Against the drastic changes and complex challenges to world peace and development, the BRICS events are most opportune, which are of great importance for the BRICS and developing countries to jointly uphold international fairness and justice, revitalize global development, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Outstanding significance of the BRICS
BRICS is the acronym for an emerging–market group comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The BRICS countries represent more than 40 percent of the world’s population and over 20 percent of global total economic output.
Over the past 16 years since its inception, the BRICS has been bearing the development expectations of emerging markets, acting as mechanism for cooperation among developing countries and platform for South-South cooperation, and has made substantive and solid progress in practical cooperation across the board.
Unlike certain countries aiming to split the world, and attempting to expand military alliances to seek absolute security, the BRICS cooperation focuses on injecting new impetus into maintaining world peace and promoting common development, and has demonstrated resilience and vitality by embracing the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, thereby cementing a new international alternative representing the right trend of history.
The BRICS resists the Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation, opposes hegemonism and power politics. It is committed to multilateralism, upholds the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, follows the historical trend of world multi-polarity and greater democracy in international relations, and builds a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation.
Expansive consensus and Elevated Cooperation
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended and addressed the 2022 BRICS Business Forum and the 14th BRICS Summit under the theme of “Foster High-quality BRICS partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development”.
President of Algeria, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Uzbekistan, Vice President of Brazil, Prime Minister of Cambodia, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Malaysia and Thailand attended the High-level Dialogue on Global Development focusing on the theme of “Foster a Global Development Partnership for the New Era to Jointly Implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi participated via video conference in the high-level dialogue session on global development. As the Egyptian spokesman for the Presidency stated, Egypt previously participated as a guest in the BRICS Summit that was held in China in September 2017. The Chinese president's invitation for Egypt's participation demonstrates the strong bonds based on the comprehensive strategic partnership between Egypt and China across various fields, as well as the close friendship between President El-Sisi and President Xi Jinping.
Leaders reached multiple important common understandings on promoting world peace and security, improving the global governance system, deepening BRICS cooperation in economic integration, jointly responding to COVID-19, and doing utmost to reduce the impact of poverty, food and energy crisis. The BRICS activities will deliver over 30 major outcomes this year, which will reach a new height in terms of quantity and quality. It can be preliminarily summarized as "ten highlights":
--- Send BRICS' strong message of safeguarding international fairness and justice. Release the Beijing Declaration, express the common position on supporting multilateralism and improving the global governance system, and put forward BRICS proposals for safeguarding world peace.
--- Consolidate the BRICS line of defense against the pandemic. Launch the BRICS Vaccine R&D Center and build a comprehensive platform for joint research, development and production that reaches out to developing countries to help build a community of health for all.
--- Play BRICS' part to keep the global economy open. Release the Joint Statement on Supporting Multilateral Trading System and WTO Reform of the BRICS countries, put forward the BRICS Initiative on Enhancing Cooperation on Supply Chains, and build BRICS consensus on upholding the multilateral trading system and improving the formulation of international trade rules.
--- Highlight BRICS actions to win the fight against corruption. Adopt the BRICS Initiative on Denial of Safe Haven to Corruption, and deepen practical cooperation among BRICS countries on cross-border corruption governance and pursuit of economic and corrupt offenders to build a new global anti-corruption governance system.
--- Lay a solid foundation for building a big market for BRICS integration. Sign the Agreement between the Governments of BRICS Countries on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters, and release the BRICS Initiative on Trade and Investment for Sustainable Development, to provide new growth drivers for promoting trade facilitation and achieving economic recovery.
--- Inject BRICS impetus into global food security. Reach the first the Strategy on Food Security Cooperation of the BRICS Countries, and establish the Forum on Agricultural and Rural Development, to showcase the five BRICS countries’ practical actions to stabilize global food production and the positive contributions to global food security governance.
--- Tap the potential of BRICS for innovation-driven development. Establish the BRICS network of technology transfer centers, and host the Forum on Big Data for Sustainable Development, to contribute to economic transformation, upgrading and high-quality development in the five BRICS countries.
