The BRICS, through their summit meetings and coordination at global and regional levels, have touched upon many issues, with economic, political and security aspects being some of the most prominent. As the global resource centers of Russia, Brazil and South Africa combine with China and India - the world’s manufacturer and “back-office” respectively, the BRICS are poised to exert greater clout in the international arena in a number of ways.
First, in light of the trend toward unilateralism, pre-emptive military action and regime change, the BRICS have emphasized negotiation, peaceful resolution and the role of the UN in resolving conflicts. The BRICS joint statements called for resolving issues peacefully in Egypt, Libya and Syria as well as on the Iranian nuclear program. They were also unequivocal in raising concerns on the spread of terrorism in various regions of the world. Although these statements remained declarative in nature, impact on the international community has been significant.
Second, coinciding with the formation of the BRICS was the intensification of the climate change proposals. Moving on from the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 that centered on industrialized nations, developing countries have now been incorporated into the global drive to cut emissions.
Third, one of the most significant aspects of the Goa BRICS Summit was the resolve to broaden the base of global economic governance. For instance, the Bretton Woods institutions which have governed the world’s economic affairs since 1945 are heavily skewed toward the industrialized West, with GDP being the criterion determining voting rights in these institutions.
However, while emerging economies have enhanced their GDP profiles over the last two decades, there is no commensurate increase in their influence upon these institutions. Specifically, as the global financial crisis and the euro-zone crisis intensified, financial institutions began to divert capital toward the European region, sometimes at the cost of promoting infrastructure development in developing countries. The pressure from the BRICS finally led the International Monetary Fund to reorganize its voting mechanism to accommodate higher voting shares for China and India.
The BRICS also formed a coordination group in the Group of 20 (G20) to articulate the interests of the developing countries in economic global governance. At the recently held G20 Summit in China’s Hangzhou for example, the group’s concerns on sustainable development,