brics and the challenges in fighting inequalities

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Thirteen years after it was conceived by Jim O’Neill, the BRICS has gone through several phases to consolidate itself as a group of countries able to act jointly in the international arena. More than being a new North to global investors, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa are protagonists in the spread of hopes throughout the globe to reduce poverty and social inequality, as well as the construction of a new world order, marked by new centers and protagonists. The existence of a group of countries like the BRICS demonstrates to the whole world that mobility is a real possibility in the international arena. What it does not make clear, however, is whether this mobility will result in profound systemic changes towards an equal and more democratic world. Thus, in order to understand if the BRICS can collaborate in the construction of an equal and more democratic world, it is necessary to understand the world that these five countries are creating for themselves. Produced jointly by BRICS Policy Center and Oxfam, this document contains four analyses of key issues for the understanding of BRICS and its world, and the possibilities of changes brought to the fore by the joint action of these five countries. The objective of this document is to strengthen the debate between civil society organizations in the BRICS countries on key issues to combat inequality, promote sustainable development, and thus find ways for the BRICS to become a vector to a less unequal and more democratic world.

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  • COORDINATOR Sergio Veloso ASSISTANT Andr Jobim FINANCIAL COORDINATION Aurlie Delater GRAPHIC DESIGNER Tiago Macedo tgmacedo.art @ gmail.com TRANSLATION AND REVISION Barbara Alves Renata Gomide Rua Dona Mariana, 63 Botafogo 22280-020 Rio de Janeiro - RJ Brazil www.bricspolicycenter.org SCS Quadra 08, bloco B-50, sala 401, edifcio Venncio 2000 70333-900 Braslia - DF Brazil www.oxfam.org ORGANIZATION The contents of this publication do not necessarily represent the views of Oxfam or of the Brics Policy Center.
  • SUMRIO 1 INTRODUCTION 2 THE FIRST CYCLE OF BRICS SUMMIT: A CRITICAL REVIEW 3 URBAN INEQUALITY 4 PUBLIC EXPENDITURE ON INOVATION 5 SOCIAL-ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY 6 7 33 19 47
  • Thirteen years after it was conceived by Jim ONeill, the BRICS has gone through several phases to consolidate itself as a group of countries able to act jointly in the international arena. More than being a new North to global investors, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa are protagonists in the spread of hopes throughout the globe to reduce poverty and social inequality, as well as the construction of a new world order, marked by new centers and protagonists. The existence of a group of countries like the BRICS demonstrates to the whole world that mobility is a real possibility in the international arena. What it does not make clear, however, is whether this mobility will result in profound systemic changes towards an equal and more democratic world. Thus, in order to understand if the BRICS can collaborate in the construction of an equal and more democratic world, it is necessary to understand the world that these five countries are creating for themselves. Produced jointly by BRICS Policy Center and Oxfam, this document contains four analyses of key issues for the understanding of BRICS and its world, and the possibilities of changes brought to the fore by the joint action of these five countries. The objective of this document is to strengthen the debate between civil society organizations in the BRICS countries on key issues to combat inequality, promote sustainable development, and thus find ways for the BRICS to become a vector to a less unequal and more democratic world. Srgio Veloso, BRICS Policy Center INTRODUCTION 06 | INTRODUCTION
  • THE FIRST CYCLE OF BRICS SUMMIT: A CRITICAL REVIEW AUTHORS: JUREK SZEIFERT, SRGIO VELOSO* INTRODUCTION A fascinating and dynamic process that started after the end of the Cold War has put Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa -- the so called BRICS countries -- in the center of the global scene. Born as an acronym, the BRICS gave life to a metaphor that nourishes new economic and political arrangements. As such, they set the scene for new power relations and the emergence of new actors in the international arena. Throughout the last decades of the twentieth century, social and political transformations triggered by neoliberal reforms were automatically replicated in indebted countries. During this time, the BRICS were peripheral actors with little or no bargaining power. In the current context, however, the BRICS have emerged as pillars that will maintain the dynamics of production and the circulation of capital-sustaining global capitalism. In the aftermath of the relative decline of the United States and the European crises, the BRICS emerged as mediators. They worked particularly for the consolidation of the G20, for trade negotiations, and for the building of new, cooperative frameworks. This context of new perspectives and possibilities is due to the extraordinarily active role the BRICS have been playing in their regions and continents. They are emerging as new protagonists on the global scene and are creating new bridges for South-South and East-West cooperation and integration. Since 2009, the BRICS have been meeting annually in a series of events, gathering heads of state as well as ministers, businessmen, scholars, diplomats, and civil society actors. Throughout these years, the group was able to come up with a common agenda largely guided by a developmental objective. The announcement that the group would launch a BRICS Development Bank indicates the opening of a new stage in the relationship among these countries. This new stage coincides with the end of the first cycle of BRICS summits and marks a turning point in the development of the BRICS countries as a group and as international actors. This paper aims to analyze key aspects of the agenda developed during the first cycle of summits, and it will be organized as follows: 1) a brief summary of the first five summits; 2) the BRICS position as key actors and agenda setters within the G20; 3) the BRICS as actors in South-South cooperation. The paper ends with final considerations on the institutionalization of coopetition and the new stage of synergy among BRICS. THE FIRST CYCLE OF BRICS SUMMIT: A CRITICAL REVIEW | 07 * Jurek Szeifert and Srgio Veloso are researchers at the BRICS Policy Center.
