South Africa is hosting the BRICS Summit (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in Durban from 26 to 27 March 2013. Prior to this meeting the officials of these countries are coming together to participate in various related activities. One of these activities is a consortium of BRICS think tanks.
The South African government has appointed the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) to serve as an incubator for the South Africa BRICS Think Tank for a period of one year. The responsible government departments are the Department of Higher Education (DHET), working closely with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).
Dr Olive Shisana, CEO of the HSRC, will be co-chairing the first workshop on 8 and 9 March with Dr Diane Parker of DHET. The incubator workshop will map out the route towards a long-term strategy for such a think tank.
“The HSRC has extensive experience and specialisation in the area of social policy research. The organisation is therefore well-placed to anchor such a structure and provide support for BRICS-related policy dialogues at the national level,” Shisana said.
”South Africa is the latest member to join BRICS and is the only one among the member countries that did not have a dedicated think tank until now. The HSRC has been tasked to nurture and grow the SA BRICS Think Tank, which will be operated within the HSRC’s legislated mandate as an independent advisor to government.”
The main intention of the South African BRICS Think Tank will be to conduct evidenced-based policy analysis aimed at informing the long term strategy of BRICS, and doing so in an inclusive manner. It will further create a forum to facilitate discussion among academics, policy makers and non-governmental organisations interested in the development of the BRICS developmental strategy.
“Scholars will be able to make contributions to government policies and related research projects with the objective of immediate and tangible impacts on the strategic economic, social and geo-political policies of the country”, Shisana said.
Importantly, the HSRC aims to co-operate with various local experts and organisations in the field to strengthen and build the analytical and scholarly capacity in this field. “This will be crucial to create networks and to stimulate fresh thinking in relation to BRICS and not simply to repeat what others are doing”, she said.
The workshop on how such a think tank would operate will take place on 8-9 March 2013 in Durban. In attendance will be representatives of Brasil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
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