On the eve of the BRICS Xiamen summit: a new force in making rules of global economic governance
Interview with Marina Larionova, Head of RANEPA’s Center for International Institutions Research (CIIR).
– It’s been a decade since the cooperation of BRIC countries was launched in 2006. What can we say about the forum now, on the eve of the forthcoming summit in Xiamen?
– On 3-4 September 2017, the 9th BRICS Forum will be held in Xiamen under China’s chairmanship. Since its creation, the forum’s activities have been drawing international attention and inspiring debates. The BRICS’ sceptics regard the Grouping as a mere platform for coordinating the interests and positions of its members rather than a full-pledged institute of global governance. Others question its credibility and viability, projecting disintegration due to the BRICS countries’ economic and civilizational divides. However, the analysis of BRICS performance proves that the Grouping has established itself as an informal forum of global economic governance, a concert of powers consistently strengthening cooperation, expanding and deepening the agenda, coordinating efforts to ensure economic recovery and growth of member states and promote development of all countries in the world.
By now the BRICS leaders have made 406 concrete commitments in 12 spheres of cooperation ranging from macroeconomics and finance to climate change and education. Moreover, since the BRICS’ creation more than 160 meetings have been held in different formats with more than 50 documents adopted and a broad range of working bodies, contact groups and other mechanisms established.
The performance on priority commitments is high. On Sanya commitments 2011 it reached 74%. For the Deli summit decisions in 2012 compliance constituted 64%. The Durban summit returned to 75% as it was in 2011. The Fortaleza summit in 2014 ended with 70%. The average level of compliance performance for the Ufa summit commitments was 78%.
– What conclusions can be drawn from compliance with the previous summit’s commitments?
– The compliance results for the 2016 Goa summit consolidate the positive dynamics of the last three years’ performance and the forum development as such. In Goa the leaders reiterated their determination to use all policy tools – monetary, fiscal, and structural, individually and collectively, to achieve the goal of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. On energy matters they expressed support for a wider use of natural gas as an economically efficient and clean fuel.
They also agreed to strengthen joint efforts to enhance security in the use of ICTs, combating the ICTs use for criminal and terrorist purposes and improving cooperation between technical, law enforcement, R&D and ICTs innovation and capacity building institutions. Last but not least they reaffirmed commitment for cooperation among health and/or regulatory authorities, with a view to share the best practices and discuss challenges, as well as identify potential areas for convergence.
The final compliance score for Goa’s commitments is the highest for all years of research, it reached 89%. Except for regional security, the level of each commitment’s compliance in 2016 was higher than 50%. The maximum performance was demonstrated for 6 priority commitments: macroeconomic sphere (support for better incorporation of MSME into regional and global value chains), E-commerce, ICT, development, taxes and terrorism. The full compliance on these commitments proves the countries’ will to support economic growth and generate new sources of growth as well as BRICS’ growing role in support for development of poorer countries, especially Africa, and international security matters. BRICS performance on the commitments on natural gas as an environmentally friendly and economically efficient fuel and cooperation in the fight against corruption is also high, reaching 90%.
Compliance score in regional security commitment was the lowest – 40%, almost the same as in previous years. This trend is explained by the lack of actions from Brazil and South Africa (both demonstrated negative compliance) due to the perception that the Afghanistan problems do not constitute a direct threat to national security. Also this commitment implies that the member countries should undertake actions to build the local government’s capabilities to resolve the security issue, limiting the scope for actions and available instruments.
– Is there a room for further development of BRICS as a forum?
The general trend shows that BRICS countries demonstrate determination to implement agreed decisions aimed at generating strong, sustainable and inclusive growth of their economies and other developing economies. This confirms BRICS potential to strengthen its positions as an important global governance institution. Moreover, the ICT issues, innovations and digital economy gain importance on BRICS agenda. Involvement of major players with a high degree of political influence and technological potential in the development of the digital economy is an important factor in the elaboration of a broader international agenda in this field. All in all, BRICS continues its development as an important global governance forum whose members make collective decisions on key issues of socio-economic development.
The RANEPA Center for International Institutions Research in cooperation with the University of Toronto annually prepares two BRICS compliance reports: interim and final. The final results are released on the eve of the BRICS summits.