Media Statement 13 July 2015
“BRICS implementing its long-term strategy for economic cooperation, peace & security, social justice, political & economic governance, and knowledge sharing”
The BRICS Ufa Declaration issued from the BRICS Heads of State Summit on 9 July 2015 in Ufa in the Russian Federation presents a strong commitment for continued action in implementing its strategic five long-term goals. The five goals for strengthening economic cooperation and development, consolidating peace and security, ensuring social justice, sustainable development and quality of life, global political and economic governance reform, and progress through knowledge and innovation sharing, are the pillars on which the BRICS long-term strategy was found. The Ufa Declaration highlights the immediate priorities of the long-term strategy, and the calls on the BRICS governments and institutions to begin implementation.
Promoting cooperation for economic growth and development
BRICS believe it is essential that economic growth is based on the balanced development of all sectors of national economies. Development must also allow for new technologies and innovations; the mobilisation of resources from financial institutions; free movement of capital, labour and goods; fair and efficiently regulated competition; and the encouragement of private investment.
A key focus for BRICS economic cooperation is the importance of intensifying industrial production capabilities, establishing industrial parks and clusters, technology parks, and engineering centres with a view to developing and introducing cutting-edge technologies and collaborating for the promotion of infrastructure investment in railways, roadways, seaports and airports across BRICS countries.
For infrastructure investment the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) is expected to be the main instrument for implementing this objective. Key guidelines for expanding trade and investment, manufacturing and minerals processing, energy, agricultural cooperation, science, technology and innovation, financial cooperation, connectivity and ICT cooperation are captured in the BRICS Strategy for the BRICS Economic Partnership.
The approved framework for BRICS E-commerce Cooperation and the Initiative on Strengthening IPR Cooperation (intellectual property rights) will be used to promote current and future initiatives to build a closer economic partnership among the BRICS Countries in supporting efforts aimed at establishing and enhancing the cooperation mechanisms in such SMEs development.
On Peace and Security
The BRICS heads of State asserted that peaceful coexistence of nations is impossible without universal, scrupulous and consistent application of the generally recognised principles and rules of international law. In this light they continue to uphold the central role of the United Nations as a forum for crafting common solutions and a platform for open and honest debate as well as coordination of global politics to prevent war and conflicts and promote progress and development of humankind.
However, the BRICS, in line with the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations, including its Security Council with a view to making it more representative.
The Heads of State condemn unilateral military interventions and economic sanctions in violation of international law, and affirmed that development and security are closely interlinked, mutually reinforcing and key to attaining sustainable peace. It is in this light that BRICS must encourage cooperation on matters relating to terrorism, drug trafficking and the peaceful use of outer space resources. In addition, the Declaration notes ongoing regional conflict in the Middle East and Africa and stresses BRICS commitment to the sustainable and peaceful settlement of disputes, according to principles and purposes of the UN Charter and the UN Human Rights Council.
On Social Justice, Sustainable Development and Quality of life
To achieve its aims of ensuring social justice sustainable development and a quality of life the Declaration strongly supports the current international efforts towards the development of the post 2015 agenda. It argues however, that it is essential that the post-2015 development agenda be built on the foundation laid by the Millennium Development Goals to ensure completion of unfinished commitments and respond to new challenges. A post-2015 development agenda should furthermore reinforce the international community’s commitment to eradicate poverty achieve sustained, equitable and inclusive economic growth and sustainable development based on the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) of countries.
The Declaration expresses deep concern on issues around public health and the impact of the world drug problem, communicable diseases such as HIV-Aids, TB, Malaria and Ebola, and reaffirms the right for all citizens to highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and a quality of life concomitant with the well-being for individuals and family. The Declaration also recognizes the interdependence between investment in basic education and development of human capital and improvement in economic performance and reaffirms the need for equal, accessible, high quality and life-long education for all, and vocational training for young people to enter the labour market. For higher education the Declaration supports efforts for independent initiatives to establish the BRICS Network University and the BRICS University League, and encourages skills development cooperation through implementation of the international best practices.
