Ten years of BRICS: Achievements and inhibitors
The expert discussion, BRICS at Ten: Challenges, Achievements and Prospects, has been held during the 11th Gaidar Forum at the Russian Presidential Academy. The participants analyzed the achievements of the BRICS, the factors hindering collective decision-making and the results Russia achieved in advancing its interests within the BRICS framework.
The choice of the topic for this expert discussion in 2020 was conditioned by the need to sum up the Brazilian presidency of the BRICS and set priorities for Russia, which took over the presidency in 2020, as well as to assess the BRICS role in the implementation of Russia's foreign policy goals and objectives. It is also important to outline the key issues on the agenda for the new cycle of cooperation and determine the role of the BRICS in the system of international institutions, said Marina Larionova, Director of the Center for International Institutions Research, RANEPA, opening the discussion.
The audience listened with interest to Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s Sherpa at BRICS. The present-day BRICS is a versatile and multilateral association, he said; its restoration phase, its “identity search” has ended. At the end of 2018, the aggregate GDP of the five countries reached 44 trillion US dollars. According to the IMF forecast, this indicator is going to grow to 47.6 trillion dollars in 2019 – while a similar forecast for G7 countries is 42.4 trillion dollars. Sergei Ryabkov noted that BRICS member countries are also influential participants in respected international platforms. “In the current turbulent and unpredictable world, BRICS is an association that relies exclusively on a common approach to international affairs. BRICS is primarily concerned about the multilateralism of international law, about consensus where no one imposes anything on others. We are not forcing anyone to cooperate with us – it should be their own decision,” he said.
He also listed the group of five’s priorities that include politics, the economy, security, and healthcare. BRICS is implementing projects in all these areas aimed at making the association more recognizable in the world community.
Andrei Bokarev, Director of the International Financial Relations Department at the Ministry of Finance, noted that BRICS has met the original expectations. Its institutions are being formed, such as the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement and the New Development Bank. The participants’ high interest in integration is clearly reflected in more than 40 projects approved with a total worth of over 12 billion dollars. Partnerships with other institutions are also being implemented; they have a dialogue format, where participants listen to each other's opinions, he added.
“It is our responsibility to formulate a new economic partnership strategy. Our first step was to analyze the results that were achieved after implementing the 2015 strategy. The previous strategy embraced very few digital realities – digital policies, digital economy or education – but we decided to correct that now,” said Natalya Stapran, Director of the Department for Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects at the Ministry of Economic Development.
Philani Mthembu, Executive Director of the Institute for Global Dialogue of South Africa, emphasized that it is important to pay close attention to natural resources, to protecting the oceans and forests, and to the use of clean energy. He also highlighted the impor5tance of cooperation in healthcare, the food industry and cryptocurrencies.
Other panel experts included Madeline Koch, Managing Director of the BRICS Research Group, co-director of the G20 Research Group, University of Toronto; Binod Singh Ajatshatru, Director, National Committee for BRICS Research; and John Kirton, Co-director of the BRICS Research Group, co-director of the G20 Research Group, University of Toronto.
The 11th Gaidar Forum, Russia and the World: Challenges of the New Decade, held at the Presidential Academy on January 15 and 16, 2020, focuses on discussing national and global development goals and finding practical answers to the most pressing challenges of our time. The forum is attended by Cabinet ministers of the Russian Federation, members of the Federal Assembly, governors of Russian regions, major international experts, and representatives of foreign states.
11th Gaidar Forum Organizers:
The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA);
The Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute);
The Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).
General partners: Gazprom, Gazprombank. Strategic partners: Coca-Cola, Mastercard, Russian Railways, Pharmstandard group, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Novartis Group, MSD, ACIG Group, EF Education First. Partners: Prosveshcheniye Group, EY, Huawei, RVC, Russian Agricultural Bank.
General information partners: Rossiya 24 TV Chanel, TASS, RBC, Business FM; strategic information partners: Kommersant Publishing House, Interfax, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Invest Foresight online business magazine, RIA FederalPress; main information partners: Anews.com, Gazeta.ru, Lenta.ru, News.ru, Profile; international partners: RT, Thomson Reuters, Sputnik, EFE, Cision, Pan Pacific Agency; information partners: Snob media project, PRIME economic news agency, RNS, Expert magazine, Parlamentskaya Gazeta, Polit.ru, Radio Ekho Moskvy, PRO Business TV channel, FINAM.RU agency, Davydov.Index, Strategia magazine, Ekonomika i Zhizn newspaper, ECONS.ONLINE website, Gosudarstvennaya Sluzhba magazine, TV BRICS.