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Each member of the U.S. president’s cabinet serves at the pleasure of the president and the same is true in the case of the United States Secretary of Defense which position is in the top tier of the Executive Office serving the country’s leader. The other two top tier cabinet positions are, of course, the Secretary of State and the Chief of Staff. All of whom serve at the president’s discretion.
That said, General Jim Mattis has done an excellent job as the U.S. Defense Secretary and there are questions as to why such a capable individual should find it necessary to retire from a position to which he was obviously well-suited. Also, the question exists whether the president influenced that decision or whether General Mattis was fired and the term “retiring” was used to convey proper respect to a long-serving military member who earned every honour he ever received.
Obviously, the president and the secretary had a difference on policy, that goes without saying. But under the U.S. Constitution, a U.S. president can pursue any foreign or domestic policy he chooses and he or she doesn’t need the approval of his cabinet.
(Of course, it’s better if they do approve)
U.S. cabinet officers serve the president, not the other way around. Therefore, in case of a difference of opinion the president wins, every time, and it must always be that way.
Even such notable soldiers as General Douglas MacArthur who tried to bully U.S. president Harry S. Truman into militarily attacking China — thereby dramatically enlarging the Korean War — was finally forced to step down famously saying, “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away” find themselves subject to the U.S. president’s discretion by virtue of the laws of the United States and its Constitution.
Still, it could be instructive in some way to examine the reasons behind such events to ascertain whether a systemic problem exists that must be dealt with, or to find whether these events occurred due to some other reason.
Let’s look at the Syrian situation in the context of American military involvement, because in the case of president Trump and secretary Mattis it’s almost surely the issue that divided them:
- Syria has been involved in a civil war since 2011 and was the last country in the region to feel the effects of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’.
- No country is allowed under international law to intervene militarily in another country’s civil war without being invited by the lawful government of that country. Countries can’t unilaterally insert themselves into the midst of civil wars. That’s black letter international law. It’s 100% non-negotiable.
- Which the Americans did. As did their allies (some European countries).
- Russia and Iran on the other hand were invited by the lawful government of Syria and that invitation was made publicly. It’s a matter of public record.
- The legal exception to involvement by non-invited parties occurs if the UN Security Council approves military actions; Where the UN Security Council votes to apply sanctions or approve military force, military intervention becomes legal under international law. However, the UN Security Council didn’t approve military force by the U.S. and its allies against Syrian government forces or non-government forces (terrorists). Yet, the U.S. and its allies militarily attacked targets in Syria without the proper and legal authorizations required by international law.
- Though such actions clearly broke international law, Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad didn’t seem to mind. Yes, he did complain at first, but as soon as the Americans and their European allies lessened their attacks on terrorist targets in Syria, Bashar Al-Assad suddenly stopped complaining. To many people (and it might even hold up in international court if it ever comes to that) this clearly registered as tacit approval for America and her allies to conduct military operations against ISIS inside Syria for the duration of the Syrian civil war.
With me so far? Few people would dispute points 1 through 6 above.
No doubt that U.S. president Trump and U.S. secretary of defense Mattis were 100% aligned in regards to U.S. policy in Syria since the confirmation of General Jim Mattis on January 20, 2017.
Any difference of opinion between the two is therefore recent and easy to discern.
American Involvement in Syria: Part II
Since about November of 2018 it appears that the battle against ISIS is largely won in Syria.
From now on, it’s going to be a mopping-up operation with exponentially increasing chances for American and Russian forces to clash (accidentally or otherwise) in the ever-smaller areas formerly controlled by terrorist groups.
Not only American and Russian of course, many countries operate inside Syria fighting terrorists and thereby assist the Syrian government (even if assisting the Syrian regime isn’t one of their objectives) and some terrorists might decide to meddle with the foreign forces fighting them.
Any individual who feels they have something against America or Europe who happens to have access to a rifle, a rocket launcher, or other weapons system may feel entitled under Jihadi rules to shoot down an American fighter or bomber jet, helicopter, or perhaps take out a number of U.S. soldiers who may be sleeping in a tent or non-hardened building.
For a terrorist, the opportunity to create a war between Russia and America, or between Russia and Europe (however unlikely that may, or may not be) might prove too tempting and numbers of them on multiple occasions might soon decide to employ themselves on suicide missions to accomplish that objective.
‘Targets of Opportunity’ are what every American and European military person will now represent to Jihadis at this stage — whereas prior to November 2018 they were too busy trying to stay alive to get involved in planning traps so that (nominal allies, in Syria, at least) America and Russia might find themselves in a ground or air fight against the other. Such danger that represents!
American Involvement in Syria: Part III
Even after the American troops (numbering only 2000 personnel) leave Syria there are still a number of ways to influence events in that country.
a) Soft Power
b) Hard Power
Soft power is the application of diplomacy. The UN is the most likely place for this to happen and America has a strong presence at the United Nations. At this point in the Syrian civil war, America’s best option is UN-backed diplomacy and its 2nd-best option remains direct diplomacy between the nations that are in some way involved with Syria.
Hard power is the application of military force. The U.S. military is the most powerful on Earth but that doesn’t mean the United States should be bombing just for the sake of bombing.
If there are better options than that, those should take precedence over military actions that could result in the unwanted and unnecessary problems of military conflict happening by accident between the U.S. and Russia, or between the U.S. and Iran (or between the U.S. and any other countries operating in Syria) or between the Americans and the Syrians.
None of that is going to help bring peace in Syria.
A final thought about U.S. Hard Power being applied in Syria following the pullout of America’s 2000-strong ground and air force is that the US Navy can deliver as many missiles as the president chooses to targets in Syria from the Mediterranean Sea, anytime the president wants. This has been done in the past with regards to purported chemical attacks that occurred in Syria and is something the Navy trains for every day of the year. Likewise with the U.S. Air Force, which can deliver as many bombs or missiles to terrorist targets inside Syria as the president chooses.
And none of them are going to accidentally bomb Russian or Syrian government positions due to the prior notification protocols common among the world’s major military forces that operate in conflict zones.
Conducting military operations inside Syria is still against international law (therefore I’m not advocating for such operations!) unless Bashir Al-Assad approves of it in advance (and it’s possible he might need help if he gets surrounded by terrorists again) and it’s still in America’s interests to have the democratically elected Bashir Al-Assad government in charge of Syria vs. any number of shady terrorist groups — but at least the lives of 2000 American troops won’t be unnecessarily at risk.
They don’t mind necessary risk, but they hate unnecessary risk. Wouldn’t you?
