BRICS cooperation is crucial amid profound changes globally
Zhu Jiejin
The BRICS summit this year will be held on November 13 and 14. /VCG Photo

The BRICS summit this year will be held on November 13 and 14. /VCG Photo

Editor's note: Zhu Jiejin is an associate professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

The BRICS summit will be held in Brazil on November 13 and 14. The theme of the summit is Economic Growth for an Innovative Future, which consists of science, technology, and innovation cooperation, BRICS partnership on the 4th Industrial Revolution, and strengthening the cooperation between the BRICS New Development Bank and the BRICS Business Council. 

Why has BRICS chosen this theme and these specific topics? Their significance could be understood from the perspective of profound changes unseen around the world in a century.

On one hand, there is a change in the balance of power between the emerging economies and advanced countries. According to the IMF, the average economic growth of the BRICS countries from 2015 to 2019 was only 3.1 percent, half of the average 6.2 percent registered between 2005 and 2009. Brazil, for instance, has experienced negative economic growth from 2015 to 2019. The economic growth of both Russia and South Africa was less than 1 percent. During the same time, advanced countries' economic growth was on a steady rise, from 1.9 percent in 2010-2014 to 2.1 percent in 2019. The recovery of advanced countries and the fall of emerging economies will have a significant impact on the international balance of power.

How to avoid the widening economic gap between emerging economies and advanced countries? It is important to talk about science, technology, and innovation cooperation, which make up the foundation of the world economic growth.

On September 20, BRICS ministers for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) issued the Campinas Declaration, establishing the BRICS working group on Ocean and Polar science and technology, BRICS working group on Science, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Partnership, BRICS working group on New and Renewable Energy, and BRICS working group on Biotechnology and Biomedicine. The bloc also adopted the Science, Technology and Innovation working plan (2019-2022), developing joint actions in research, technological development, innovation and entrepreneurship.

On the other hand, there's also a change in global governance rules. BRICS is an active force to defend the rules-based international system. The United States, on the contrary, has exited from many international organizations and treaties. Under this condition, it is important for the BRICS to keep its commitment to multilateralism. On security, BRICS insists on the UN as the fundamental multilateral organization entrusted with helping the international community maintaining international peace and security. The UN enjoys universal membership and is at the very center of global governance and multilateralism.

Trump administration's unilateral approach to international affairs made existing multilateral institutions vital to sustaining the rules-based international order. /VCG Photo

Trump administration's unilateral approach to international affairs made existing multilateral institutions vital to sustaining the rules-based international order. /VCG Photo

On trade, the BRICS fully support the rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at its center. WTO reform must preserve its centrality, core values, and fundamental principles, and consider the interests of emerging markets and developing countries. And the WTO's negotiation agenda should be discussed in an open, transparent and inclusive manner.

On climate, the BRICS emphasizes the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, including the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Developed countries should provide financial, technological, and capacity-building support to developing countries to enhance their capability in dealing with mitigation and adaptation.

Meanwhile, the BRICS is also active in building new institutions suitable for developing countries. A case in point is the New Development Bank (NDB). The NDB is new in terms of relationships, projects, instruments, and approaches.

A new relationship means a relationship of equality, mutual respect, and trust between the bank and its member countries. New projects mean that sustainable infrastructure development is at the core of NDB's operational strategy. New instruments mean that NDB will pay attention to local currency bond issuance and financing. New approach means that NDB will be lean and efficient in its operation.

The leaders in the Brazilian summit will discuss the NDB's establishment of American Regional Office, membership expansion, and local currency bond issuance. The strengthening of the cooperation between BRICS New Development Bank and BRICS Business Council will get the most attention. This is an important step for the BRICS Public-Private Partnership building.

Above all, the BRICS is a positive force in the change of international balance of power and governance rules, reforming the current international institutions towards a more representative and equitable governance, generating more inclusive global growth, and fostering a stable, peaceful, and prosperous world.

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