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The BRICS and global governance

The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are the emerging powerhouses of the international economy and of international politics more generally.  Between them, they account for almost 3 billion people and a combined GDP of over US$ 10 trillion.  They are not a force to be ignored.
In April, the Heads of State and Government of all five BRICS countries met in China to discuss cooperation on key international issues and common concerns. The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China welcomed South Africa to the meeting for the first time.  The meeting of the BRICS leaders is one of several meetings that regularly take place between these countries.
One of the key themes of the Sanya Declaration, adopted at the end of the summit, is reform of the international system to give a greater voice to developing countries, including the BRICS countries.    In particular, they called for reform of the UN Security Council with a view to making it more efficient, effective and representative.  They also highlighted the need for reform of the international monetary system, stressing that “the governing structure of the international financial institutions should reflect the changes in the world economy, increasing the voice and representation of emerging economies and developing countries.”
Another issue addressed in the declaration is the maintenance of international peace and security.  In particular, the declaration expresses its concern about the current turbulence in the Middle East, North Africa and West Africa.  However, the declaration also notes the commitment of the BRICS countries to the “principle that the use of force should be avoided” and that “the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of each nation should be respected.”  Written between the lines, there would appear to be an implied criticism of the current NATO operations in Libya. Indeed, whilst the declaration explicitly approves of the African Union High-Level Panel Initiative on Libya, it makes no mention of the NATO led operation to protect civilians under Security Council resolution 1973.
Whilst these views about the need for a new, fairer form of global governance are perhaps not new, it is interesting to note that the emerging political and economic powers are now speaking in a common voice and it provides food for thought about how the world might look if the BRICS countries were the dominant members of the international community.

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