“Two Men Look Out Through the Same Bars – One Sees Mud, the Other, Stars”
In the final stage of the Syrian Civil War, U.S. president Trump likely sees a case of diminishing returns in Syria, with a growing threat of accidental conflict with America’s nominal allies (Russia, Syria and even Iran — as far as the Syrian conflict is concerned) He sees the potential for a sudden Jihadi attack comparable to the Marine barracks attack in Beirut (1983) that killed 241 U.S. Marines that could undo the good work done by U.S forces in the country especially if a large number of U.S. troops were to be killed in such an attack whether by design or accident; He sees that Syria’s allies are poised and able to complete the task at their cost in both lives and treasure, and he sees that America isn’t going to gain anything further by staying.
ISIS will be defeated in Syria due in large part due to American involvement and no matter how long America stays it isn’t likely to get more recognition for its work fighting terrorism there than it’s already gotten.
In short, for all the right reasons, president Trump decided that U.S. forces should leave Syria — and U.S. Navy aircraft carriers or U.S. Air Force bombers could still deliver a message to terrorist groups operating inside Syria at a moment’s notice.
And from the perspective of Jim Mattis, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, he has resigned for all the right reasons. If you can’t agree on policy (and it is the job of the president to decide policy, not the SecDef) then it’s right to leave. No doubt that General Mattis felt there was more good that American forces could still do inside Syria (even though they weren’t invited and aren’t there legally) and that having U.S. forces on the ground was a stabilizing force in the country. It was that for certain.
But now that Bashar Al-Assad’s tacit approval of unasked-for American ‘assistance’ is almost certainly about to come to an end president Trump has made the right policy move on Syria.
And the president still retains the option of US Navy or Air Force attacks on terrorist targets inside Syria — while removing only the increasingly imperilled ground force option.
‘Timing is everything’ they say.
- A look back at the deadly 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut (abc.com)
Q: Are the concerns of a superpower relevant to the other G7 members? A: Not really.
Maybe it’s time for a superpower group of the U.S., China, the EU, Russia, and The Commonwealth of Nations to form up, instead of the G7 group that has worked very well until now.
Even the sage Moses who lived 3400-years ago, suggested, “Thou shall not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together” and the reason is quite clear to every farmer. Being so dissimilar in size and power, both the ox and the donkey will be miserable the entire time they try to plow forward together and the farmer will spend most of his time ‘arbitrating’ disputes between the two and the plowing enterprise will get little actual plowing done.
It’s unfair to the U.S., it’s unfair to the smaller or weaker members of the G7 club and it’s unfair — even to near-superpowers like Japan and Germany which have far different challenges and causes to ‘plow’ than those of the superpowers.
Shall I list the ways?
If so, this would become a very long blog post indeed!
For just three examples:
- Which of the G7 partners have a negative balance of trade of $862.8 billion for 2017? The entire G7 combined doesn’t have a negative balance of trade anywhere approaching that of the United States.
- Which of the other G7 members have an inventory of nuclear warheads like the United States which includes 6450 nuclear warheads; 1750 that are retired and awaiting dismantlement, and 3800 that remain part of the U.S. stockpile?
- If we’re talking GDP, the U.S. represents 52.8% of the Group of Seven’s GDP, while the next largest country in the group (Japan) represents 13.3% of GDP, with only Germany at 10% remaining as the only other double-digit GDP member of the G7.
Population figures and economic growth indicators may be even more telling than the above indicators of superpower status.
Should the U.S. Join It’s Own 1-Member Club?
That may be a tempting thought for President Donald Trump and certain members of his administration, but there are common concerns among superpowers that only apply to superpowers (and there’s no doubt the U.S. remains the Number One superpower by a significant margin) and it’s those superpowers that must work together to deliver solutions for their large populations.
If we look at a superpower club of 5 members: The United States, China, the EU, The Commonwealth of Nations and Russia, we’re looking at a group that is roughly comparable to each other and have similar challenges.
Let’s look at our three main indicators, just to be certain:
Big 5 (Nominal) GDP U.S.A. --------- $20.3 trillion (USD) (Focuseconomics.com) China ---------- $13.0 trillion (USD) (Focuseconomics.com) EU ------------- $19.7 trillion (USD) (IMF) Commonwealth --- $10.4 trillion (USD) (Commonwealth.org) Russia --------- $1.72 trillion (USD) (IMF/StatisticsTimes.com)
Although there are some disparities in nominal GDP among the five countries, we must remember that China is on an exponential growth curve while The Commonwealth of Nations statistic (provided by commonwealth.org) is from 2017 and their economic group is also growing at a rapid rate ($13 trillion by 2020). Russia is the outlier in this group, however, as we shall see, that country has other (huge) chips on the table when it comes to retaining its superpower status.
Big 5 Nuclear Warheads U.S.A. --------- 6450 (Federation of American Scientists) China ---------- 270 (Federation of American Scientists) EU ------------- 300 (Federation of American Scientists) Commonwealth --- 485 (Federation of American Scientists) Russia --------- 6850 (Federation of American Scientists)
Although nuclear stockpiles vary, the U.S. and Russia were the main protagonists of the Cold War which lasted from 1950 through 1990 which is why they own far more nuclear weapons than all other countries combined. The only EU country to publish their ownership of nuclear weapons is France, with 300 warheads. The Commonwealth of Nations countries that publish ownership of nuclear weapons include the UK, Pakistan and India.
Balance of Trade Issues
Big 5 Balance of Trade (in U.S. Dollars) U.S.A. --------- $-862.8 billion (2017) (Handlesblatt/IMF/WTO) China ---------- $+98.46 billion (2017) (TradingEconomics.com) EU ------------- $+44.45 billion (2016) (Statista.com) Commonwealth --- $-187.5 billion (2015) (Commonwealth.org) Russia --------- $+ (2017) (Statista.com)
While balance of trade issues vary wildly between the United States, China, the EU, The Commonwealth of Nations and Russia, very few countries can play in the triple-digit or even high double-digit space occupied by those nations. Especially when analyzed using their (Nominal) and (Purchasing Power Parity) GDP numbers, these are exceptional nations and groupings of nations, which put them in a different category than other countries.
The Big 5 (B5) A Better ‘Fit’ for the United States, China, the EU, The Commonwealth and Russia
There is nothing wrong with small countries and there is nothing wrong with big countries. But small countries have far different challenges than large countries, and everything happens on a truly massive scale for the bigger countries and in country groupings like the EU and The Commonwealth of Nations.
And those differences cause irritations.
Instead of heads of government trying to plow forward with their challenges and issues while ‘yoked’ to dissimilar and dissimilar-sized partners, why not make it easier on everyone and ‘put like with like’ to gain a more comfortable fit?
It’s so obvious this should be done and the latest G7 meeting proves that the problems in that organization are systemic problems and are the sole cause of divisions between the oddly mismatched countries of that group.
The ‘Big 5’ followed by the ‘Next 20’
Every country stuck in a trade or political grouping that doesn’t match it’s particular talents will suffer. Therefore, the Big 5 must form into a group of their own, and the G20 (minus the by-then departed ‘Big 5’ members) must attract ‘the Next 20 nations’ to their refashioned N20 organization.
