By SA News
BRICS Member States have expressed satisfaction with the achievements of the bloc over the last 10 years and have affirmed their commitment to navigate development imperatives as a united front.
“We, the Heads of State and Government, express satisfaction regarding the achievements of BRICS over the last 10 years as a strong demonstration of BRICS cooperation toward the attainment of peace, harmony and shared development and prosperity, and deliberated on ways to consolidate them further,” said the Heads of State in the Johannesburg Declaration.
The declaration was made on the second day of the 10th BRICS Summit underway at the Sandton Convention Centre.
The five major emerging national economies that form the BRICS grouping reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of mutual respect, sovereign equality, democracy, inclusiveness and strengthened collaboration.
In the declaration, the leaders — South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Michel Temer — further committed themselves to enhancing strategic partnerships for the benefit of their people.
This would be done through the promotion of peace, a fairer international order, sustainable development and inclusive growth. This would also be done through strengthening the three-pillar-driven cooperation in the areas of the economy, peace and security and people-to-people exchanges.
The 23-page declaration, which includes several annexes, comes a day after the BRICS Business Forum aired its concerns around the global economy, which is currently facing challenges with the onslaught of trade wars and the move from multilateralism to unilateralism.
Maintaining role of WTO
In the declaration, the leaders of BRICS countries, which account for more than a third of the world’s population, recommitted their support for multilateralism and the central role of the United Nations in international affairs and uphold fair, just and equitable international order.
“We recognise that the multilateral trading system is facing unprecedented challenges. We underscore the importance of an open world economy, enabling all countries and peoples to share the benefits of globalisation, which should be inclusive and support sustainable development and prosperity of all countries.
“We call on all WTO members to abide by WTO rules and honour their commitments in the multilateral trading system,” noted the declaration.
The declaration states that the WTO Dispute Settlement System is the cornerstone of the multilateral trading system and is designed to enhance security and predictability in international trade.
The declaration acknowledges the need to preserve the WTO’s negotiating function.
“We, therefore, agree to constructively engage in further developing the current legal framework of the multilateral trading system within the WTO, taking into consideration the concerns and interests of all WTO members, including in particular the developing members.”
The bloc also recommitted their support to address common traditional and non-traditional security challenges.
The leaders welcomed the hosting of the BRICS-Africa Outreach and second BRICS Plus Cooperation with Emerging Markets and Developing Countries (EMDCs) during the Johannesburg Summit.
In terms of developments in the energy space, the leaders acknowledged that the bloc’s Ministers of Energy are working to establish the BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform and to develop its Terms of Reference. The leaders noted the ongoing discussions for that purpose.
The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to develop people-to-people contact across various sectors.
The five countries have for the past 10 years put special focus on people-to-people relations, with several programmes and exchanges in the fields of sports, youth, films, culture, education and tourism.