development Bank (Египет подает заявку на вступление в Новый банк развития в Шанхае) / Egypt, November, 2022
Keywords: ndb

Egypt has reached a deal with Shanghai-headquartered New Development Bank (NDB) to join the financial institution whose strategy the Arab country says is in line with its vision.

Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait according to the statement from his department held talks with NDB's Chairman Marcos Troyjo on the sidelines of COP27.

Both parties, the ministry said, signed the instrument to allow Egypt to the bank. The instrument will be submitted to the parliament in the coming weeks.

Egypt, in joining the bank, looks forward to building a strong partnership and tap into the institution's enormous financial capabilities and advanced international expertise.

"It is clear that the new development bank NDB serves as a new platform for Egypt to enhance cooperation with the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa] countries and other emerging economies and developing countries in the field of infrastructure and sustainable development," Maait said.

NDB was launched in 2014 by BRICs countries to replenish resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging markets and developing countries' economies, to complement ongoing efforts by multilateral and regional finance.

The bank boasts a capital of $22 billion.

The North Africa Post

New Development Bank and Caixa Econômica Federal sign Memorandum of Understanding at COP27 (Новый банк развития и Caixa Econômica Federal подписали Меморандум о взаимопонимании на COP27) / China, November, 2022
Keywords: concluded_agreements, ndb

The New Development Bank (NDB) and Caixa Econômica Federal (CAIXA) launched a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on November 16, 2022, in the context of the 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27). The MoU, which was signed by NDB President, Mr. Marcos Troyjo, and CAIXA President, Ms. Daniella Marques, establishes a framework for cooperation between the two organizations and promotes joint initiatives in areas of mutual interest, including financing for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in Brazil.

Mr. Marcos Troyjo noted that "it is an honor for NDB to establish this partnership with CAIXA, one of Brazil's longest-standing institutions. The collaboration between NDB and CAIXA is centered on a shared vision for the sustainable growth and development of Brazil. Bringing our institutions closer together, this partnership agreement will help us to tap into each other's expertise and resources, strengthening our collective capacity to support Brazil in the implementation of its sustainable development goals and commitments under the Paris Agreement." He added that, "NDB looks forward to embarking on the exciting road of collaboration ahead."

Ms. Daniella Marques, speaking from the COP27 Conference Center in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, highlighted that "the partnership between CAIXA and NDB will open the doors for collaboration across a range of initiatives. In addition to joint financing, we will pursue collaboration through knowledge sharing and exchange of expertise, including through organization of joint events, training and research."

According to the MoU, NDB and CAIXA will develop sector and thematic level collaboration in areas including renewable energy and energy efficiency, environmental protection, sustainable agriculture, water and sanitation, and social infrastructure, among others. The MoU highlights that NDB and CAIXA are mutually interested in promoting inclusive growth and sustainable development in Brazil and acknowledges the benefits of cooperation between the two organizations in line with their respective mandates.

Background information

NDB was established by the BRICS countries to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging market economies and developing countries, complementing the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development. In 2021, NDB initiated membership expansion and admitted Bangladesh, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay as its new member countries.

CAIXA is a financial institution in the form of a public company, endowed with a legal personality governed by private law, with its own assets and administrative autonomy, linked to the Ministry of Economy, headquartered in Brasília, Federal District, Brazil. CAIXA, as a partner of the Brazilian State, has been providing social and environmental solutions to the Brazilian population, being one of the main instruments of social policies and investment in the country, supporting programs, projects, works and services that seek to promote the socioeconomic development of Brazil.

World of Work
BRICS is trailblazer in environmental approach to antitrust regulation — analyst (БРИКС — первопроходец в экологическом подходе к антимонопольному регулированию — аналитик) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: economic_challenges, expert_opinion

The antimonopoly authorities of the BRICS countries will issue a joint document that will contain methodological recommendations and describe the terms of reference of the joint regulatory approach to digital markets, director of the International Center of BRICS Competition Law and Policy at the National Research University Higher School of Economics Alexey Ivanov said

RIO DE JANEIRO, November 24. /TASS/. Antitrust agencies are poised to take an environment-based approach to their work in the digital area in the future, something that regulators in the BRICS countries are already practicing, Alexey Ivanov, director of the International Center of BRICS Competition Law and Policy at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, said on Thursday.

"The essence of the ecological approach - the ecoantitrust - is that digital systems should be considered as living biological organisms. Consequently, when it comes to the analysis and regulation of digital giants and their business strategies, it's proposed to rely on the same laws by which natural systems function," he explained at a meeting of a BRICS task force for studying competition in digital markets.

BRICS is a group of countries comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

"Agencies of the BRICS countries are already applying environmental methodology to review the behavior of players in digital markets, identify anti-competitive practices and analyze transactions. It was agreed at the task force meeting today that the antimonopoly authorities of the BRICS countries will issue a joint document that will contain methodological recommendations and describe the terms of reference of the joint regulatory approach to digital markets," he said.

The sixth meeting of the BRICS task force to study competition in digital markets is held in Rio de Janeiro as part of the BRICS+ Forum of Antitrust Agencies in Digital Competition, which, in addition to the five countries, is also attended by representatives of Argentina, Egypt, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The forum is organized by the HSE International Centre for BRICS Competition Law and Policy together with the Getulio Vargas Foundation research centre (FGV) and the Administrative Council for Economic Defense, the Brazilian antitrust agency also known as CADE.

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