Helping Every Country and Individual to Become All That They Can and Should Be
In that way, the top 25 countries in the world can finally become all that they can and should be instead of being held back by arbitrary, mismatched, or outdated groupings.
And, isn’t that what it’s really all about?
Following is the full text of the Xiamen Declaration from the BRICS Summit (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in Xiamen, China — 4 September 2017
1. We, the Leaders of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa, met on 4 September 2017 in Xiamen, China, at the Ninth BRICS Summit under the theme BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future we endeavor to build on our achievements already made with a shared vision for future development of BRICS. We also discussed international and regional issues of common concern and adopted the Xiamen Declaration by consensus.
2. We reiterate that it is the overarching objective and our desire for peace, security, development and cooperation that brought us together 10 years ago. BRICS countries have since traversed a remarkable journey together on their respective development paths tailored to their national circumstances, devoted to growing their economies and improving people’s livelihoods. Our committed and concerted efforts have generated a momentum of all-dimensional and multi-layered cooperation fostered by the previous Leaders’ Summits. Upholding development and multilateralism, we are working together for a more just, equitable, fair, democratic and representative international political and economic order.
3. Our cooperation since 2006 has fostered the BRICS spirit featuring mutual respect and understanding, equality, solidarity, openness, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation, which is our valuable asset and an inexhaustible source of strength for BRICS cooperation. We have shown respect for the development paths of our respective choices, and rendered understanding and support to each other’s interests. We have upheld equality and solidarity. We have also embraced openness and inclusiveness, dedicated to forging an open world economy. We have furthered our cooperation with emerging markets and developing countries (EMDCs). We have worked together for mutually beneficial outcomes and common development, constantly deepening BRICS practical cooperation which benefits the world at large.
4. We draw satisfaction from the many fruitful results of our cooperation, including establishing the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), formulating the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, strengthening political and security cooperation including through Meetings of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues and Foreign Ministers Meetings, and deepening the traditional ties of friendship amongst our peoples
5. Recalling our Summits in Ufa and Goa, we will work together to further enhance BRICS strategic partnership for the welfare of our peoples. We commit ourselves to build upon the outcomes and consensus of our previous Summits with unwavering conviction, so as to usher in the second golden decade of BRICS cooperation and solidarity.
6. Believing in the broad development prospects of our countries and the vast potential of our cooperation, we have full confidence in the future of BRICS. We commit to further strengthen our cooperation.
— We will energize our practical cooperation to boost development of BRICS countries. We will, inter alia, promote exchanges of good practices and experiences on development, and facilitate market inter-linkages as well as infrastructure and financial integration to achieve interconnected development. We shall also strive towards broad partnerships with EMDCs, and in this context, we will pursue equal-footed and flexible practices and initiatives for dialogue and cooperation with non-BRICS countries, including through BRICS Plus cooperation.
— We will enhance communication and coordination in improving global economic governance to foster a more just and equitable international economic order. We will work towards enhancement of the voice and representation of BRICS countries and EMDCs in global economic governance and promote an open, inclusive and balanced economic globalization, thus contributing towards development of EMDCs and providing strong impetus to redressing North-South development imbalances and promoting global growth.
— We will emphasize fairness and justice to safeguard international and regional peace and stability. We will stand firm in upholding a fair and equitable international order based on the central role of the United Nations, the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and respect for international law, promoting democracy and the rule of law in international relations, and making joint efforts to address common traditional and non-traditional security challenges, so as to build a brighter shared future for the global community.
— We will embrace cultural diversity and promote people-to-people exchanges to garner more popular support for BRICS cooperation through deepened traditional friendships. We will expand people-to-people exchanges in all dimensions, encourage all fabrics of the society to participate in BRICS cooperation, promote mutual learning between our cultures and civilizations, enhance communication and mutual understanding among our peoples and deepen traditional friendships, thus making BRICS partnership closer to our people’s hearts.
BRICS Practical Economic Cooperation
7. We note that against the backdrop of more solid global economic growth, enhanced resilience and emerging new drivers, BRICS countries continue to play an important role as engines of global growth. Noting the uncertainties and downside risks that persist, we emphasize the need to be vigilant in guarding against inward-looking policies and tendencies that are weighing on global growth prospects and market confidence. We call upon all countries to calibrate and communicate their macroeconomic and structural policies and strengthen policy coordination.
8. We note that practical economic cooperation has traditionally served as a foundation of BRICS cooperation, notably through implementing the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership and initiatives related to its priority areas such as trade and investment, manufacturing and minerals processing, infrastructure connectivity, financial integration, science, technology and innovation, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) cooperation, among others. We welcome the first report on the implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, and the broad package of outcomes delivered by the sectoral ministerial meetings. We commit to use all policy tools – fiscal, monetary and structural – and adopt innovation-driven development strategies to enhance resilience and potentials of our economies, so as to contribute to strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive global growth.
9. Stressing the role of enhanced trade and investment cooperation in unleashing the potential of BRICS economies, we agree to improve and broaden trade and investment cooperation mechanism and scope, with a view to enhancing BRICS economic complementarity and diversification in BRICS countries. We welcome the positive outcomes of the 7th BRICS Trade Ministers Meeting in terms of the cooperative frameworks, roadmaps and outlines on trade and investment facilitation and connectivity and enhanced policy sharing, information exchange, capacity building, through enhanced joint efforts on trade and investment facilitation, trade in services, E-commerce, IPR (in synergy with the cooperation activities among BRICS IP authorities), economic and technical cooperation, SMEs and women economic empowerment. We welcome the setting up of the BRICS E-Port Network that will operate on a voluntary basis and the establishment of the BRICS E-commerce Working Group. We also welcome China’s initiative to host an International Import Expo in 2018 and encourage our business communities to actively participate in it.
10. We stress the importance of enhancing BRICS financial cooperation to better serve the real economy and meet the development needs of BRICS countries. We note the agreement by the finance ministers and central bank governors on cooperation on Public Private Partnerships (PPP), including through PPP experience exchange and application of the BRICS Good Practices on PPP Frameworks. We acknowledge the establishment of a temporary task force to conduct technical discussion on various ways of cooperation, including utilizing existing facilities of the MDBs based on national experiences, exploring the possibility of establishing a new PPP Project Preparation Fund and other options. We encourage cooperation and coordination by our accounting standards setters and audit regulators and agree to explore convergence of accounting standards and continue discussion on cooperation on auditing oversight in the area of bond issuance, so as to lay the groundwork for bond market connectivity among BRICS countries, with due regard to applicable national legislation and policies. We agree to promote the development of BRICS Local Currency Bond Markets and jointly establish a BRICS Local Currency Bond Fund, as a means of contribution to the capital sustainability of financing in BRICS countries, boosting the development of BRICS domestic and regional bond markets, including by increasing foreign private sector participation, and enhancing financial resilience of BRICS countries.
