Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
With five members including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, BRICS plays an important role in the global economy. Cooperation in the BRICS mechanism has brought many benefits to its members. The BRICS New Development Bank has approved 65 sustainable development and infrastructure projects worth US$21 billion in all member countries over the past five years. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, this multilateral bank has provided up to US$10 billion for economic recovery and assistance projects related to the crisis through its emergency COVID-19 response programme.
Taking place at a time when the world is undergoing profound changes with increasing instability, the 12th BRICS Summit focused on discussing cooperation to cope with the global challenges having strong impacts on each member nation. Reviewing its activities in 2020, leaders of BRICS countries highly appreciated Russia’s efforts as BRICS Chair, creating a new sense of motivation and quality for the development of BRICS. Russian President V. Putin affirmed that, despite the pandemic, cooperation among member countries in the bloc is still developing dynamically in many important directions, from economics and politics to the field of humanities.
The summit adopted the 97-point Moscow Declaration and many important documents, including the BRICS strategy for economic partnership through 2025 and a BRICS counter-terrorism strategy. Notably, the Declaration emphasised the support of the collective effort to peacefully resolve disputes through political and diplomatic measures, and noted the United Nations Secretary-General’s initiative on joint ceasefires and the UN Security Council Resolution requiring immediate cessation of military operations, except for military operations against terrorist groups on the UN Security Council Sanction List.
Along with the main issues regarding trade, leaders of BRICS countries also focused on discussing measures to promote intra-regional cooperation in the areas of politics and security, economics and finance, society and person-to-person exchanges. Challenges resulting from the pandemic were among the most important issues addressed by the BRICS countries.
Despite their remarkable success in the fight against the pandemic, the BRICS still recognise that much work remains to be done and a new wave of infections need to be prevented. This is a serious challenge that requires flexibility and further improvement of the health care systems of all countries. In response to the crisis, BRICS countries mentioned the possibility of establishing an early integrated warning system of the threat of mass infection and this system would become a new mechanism in BRICS operations.
Emphasising BRICS’s strong support for multilateralism, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to maintain world stability and peace; strengthen solidarity and cooperation to deal with pandemic challenges and advocate for openness and innovation to promote a global economic recovery. The Chinese leader affirmed that the country will adhere to its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, ready to cooperate with BRICS members to build partnerships in the new industrial revolution. The Russian President called on BRICS member countries to cooperate in the large-scale production of COVID-19 vaccines and to promote South Africa’s initiative to establish a BRICS vaccine research and development centre.
BRICS countries also agreed on the goal of further promoting the potential of cooperation, ensuring a second “golden decade” for the bloc. Strengthening solidarity and creating a strong sense of consensus to overcome current difficulties is an important goal, bringing benefits to members of the bloc and contributing to common development, creating new motivation for the global economy.