  • 08 | THE FIRST CYCLE OF BRICS SUMMIT: A CRITICAL REVIEW A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE FIRST CYCLE OF BRICS SUMMITS The first official gathering of the heads of state of the (at that time) BRIC countries was hosted by Russias then-president Medvedev in Yekaterinburg on 16 June, 2009. Against the background of the global economic crisis that started in 2008, the four countries focused on possible changes in the international financial system and the role that the BRICs could play therein. In many ways, the joint statement that was issued after the summit already depicted the role the BRIC countries aimed at global governance by stating that emerging and developing economies must have greater voice and representation in international financial institutions. It can be argued that, by officially taking a step towards consolidating themselves as a group and holding a head of state summit, the BRICS meant to consolidate their claim to a bigger say in matters of global governance. However, this claim did not extend to changing the system of international institutions, as much as it could give the impression of doing so. Instead, it shifted the balance of powers within it in favor of the new players. This mindset is further demonstrated by the explicit adherence of the BRICs in their joint statements to the rules of democracy and transparency, the condemnation of terrorism, and the reassurance of multilateralism. In addition, the declaration outlines the BRICs development agenda by stating their support for the Rio declaration, for renewable energies, and for the UNs Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). With respect to the G20, the BRICs expressed their intention to coordinate their position within the group. On the 15th of April, 2010, Brazil hosted the second summit in Braslia. Once again, they highlighted their support for a multipolar, equitable and democratic world order, based on international law, equality, mutual respect, cooperation, coordinated action and collective decision-making of all States. Regarding the financial crisis, the BRICs reaffirmed their position within the G20 and stressed its relevance as a way out of the crisis. Furthermore, the summit focused on economic issues, such as international trade, agriculture and energy, as well as the BRICs role in the IMF and other multilateral institutions. The BRICs commitment to the UNs MDGs was proven, and they affirmed their willingness to favor developing countries through development cooperation. On 14 April 2011, the third BRICS summit was held in Sanya, China, the first meeting that counted South Africa as a member state. The member countries -- besides renewing their commitment to international multilateralism -- once again focused on the reform of the international financial system. The group also once again expressed its commitment to further intensify economic cooperation between the members, without concretizing this cooperation on a group level, however. TABLE 1: LIST OF BRICS SUMMITS (2008-2013) Summit Date Location Released Documents 1st 16th of June, 2009 Yekaterinburg, Russia BRICS Leaders Joint Statement; BRICS Joint Statement on Global Food Safet 2nd 15th of April, 2010 Braslia, Brazil BRICS Leaders Joint Statement 2nd 15th of April, 2010 Braslia, Brazil BRICS Leaders Joint Statement 3rd 14th of April, 2011 Sanya, China BRICS Leaders Joint Declaration 4th 29th of May, 2012 New Delhi, India Delhi Declaration Delhi Action Plan 5th 27th of March, 2013 Durban, South Africa eTheKwini Declaration; BRICS Leaders Statement on the Establishment of the BRICS-Led Development Bank Source: Homepage of the 5th BRICS summit.1 1 http://www.brics5.co.za/about-brics. Rev. 01.12.2013
  • THE FIRST CYCLE OF BRICS SUMMIT: A CRITICAL REVIEW | 09 The fourth BRICS summit was held on 29 May 2012 in New Delhi, India, with the theme BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Security and Prosperity. The New Delhi Declaration made references to the crisis in the Eurozone, the then-upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the G20 summit in Mexico and the 8th WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva. It also highlighted the importance of the BRICS in light of the financial crisis, as well as the comparatively good performance of the member countries despite the crisis. Accordingly, the BRICS stated that the G20s role [...] as a premier forum for international economic cooperation at this juncture is to facilitate enhanced macroeconomic policy coordination, to enable global economic recovery and secure financial stability. Also during the fourth summit, the leaders of the member countries discussed the idea of p