11. In order to serve the demand arising from rapid growth of trade and investment among the BRICS countries, we agree to facilitate financial market integration through promoting the network of financial institutions and the coverage of financial services within BRICS countries, subject to each country’s existing regulatory framework and WTO obligations, and to ensure greater communication and cooperation between financial sector regulators. We agree to take an active part in the efforts to implement and improve International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation in FATF, including through cooperation among BRICS Heads of Delegation on AML/CFT, also in the context of the work of BRICS CTWG and by using other platforms and to safeguard integrity of national financial systems. We agree to communicate closely to enhance currency cooperation, consistent with each central bank’s legal mandate, including through currency swap, local currency settlement, and local currency direct investment, where appropriate, and to explore more modalities of currency cooperation. We encourage the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism to continue playing an important role in supporting BRICS economic and trade cooperation. We commend the progress in concluding the Memoranda of Understanding among national development banks of BRICS countries on interbank local currency credit line and on interbank cooperation in relation to credit rating.
12. We highlight the importance of innovation as a key driver for mid and long term economic growth and global sustainable development. We commit to promote cooperation on science, technology and innovation (STI) to forge synergy in tapping new growth momentum for our five economies and continue to address the development challenges we face. We commend the selection of BRICS research and development projects under the BRICS STI Framework Program and note the launch of the 2nd call for projects. We welcome the BRICS STI Cooperation MOU and support enhanced cooperation on innovation and entrepreneurship, including by promoting technology transfer and application, cooperation among science and technology parks and enterprises as well as mobility of researchers, entrepreneurs, professionals and students. We encourage increased participation of the academia, businesses, civil society and other stakeholders in this process, and support the promotion of STI investment and cross-border investment through existing funding, institutions and platforms including the NDB. We agree to continue to work on a cooperation platform for innovation and entrepreneurship and support the implementation of the BRICS Innovation Cooperation Action Plan 2017-2020.
13. We reaffirm our commitment to BRICS industrial cooperation, including on industrial capacities and policies, new industrial infrastructure and standards, and among small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs), so as to jointly seize the opportunities brought about by the new industrial revolution and expedite our respective industrialization processes. We encourage exploring the establishment of BRICS Institute of Future networks. We will enhance joint BRICS research, development and innovation in ICT including the Internet of Things, Cloud computing, Big Data, Data Analytics, Nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence and 5G and their innovative applications to elevate the level of ICT infrastructure and connectivity in our countries. We will advocate the establishment of internationally applicable rules for security of ICT infrastructure, data protection and the Internet that can be widely accepted by all parties concerned, and jointly build a network that is safe and secure. We will increase investment of ICT, recognize the need to further increase investment in ICT Research and development, unleash the dynamics of innovation in producing goods and services. We encourage identification and facilitation of partnership between institutes, organizations, enterprises in the implementation of proof of concepts and pilot projects by leveraging complementary strengths in ICT hardware, software and skills through developing next generation of innovative solutions in the areas of smart cities, health care and energy efficient device, etc. We support active collaboration in implementing the BRICS ICT Development Agenda and Action Plan.
14. We reaffirm our commitment to fully implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We will also advocate equitable, open, all-round, innovation-driven and inclusive development, to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental- in a balanced and integrated manner. We support the important role of the United Nations, including the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), in coordinating and reviewing global implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and support the need to reform the UN Development System with a view to enhancing its capability in supporting Member States in implementing the 2030 Agenda. We urge developed countries to honor their Official Development Assistance commitments in time and in full and provide more development resources to developing countries.
15. Underlining the strategic importance of energy to economic development, we commit to strengthen BRICS cooperation on energy. We recognize that sustainable development, energy access, and energy security are critical to the shared prosperity and future of the planet. We acknowledge that clean and renewable energy needs to be affordable to all. We will work to foster open, flexible and transparent markets for energy commodities and technologies. We will work together to promote most effective use of fossil fuels and wider use of gas, hydro and nuclear power, which will contribute to the transformation toward a low emissions economy, better energy access, and sustainable development. In this regard, we underline the importance of predictability in accessing technology and finance for expansion of civil nuclear energy capacity which would contribute to sustainable development in BRICS countries. We encourage continued dialogue on the establishment of a BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform and urge relevant entities to continue to promote joint research on energy cooperation and energy efficiency.
16. We commit to further promote green development and low-carbon economy, in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, enhance BRICS cooperation on climate change and expand green financing. We call upon all countries to fully implement the Paris Agreement adopted under the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) including the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and urge developed countries to provide financial, technological and capacity-building support to developing countries to enhance their capability in mitigation and adaptation.
17. Stressing the importance of environmental cooperation to sustainable development of our countries and the well-being of our peoples, we agree to take concrete actions to advance result-oriented cooperation in such areas as prevention of air and water pollution, waste management and biodiversity conservation. We recognize the importance of an environmentally sound technology platform and of improving urban environmental sustainability, and support BRICS joint efforts in this regard. Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa appreciate and support China’s hosting of the meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2020.
18. Noting the fruitful agricultural cooperation over the past years, we recognize the unique characteristics and complementarity of BRICS countries in agricultural development and vast cooperation potential in this area. In this connection, we agree to deepen cooperation in the five priority areas such as food security and nutrition, adaptation of agriculture to climate change, agricultural technology cooperation and innovation, agricultural trade and investment, and ICT application in agriculture to contribute to stable global agricultural growth and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. We welcome the establishment in India of the Coordination Center of BRICS Agriculture Research Platform, a virtual network which will facilitate addressing these priority areas.
19. We express concern over the challenges faced by the African continent in achieving independent and sustainable development and in wildlife conservation. We reaffirm our commitment to strengthen cooperation with Africa and help the continent to address illegal wildlife trade, promote employment, food security, infrastructure development and industrialization including through connectivity and developmental initiatives and projects. We reaffirm our strong support for African Union’s implementation of its various programs under Agenda 2063 in pursuit of its continental agenda for peace and socio-economic development.
20. Keenly aware of the negative impact of corruption on sustainable development, we support the efforts to enhance BRICS anti-corruption cooperation. We reaffirm our commitment to intensify dialogue and experience sharing and support compiling a compendium on fighting corruption in BRICS countries. We further acknowledge that illegal flow of the proceeds of corruption impairs economic development and financial stability, and support enhanced cooperation in asset recovery. We support the strengthening of international cooperation against corruption, including through the BRICS Anti-Corruption Working Group, as well as on matters related to asset recovery and persons sought for corruption. We acknowledge that corruption including illicit money and financial flows, and ill-gotten wealth stashed in foreign jurisdictions is a global challenge which may impact negatively on economic growth and sustainable development. We will strive to coordinate our approach in this regard and encourage a stronger global commitment to prevent and combat corruption on the basis of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and other relevant international legal instruments.
