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'BRICS Plus' for fairer global development

By Wang Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2022-06-23 07:04
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Under the current international situation, it's important for BRICS member states to deepen cooperation within the bloc, as well as with other developing countries, so as to help the world economy recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. And the 14th BRICS Summit, themed "Foster High Quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in the New Era for Global Development" and to be held via video link on Thursday, will be an ideal opportunity for the BRICS members to do so.

In fact, the pandemic has also prompted some economies to adopt more protectionist policies, given rise to regional conflicts, intensified imbalanced development and worsened climate change, thus increasing the challenges facing the world.

BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, accounts for nearly 42 percent of the world's population, 26 percent of land surface and 25 percent of GDP. And as representatives of emerging economies, the BRICS members, as engines, have been driving the world economy and greatly contributing to global growth.

But the fast-changing international situation is posing a challenge to cooperation among the BRICS members. As such, the member states need to promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation among themselves, and take collaborative actions to defend the world order centered on the United Nations and ensure all countries abide by international laws and the UN Charter.

As the summit theme emphasizes, BRICS' focus is now on cooperation, especially South-South cooperation, building high-quality partnerships and continuing to contribute to global development.

As a vital BRICS member state, China has been contributing to global development and peace, and has promised to continue doing so. And the Global Development Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping at the 76th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2021 is a major step toward fulfilling that promise, as it will strengthen the global development cause and help realize the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, more than 100 countries as well as the UN have supported the Global Development Initiative.

As for the Global Security Initiative put forward by China at the Boao Forum for Asia in April, it is aimed at making up for the peace deficit and addressing the global security dilemma.

In fact, the two initiatives are the pillars of global, common development, and global security, and demonstrate that China, as a responsible power and a key emerging market economy, has been contributing more and more to the development of BRICS as well as the global economy.

The international scenario now is one of disorder, confrontations and conflicts. There is a widening gap between the developed and developing countries. In such a scenario, the Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative could, to some extent, help narrow the gap between the developed and developing countries while contributing to overall global development.

During the Meeting of the BRICS Foreign Ministers via video link in May, China proposed to further promote "BRICS Plus" mechanism. The BRICS' foreign ministers also held talks with their counterparts in other emerging market and developing economies under the "BRICS Plus" framework, the first of its kind at the foreign ministerial level.

Indeed, it is time new members were admitted to BRICS, and the fact that the existing BRICS members have accumulated enough experience in cooperation will help them deepen cooperation with other developing countries.

Since 2013, at every annual BRICS Summit, the country holding the chair has invited some non-BRICS countries to attend the summit as observers or engage in dialogue with the BRICS members. And it was in 2017, during the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province, that China outlined the "BRICS Plus" framework, in order to promote cooperation between the BRICS members and other important emerging market and developing economies. The "BRICS Plus" framework encourages invitee countries to know about the rules and spirit of BRICS cooperation.

China's proposal to expand BRICS is in the interest of all developing countries and aims to help improve global governance, by enhancing South-South cooperation.

Despite the difficulties and differences among the BRICS members, I'm sure the five members will reach some kind of a critical consensus to realize and facilitate the new BRICS plus mechanism.

The author is director of the Center for BRICS Cooperation Studies at Beijing Normal University. This is an excerpt of his interview with China Daily's Wang Han.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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