--- Expand BRICS cooperation in new domains of frontier science and technology. Establish the BRICS aerospace cooperation mechanism, and promote exchanges and innovation in space science and technology, to set a BRICS model for the peaceful use of outer space and aerospace technology for sustainable development.
--- Seize the opportunity of the times for the development of the digital economy. Endorse the BRICS Digital Economy Partnership Framework, and release the BRICS Initiative for Cooperation on Digitalization of Manufacturing, to achieve leapfrog development together.
--- Build a future-oriented pool of high-quality technical talents. Establish the BRICS Technical and Vocational Education and Training Cooperation Alliance, and hold the Skills Competition, SDG Solutions Competition, and Women's Innovation Contest, to promote connectivity between the talent, industrial and innovation chains of the five BRICS countries.
Following the summits in Sanya and Xiamen, China hosts the BRICS Summit for the third time. Since China took over the BRICS chairmanship of 2022, thanks to the active support of all sides, China has successfully held over 90 meetings and events at various levels so far this year, and will host over 170 BRICS events in various fields throughout the year, covering political, security, economic, trade, financial, people-to-people, cultural exchanges, sustainable development and public health. In the first half of this year alone, more than 20 ministerial meetings were held, and each of the "BRICS Plus" events attracted the participation of more than 50 non-BRICS countries, expanding the influence of BRICS.
In addition, this year China also held the BRICS Political Parties, Think Tanks and Civil Society Organizations Forum, and carried out the joint filming and broadcasting of documentaries, to tell BRICS stories, spread BRICS voices and promote mutual understanding and amity among BRICS countries through rich and colorful cultural exchanges activities. China also focused on strengthening BRICS institutional development, expanding "BRICS Plus" cooperation and establishing broader partnerships.
President Xi Jinping, bearing in mind the well-being of the entire humanity, has led the BRICS summits to produce a series of pioneering, leading and institutional outcomes, fully demonstrating the historical responsibility and global vision of a major country's leader and contributing China's new share to world peace and development.
President Xi attended the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum and delivered a keynote speech, chaired the 14th BRICS Summit in Beijing and delivered an important speech, pointing out the significance of fostering a more comprehensive, close, practical and inclusive high-quality partnership and jointly embarking on a new journey of BRICS cooperation. President Xi chaired the High-level Dialogue on Global Development in Beijing and delivered important remarks titled “Forging High-quality Partnership for a New Era of Global Development”.
President Xi’s speeches gave an insightful answer to “where the world is headed”, the important question of our times. The speeches aim to bring confidence and strength to a volatile and unstable world and are warmly received. Participants said the speeches are rich in content and inspiring, charting the course for deepening practical BRICS cooperation, pointing the way forward for upholding world security and stability, and painting the blueprint for promoting global openness and development. The speeches have also enhanced the world confidence in China’s economic prospect and set the right direction for businesses to participate in and support BRICS cooperation.
China proposed the “BRICS Plus” mechanism during the 2017 BRICS Summit. As the BRICS chair for this year, China actively supports the BRICS in starting the membership expansion process and expanding the “BRICS Plus” cooperation, to pursue BRICS development with open doors and boost cooperation with open arms.
At the summit, all BRICS leaders agreed to move ahead on “BRICS Plus” cooperation, enhance the representation of the BRICS, advance the BRICS membership expansion process, and promote discussions to clarify the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures for this expansion process. Relevant consensus is reflected in the XIV BRICS Summit Beijing Declaration adopted and released at the summit. This fully demonstrates that BRICS cooperation is open and inclusive.
China is ready to work with other BRICS members, emerging markets and developing countries to deepen the BRICS strategic partnership, and discuss ways to conduct “BRICS Plus” cooperation at higher levels, in wider areas and in larger scope, so as to inject more BRICS strength into global development and more positive energy into a world facing turbulence and challenges.
* Li Jie is Counselor at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Arab Republic of Egypt.