21. Living in the era of digital economy, we are ready to use opportunities it provides and address challenges it poses for the global growth. We will act on the basis of principles of innovation, partnership, synergy, flexibility, open and favorable business environment, trust and security, protection of consumer rights in order to ensure the conditions for a thriving and dynamic digital economy, that will foster global economic development and benefit everyone.
22. We appreciate the efforts and contribution of the BRICS Business Council and Business Forum to strengthening our economic cooperation in infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, agriculture, financial services, e-commerce, alignment of technical standards and skills development. We welcome the establishment of a working group on regional aviation within the framework of the Business Council and in this connection acknowledge the Brazil’s proposal on an MOU on regional aviation partnership. We encourage business communities and associations to actively participate in BRICS cooperation, and give full play to their role as trade and investment facilitation institutions in promoting mutually beneficial cooperation.
23. We recognize the importance of transformation that is taking place in the labor market and the opportunities and challenges it brings. We note with satisfaction the progress in BRICS cooperation with regard to human resources, employment and social security, fostering strong labor market information systems and networking of BRICS of Labor Research Institutes and BRICS Social Security Cooperation Framework. We welcome the achievement of a BRICS common position on governance in the future of work and agree to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation in ensuring full employment, promoting decent work, advancing poverty alleviation and reduction through skills development and achieving universal and sustainable social security systems.
24. We recognize the importance of competition protection to ensure the efficient social and economic development of our countries, to stimulate innovative processes and to provide quality products to our consumers. We note the significance of the interaction between the Competition Authorities of our countries, in particular, in identifying and suppressing restrictive business practices that are of a transboundary nature.
25. We note with satisfaction the progress made by Customs Administrations in their cooperation on trade facilitation, security and enforcement, capacity building and other issues of mutual interest, including through such mechanisms as BRICS Customs Cooperation Committee and BRICS Customs Working Group. We encourage broadened cooperation under the guiding principles of mutual sharing of information, mutual recognition of customs control, and mutual assistance in enforcement so as to boost growth and promote people’s welfare. In order to strengthen mutual cooperation in customs matters, we reaffirm our commitment to finalize BRICS Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement at the earliest.
26. We adhere to the principle of utilizing outer space for peaceful purposes and emphasize the need to strengthen the international cooperation in space activities in order to use space technologies to respond to global climate change, environmental protection, disaster prevention and relief and other challenges faced by humankind. 27. Recalling the Saint-Petersburg and Udaipur Declarations of BRICS Ministers for Disaster Management and the decision to establish a BRICS Joint Taskforce on Disaster Risk Management, we underline the importance of consistent joint work of emergency services of BRICS countries aimed at building a safer future by reducing existing disaster risks, including exchange of information on best practices concerning disaster risk management and cooperation in the field of forecasting and early warning for effective response to natural and human induced disasters.
28. We note with satisfaction the progress in BRICS cooperation in such fields as audit, statistics and export credit and agree to further advance cooperation in these fields.
Global Economic Governance
29. We resolve to foster a global economic governance architecture that is more effective and reflective of current global economic landscape, increasing the voice and representation of emerging markets and developing economies. We reaffirm our commitment to conclude the IMF’s 15th General Review of Quotas, including a new quota formula, by the 2019 Spring Meetings and no later than the 2019 Annual Meetings. We will continue to promote the implementation of the World Bank Group Shareholding Review.
30. We emphasize the importance of an open and resilient financial system to sustainable growth and development, and agree to better leverage the benefits of capital flows and manage the risks stemming from excessive cross-border capital flows and fluctuation. The BRICS CRA represents a milestone of BRICS financial cooperation and development, which also contributes to global financial stability. We welcome the establishment of the CRA System of Exchange in Macroeconomic Information (SEMI), and the agreement to further strengthen the research capability of the CRA, and to promote closer cooperation between the IMF and the CRA.
31. We welcome the establishment of the NDB Africa Regional Center launched in South Africa, which is the first regional office of the Bank. We welcome the setting up of the Project Preparation Fund and the approval of the 2nd batch of projects. We congratulate the Bank on the ground-breaking of its permanent headquarters building. We stress the significance of infrastructure connectivity to foster closer economic ties and partnerships among countries. We encourage the NDB to fully leverage its role and enhance cooperation with multilateral development institutions including the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as well as with the BRICS Business Council, to forge synergy in mobilizing resources and promote infrastructure construction and sustainable development of BRICS countries.
32. We emphasize the importance of an open and inclusive world economy enabling all countries and peoples to share in the benefits of globalization. We remain firmly committed to a rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system as embodied in the WTO. We reaffirm our commitments to ensure full implementation and enforcement of existing WTO rules and are determined to work together to further strengthen the WTO. We call for the acceleration of the implementation of the Bali and Nairobi MCM outcomes and for the WTO ministerial conference to be held this year in Argentina to produce positive outcomes. We will continue to firmly oppose protectionism. We recommit to our existing pledge for both standstill and rollback of protectionist measures and we call upon other countries to join us in that commitment.
33. Valuing the G20’s continued role as the premier forum for international economic cooperation, we reiterate our commitments to the implementation of the outcomes of G20 summits, including the Hamburg Summit and the Hangzhou Summit. We call upon the G20 to further enhance macroeconomic policy coordination to minimize negative spillovers and external shocks to EMDEs. We agree to enhance coordination and cooperation under the Argentina Presidency in 2018, with an aim to make the G20 process and outcomes reflect the interests and priorities of EMDEs.
34. We reaffirm our commitment to achieving a fair and modern global tax system and promoting a more equitable, pro-growth and efficient international tax environment, including to deepening cooperation on addressing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), promoting exchange of tax information and improving capacity-building in developing countries. We will strengthen BRICS tax cooperation to increase BRICS contribution to setting international tax rules and provide, according to each country’s priorities, effective and sustainable technical assistance to other developing countries.
International Peace and Security
35. Cognizant of the profound changes the world is undergoing and the global security challenges and threats faced by the international community, we commit to enhance communication and cooperation in international fora on issues concerning international peace and security. We reiterate our commitment to safeguarding world peace and security and to upholding the basic norms of the international law, and the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations including sovereign equality and non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs.
36. We welcome the 7th Meeting of the BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues held on 27-28 July 2017 in Beijing, and commend the meeting for having discussion and deepening our common understanding on global governance, counter-terrorism, security in the use of ICTs, energy security, major international and regional hotspots as well as national security and development. We note Brazil’s proposal to establish a BRICS Intelligence Forum. We welcome Chair’s report to us on the proceedings of the Meeting and encourage the succeeding chairpersonships to continue this exercise. We look forward to enhancing practical security cooperation agreed upon in the above areas
37. We welcome China’s hosting of the Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations in Beijing on 18-19 June 2017 at the initiative of China. Ministers exchanged views on major global political, security, economic and financial issues of common concern and on strengthening BRICS cooperation. We look forward to the upcoming meeting of Foreign Ministers on the margins of the UNGA. We welcome South Africa’s offer to host the next stand-alone Foreign Ministers Meeting in 2018.