In support of their commitment to social justice and quality of life the Heads of State calls on national statistical agencies to pursue collaboration towards developing consistent and common indicators to measure and monitor progress in health and education across BRICS.
With respect to climate change and environmental concerns the Heads of State committed BRICS to promote cooperation that was begun at the first meeting of environment ministers and the first official meeting on energy efficiency in May 2015 that initiated a new format of cooperation in the environmental area.
On Political and Economic Governance
In support of securing economic growth, maintain financial stability and speed up global economic and political institutional reforms the Declaration calls on the G20, WTO and IMF to enforce principles of transparency, inclusiveness to better represent the concerns of developing nations. In particular the speedy implementation of the 14th General Quota Review in the WTO will ensure that the institution contributes to strengthening the multilateral trading system.
In support of its strategy to promote economic cooperation for growth and development, and mitigate the effects of dependency on existing multilateral development banks and financial institutions, the BRICS launched the New Development Bank and the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement. The New Development Bank (NDB) will serve as a powerful instrument for financing infrastructure investment and sustainable development projects in the BRICS and other developing countries. The BRICS Contingency Reserve Agreement (CRA) will allow its members to provide mutual financial support, as an important step in the financial cooperation of our countries. Instruments for institutionalizing the governance and operations of the NDB and CRA include the signing of the “MoU on Cooperation with the New Development Bank” between national development banks/institutions; the creation of a platform for joint discussion for trade cooperation amongst BRICS countries through enhanced dialogue between the BRICS Export Credit Agencies, and the introduction of the inaugural meeting of the Board of Governors of the New Development Bank.
On Progress through knowledge and innovation sharing
The Declaration gives support and effect to the goal of progress in BRICS through knowledge and sharing of innovation. In this regard the Heads of State recognize the importance of ICTs in human development and as a tool for transition from information to a knowledge society and supports the principles of multilateralism, democracy, transparency and mutual trust, and for the development of universally agreed rules of conduct with regard to the use of ICT networks. Furthermore the Heads of State have committed themselves to strengthening cooperation in ICTs, including Internet and the fields of science and technology to protect national security interests. In support of these commitments the BRICS have instituted the Working Group of Experts of the BRICS States on security in the use of ICTs that will initiate cooperation in: sharing of information and best practices relating to security in the use of ICTs; effective coordination against cyber-crime; the establishment of nodal points in member-states; intra-BRICS cooperation using the existing Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRT); the establishment of a joint Research and Innovation Platform and the implementation of a BRICS Framework Programme for funding multilateral joint research projects for research . All of these activities will be carried out as per the BRICS STI Work Plan to be endorsed at the next BRICS Meeting of Ministers for Science, Technology and Innovation.
For expanding and deepening cooperation in the fields of culture and art and promoting joint research on the priority issues of common interest such as technology and scientific knowledge to address climate change BRICS member states have already signed an Agreement between the Governments on Cooperation in the Field of Culture.
The five pillars of the BRICS strategy were proposed to the BRICS Heads of State Summit in Fortaleza, 2014 by the BRICS Think Tank Council (BTTC) as a framework for the BRICS long-term strategy. The South African BRICS Think Tank is the South African representative of the BTTC and played a key role in shaping the recommendations for the BRICS long-term strategy.
Together with the BRICS Academic Forum and the BRICS Business Council the BTTC was called upon by the Heads of State to provide BRICS member states with support for the implementation of the policy objectives outlined in the Declaration. The next 2016 BRICS Heads of State summit will be hosted in India. It is expected that at this summit the Heads of state will seek to operationalize and approve the New Development Bank’s inaugural investment projects.
At the end of June 2015 the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) handed over its role as the incubator of the South African BRICS Think Tank (SABTT) to the National Institute of Humanities and Social Science (NIHSS). However, the HSRC is committed to continue to provide the SABTT with necessary support through the HSRC BRICS Research Centre.
Issued on behalf of the South African BRICS Think Tank (SABTT)
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