38. We recall that development and security are closely interlinked, mutually reinforcing and key to attaining sustainable peace. We reiterate our view that the establishment of sustainable peace requires a comprehensive, concerted and determined approach, based on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equity and cooperation, that addresses the causes of conflicts, including their political, economic and social dimensions. We condemn unilateral military interventions, economic sanctions and arbitrary use of unilateral coercive measures in violation of international law and universally recognized norms of international relations. We emphasize that no country should enhance its security at the expense of the security of others.
39. We reaffirm our commitment to the United Nations as the universal multilateral organization entrusted with the mandate for maintaining international peace and security, advance global development and to promote and protect human rights.
40. We recall the 2005 World Summit Outcome document and reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges. China and Russia reiterate the importance they attach to the status and role of Brazil, India and South Africa in international affairs and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN.
41. We reiterate that the only lasting solution to the crisis in Syria is through an inclusive “Syrian-led, Syrian-owned” political process which safeguards the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria, in pursuance of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254(2015), and promotes the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. We strongly support the Geneva Peace Talks and the Astana process, and welcome the creation of the de-escalation areas in Syria, which contributed to decrease the levels of violence and generate positive momentum and conditions for meaningful progress in the peace talks under the auspices of the UN. We oppose the use of chemical weapons by anyone, for any purpose and under any circumstance.
42. We reiterate the urgent need for a just, lasting and comprehensive solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid Principles, the Arab Peace Initiative and previous agreements between the parties through negotiations with a view to creating an independent, viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel. Committed to making greater contribution to such solution, we express readiness to enhance our contribution towards a just and lasting resolution of the Middle East conflict and support international efforts to promote peace and stability in the region.
43. We congratulate the people and Government of Iraq for the recovery of Mosul and for the progress achieved in the fight against terrorism and reaffirm our commitment to Iraq’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence and our support for Iraqi government and its people. We express our concern over the situation in Yemen and urge all parties to cease hostilities and to resume negotiations supported by the United Nations. We also call on all parties directly involved in the current diplomatic crisis in the Gulf region to overcome their dissensions through dialogue and welcome the efforts of Kuwaiti mediation in this regard.
44. We strongly deplore the nuclear test conducted by the DPRK. We express deep concern over the ongoing tension and prolonged nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, and emphasize that it should only be settled through peaceful means and direct dialogue of all the parties concerned.
45. We firmly support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear issue and call upon all relevant parties to comply fully with their obligations and ensure full and effective implementation of the JCPOA to promote international and regional peace and stability.
46. We commend the efforts of African countries, the African Union and sub-regional organizations in addressing regional issues and maintaining regional peace and security, and emphasize the importance of collaboration between the United Nations and the African Union in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. We support efforts towards comprehensively resolving the issues in Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, South Sudan, Somalia, Central Africa Republic and Western Sahara.
47. We strongly condemn terrorist attacks resulting in death to innocent Afghan nationals. There is a need for immediate cessation of violence. We reaffirm our support to the people of Afghanistan in their efforts to achieve “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” peace and national reconciliation, to the ongoing international efforts, including the Moscow Format of consultations on Afghanistan and “Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process”, as well as multimodal connectivity projects to promote peace and stability, to the fight against terrorism and drug-threat, and to the national reconstruction efforts by Afghanistan. We support the efforts of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in fighting terrorist organizations.
48. We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir.
49. We deplore all terrorist attacks worldwide, including attacks in BRICS countries, and condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomsoever and stress that there can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism. We reaffirm that those responsible for committing, organizing, or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable. Recalling the primary leading role and responsibility of states in preventing and countering terrorism, we stress the necessity to develop international cooperation, in accordance with the principles of international law, including that of sovereign equality of states and non-interference in their internal affairs. We reaffirm solidarity and resolve in the fight against terrorism, value the 2nd BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group Meeting held in Beijing on 18 May 2017, and agree to strengthen our cooperation.
50. We call upon all nations to adopt a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism, which should include countering radicalization, recruitment, movement of terrorists including Foreign Terrorist Fighters, blocking sources of financing terrorism including, for instance, through organized crime by means of money-laundering, supply of weapons, drug trafficking and other criminal activities, dismantling terrorist bases, and countering misuse of the Internet including social media by terrorist entities through misuse of the latest Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). We are committed to prevent and counter the growing spread of terrorist narratives, and to tackle all sources, techniques and channels of terrorist financing. We call for swift and effective implementation of relevant UNSC Resolutions and the FATF International Standards worldwide. We seek to intensify our cooperation in FATF and FATF-style regional bodies (FSRBs). We recall the responsibility of all States to prevent financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions from their territories.
51. We call upon the international community to establish a genuinely broad international counter-terrorism coalition and support the UN’s central coordinating role in this regard. We stress that the fight against terrorism must be conducted in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, international refugee and humanitarian law, human rights and fundamental freedoms. We reaffirm our commitment on increasing the effectiveness of the UN counter-terrorism framework, including in the areas of cooperation and coordination among the relevant UN entities, designation of terrorists and terrorist groups and technical assistance to Members States. We call for expeditious finalization and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) by the United Nations General Assembly.
52. We recognize the important contribution of BRICS countries to United Nations peacekeeping operations, and the importance of United Nations peacekeeping operations to international peace and security. We emphasize the need for BRICS countries to further enhance communication on peacekeeping matters.
53. We reiterate our commitment to address the world drug problem based on the United Nations drug control conventions, through an integrated, comprehensive and balanced approach to drug supply and demand reduction strategies. We stress the importance of the outcome document of the 30th Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the world drug problem, and call for strengthening of international and regional cooperation and coordination to counter the global threat caused by the illicit production and trafficking of drugs, especially opiates. We note with deep concern the increasing links in some regions of the world between drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime and terrorism.
54. We reiterate the need for all countries to cooperate in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms under the principles of equality and mutual respect. We agree to continue to treat all human rights, including the right to development, in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis. We will strengthen cooperation on issues of common interests both within BRICS and in multilateral fora including the United Nations Human Rights Council, taking into account the necessity to promote, protect and fulfill human rights in a non-selective, non-politicized and constructive manner, and without double standards.
55. Keenly aware of the global security challenges faced by the international community in the area of international migration, we emphasize the growing role of effective migration regulation for the benefit of international security and development of the society.
56. We consider the UN has a central role in developing universally accepted norms of responsible state behavior in the use of ICTs to ensure a peaceful, secure, open, cooperative, stable, orderly, accessible and equitable ICT environment. We emphasize the paramount importance of the principles of international law enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the state sovereignty, the political independence, territorial integrity and sovereign equality of states, non-interference in internal affairs of other states and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. We emphasize the need to enhance international cooperation against terrorist and criminal misuse of ICTs, reaffirm the general approach laid in the eThekwini, Fortaleza, Ufa and Goa declarations in this regard, and recognize the need for a universal regulatory binding instrument on combatting the criminal use of ICTs under the UN auspices as stated in the Ufa Declaration. We note with satisfaction the progress achieved by the Working Group of Experts of the BRICS States on Security in the use of ICTs. We decide to promote cooperation according to the BRICS Roadmap of Practical Cooperation on Ensuring Security in the Use of ICTs or any other mutually agreed mechanism and acknowledge the initiative of the Russian Federation on a BRICS intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in ensuring security in the use of ICTs.
57. We believe that all states should participate on an equal footing in the evolution and functioning of the Internet and its governance, bearing in mind the need to involve relevant stakeholders in their respective roles and responsibilities. The structures that manage and regulate the critical Internet resources need to be made more representative and inclusive. We note with satisfaction the progress made by the BRICS Working Group on ICT Cooperation. We recognize the necessity to strengthen our cooperation in this area. To that end, BRICS will continue to work together through the existing mechanism to contribute to the secure, open, peaceful and cooperative use of ICTs on the basis of equal participation of the international community in its management.
58. We reiterate that outer space shall be free for peaceful exploration and used by all States on the basis of equality in accordance with international law. Reaffirming that outer space shall remain free from any kind of weapons or any use of force, we stress that negotiations for the conclusion of an international agreement or agreements to prevent an arms race in outer space are a priority task of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament, and support the efforts to start substantive work, inter alia, based on the updated draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects submitted by China and the Russian Federation. We also note an international initiative for a political obligation on the no first placement of weapons in outer space.
59. Priority should be accorded to ensuring the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, as well as ways and means of preserving outer space for future generations. We note that this is an important objective on the current agenda of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS). In this respect, we welcome the decision by the UNCOPUOS Scientific and Technical Sub-Committee Working Group on Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities to conclude negotiations and achieve consensus on the full set of guidelines for the long term sustainability of outer space activities by 2018 to coincide with the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE + 50).
60. We emphasize the importance of people-to-people exchanges to promoting development and enhancing mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation among BRICS peoples. We agree to deepen cooperation in such fields as culture, education, science and technology, sports and health as well as among media organizations and local governments, to strengthen the third pillar of BRICS cooperation and foster a meaningful resonance of the BRICS partnership amongst its peoples.
61. We value cultural diversity as a precious asset of BRICS cooperation. We stress the role of culture and cultural diversity in promoting sustainable development, and encourage BRICS countries to engage in cultural exchanges and mutual learning to cultivate common values on the basis of diversity and sharing. We welcome the formulation of a BRICS action plan to advance practical cultural cooperation and the establishment of the BRICS Alliance of Libraries, Alliance of Museums, Alliance of Art Museums and National Galleries as well as Alliance of Theaters for Children and Young People. We look forward to the success of the BRICS Culture Festival to be held later in mid-September 2017 in Xiamen. We will continue our work on the establishment of a BRICS Cultural Council to provide the necessary platform to enhance cultural cooperation among BRICS countries.
62. We stress the importance of education to promoting sustainable economic and social development, and to strengthening BRICS partnership, and commend the positive progress in our education cooperation. We reiterate our support for BRICS University League and BRICS Network University in conducting education and research cooperation, welcome efforts to promote cooperation among educational think tanks, and exchanges among youth including by organizing youth summer camps and offering more scholarship opportunities to BRICS students. We agree to share experience and practices in realizing education-related sustainable development goals.
63. We believe in the importance of sports cooperation to popularizing traditional sports and deepening the friendship among BRICS peoples. Recalling the successful hosting of BRICS U-17 Football Tournament in Goa in 2016, we commend the success of the First BRICS Games, which was a highlight of this year’s people-to-people exchanges. We encourage relevant departments to sign an MOU on sports cooperation to provide greater impetus to sports cooperation among our five countries.
64. We agree to enhance BRICS role in global health governance, especially in the context of the World Health Organization and UN agencies, and foster the development and improve the availability of innovative medical products through promotion of research and development and access to affordable, quality, effective and safe drugs, vaccines, diagnostics and other medical products and technologies as well as to medical services through enhanced health systems and health financing. We agree to improve surveillance capacity and medical services to combat infectious diseases, including Ebola, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as well as non-communicable diseases and encourage greater application of ICTs to improve the level of health service provision. We welcome the outcomes of the BRICS Health Ministers Meeting and High-level Meeting on Traditional Medicine, and commend the establishment of a long-term mechanism for traditional medicine exchanges and cooperation, to promote mutual learning of traditional medicines and pass them down to future generations. We welcome the decision to set up the Tuberculosis Research Network, to be presented at the First WHO Global Ministerial Conference Ending Tuberculosis in the Sustainable Development Era: A Multisectoral Response, Moscow, Russian Federation, 16-17 November 2017. We express support for the meeting as well as the First United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis in 2018. We commit ourselves to enhanced cooperation at international fora on health matters including at G20.
65. We reaffirm our commitment to promote a long-term and balanced demographic development and continue cooperation on population related matters in accordance with the Agenda for BRICS Cooperation on Population Matters for 2015-2020.
66. We note with satisfaction the progress in the exchanges and cooperation in various areas, including governance, film-making, media, think-tank, youth, parliament, local governments and trade union, and agree to further advance such exchanges and cooperation. We commend the first joint film production by BRICS countries and commend the success of the BRICS Film Festival, the Media Forum, Friendship Cities and Local Governments Cooperation Forum, Youth Forum, Young Diplomats Forum and Young Scientists Forum. We appreciate the successful hosting of the BRICS Forum of Political Parties, Think-Tanks and Civil Society Organizations as well as the Seminar on Governance, and will carry these good initiatives forward in the future. In this regard, we note the proposal to establish by China the BRICS Research and Exchange Fund.
67. We appreciate the important progress in BRICS institutional development and reiterate our commitment to further strengthen it to make BRICS cooperation more responsive to the changing situation. We commend China for taking measures during its Chairmanship to enhance the Sherpas’ coordination role in BRICS cooperation. We instruct the Sherpas to continue their discussion concerning BRICS institutional development.
68. We recommit our strong support for multilateralism and the central role of the UN in international affairs. We commit to strengthening the coordination and cooperation among BRICS in the areas of mutual and common interests within the UN and other multilateral institutions, including through regular meetings among our permanent representatives in New York, Geneva and Vienna, and further enhance the voice of BRICS in international fora.
69. In continuation of BRICS tradition of outreach since the Durban Summit, we will hold a Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the building of broad partnerships for development under the theme of “Strengthening Mutually-Beneficial Cooperation for Common Development” in promotion of BRICS Plus cooperation.
70. South Africa, Brazil, Russia and India commend China’s Chairmanship in 2017 and express sincere gratitude to the Government and people of China for hosting the Ninth BRICS Summit in Xiamen.
71. China, Brazil, Russia and India extend full support for South Africa in hosting the Tenth BRICS Summit in 2018.
Annex 1 : BRICS Cooperation Outcome Documents
The following outcome documents have been adopted.
Press Communique of the BRICS Leaders Informal Meeting in Hamburg Political and Security Cooperation
1. Media Note of the Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations
2. BRICS Roadmap of Practical Cooperation on Ensuring Security in the Use of ICTs
3. Joint Communique on the Meeting of BRICS Special Envoys on Middle East Economic Cooperation
1. BRICS Action Agenda on Economic and Trade Cooperation
2. Seventh Meeting of the BRICS Trade Ministers Statement
3. BRICS Trade in Services Cooperation Roadmap
4. Framework on Strengthening the Economic and Technical Cooperation for BRICS Countries
5. BRICS E-Commerce Cooperation Initiative
6. Terms of Reference (ToR) of BRICS E-Commerce Working Group
7. Terms of Reference (ToR) of BRICS Model E-Po
8. BRICS IPR Cooperation Guidelines
9. Outlines for BRICS Investment Facilitation
10. Agreed Elements of Financial Deliverables of 2017 BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting
11. BRICS Good Practices on PPP Frameworks
12. Action Plan for Deepening Industrial Cooperation Among BRICS Countries
13. Declaration of the Third BRICS Communications Ministers’ Meeting
14. Strategic Framework of BRICS Customs Cooperation
15. BRICS Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation (2017-2020)
16. Hangzhou Declaration of the 5th BRICS Science, Technology & Innovation (STI) Ministerial Meeting
17. Action Plan 2017-2018 in the Framework of BRICS 2015-2018 STI Work Plan
18. Communique of BRICS Heads of Tax Authorities Meeting
19. BRICS Memorandum of Cooperation in Respect of Tax Matters
20. Declaration of the 2nd BRICS Energy Ministerial Meeting
21. Tianjin Statement on Environment of the Third Meeting of BRICS Environment Ministers
22. Joint Declaration of the Seventh Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Agriculture
23. Action Plan 2017-2020 for Agricultural Cooperation of BRICS Countries
24. BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers’ Declaration
25. The BRICS Action Plan for Poverty Alleviation and Reduction Through Skills
26. Progress Report on the Implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership
27. Interbank Local Currency Credit Line Agreement Under BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism
28. Cooperation Memorandum Relating to Credit Ratings Under BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism
29. BRICS Partnership for Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative
30. BRICS Joint Statistical Publication 2017
31. Terms of Reference (ToR) of BRICS Research Infrastructure and Mega-Science Projects Working Group
32. Terms of Reference (ToR) of BRICS Working Group on Science, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Partnership
33. Memorandum of Understanding Between BRICS Export Credit Agencies and the New Development Bank on General Cooperation
34. The BRICS Common Position on Governance in the Future of Work
35. BRICS Network of Labour Research Institutes Terms of Reference
36. BRICS Social Security Cooperation Framework
37. BRICS Agricultural Development Report 2017
38. Joint Statement of BRICS Business Forum 2017
39. Memorandum of Understanding Between the BRICS Business Council and the New Development Bank on Strategic Cooperation
40. Joint Declaration of BRICS Business Council on Regulatory Cooperation on Standards
1. Action Plan for the Implementation of the Agreement between the Governments of the BRICS States on Cooperation in the Field of Culture (2017-2021)
2. Letter of Intent for BRICS Alliance of Libraries Cooperation
3. Letter of Intent of the Founding of the BRICS Alliance of Museums
4. Letter of Intent on the Founding of the BRICS Alliance of Art Museums and National Galleries
5. Letter of Intent for Strategic Cooperation of the BRICS Alliance of Theater for Children and Young People
6. Joint Declaration of BRICS Countries on Strengthening Cooperation in Traditional Medicine
7. Tianjin Communique of BRICS Health Ministers Meeting
8. Beijing Declaration on Education of the Fifth Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Education
9. Action Plan of Promoting BRICS Media Cooperation
10. 2017 BRICS Youth Forum Action Plan
11. Chengdu Initiative of 2017 BRICS Friendship Cities and Local Governments Cooperation Forum
12. Quanzhou Consensus of BRICS Seminar on Governance
13. Fuzhou Initiative of the BRICS Political Parties, Think-Tanks and Civil Society Organizations Forum
14. The 9th BRICS Academic Forum Recommendations to the 9th BRICS Summit
15. Chengdu Consensus of the BRICS Film Delegations of the 2nd BRICS Film Festival
16. BRICS Film Collaboration Plan for the Years 2017 to 2021
17. BFA Program for BRICS Film Students and Talents
18. Joint Declaration on Film Traditional Culture Inheritance and Creative Development of Young Talents
19. BRICS Trade Union Forum Declaration
20. Statement by BRICS Tr Trade Unions to the BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting
Note is also taken of the ongoing work on the following documents
1. The Action Plan on BRICS IPR Cooperation
2. Agreement on Cooperation on the BRCS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation
3. National Accounting Standards Setters of BRICS Countries Joint Statement
4. BRICS Joint Statement on Audit Regulatory Cooperation
1. Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the Council of Regions of BRICS States
2. Memorandum of Understanding on BRICS Sports Cooperation
Annex 2: Xiamen Action Plan
We take note of the following meetings and events held under China’s BRICS Chairmanship before the Xiamen Summit.
Ministerial Meetings and Relevant Events
1. BRICS Leaders’ Informal Meeting (7 July 2017, Hamburg)
2. Meeting of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues (27-28 July 2017, Beijing)
3. Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations (18-19 June 2017, Beijing)
4. BRICS Sherpa/Sous-Sherpa Meetings (23-24 February 2017, Nanjing; 14-15 June 2017, Qingdao; 4-5 July 2017, Hamburg; September 2017, Xiamen)
5. BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meetings/Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meeting (17 March 2017, Baden-Baden; 20 April 2017, Washington D.C.; 19 June 2017, Shanghai)
6. BRICS Local Currency Bond Fund Working Group (20 April, Washington DC; 18 June 2017, Shanghai)
7. BRICS Energy Ministerial Meeting (7 June 2017, Beijing)
8. Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Agriculture and Agrarian Development (16-17 June 2017, Nanjing)
9. BRICS Environment Ministers Meeting (22-23 June 2017, Tianjin)
10. Meeting of BRICS Joint Committee on Space Cooperation (2-3 July 2017, Haikou)
11. Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Education (4-5 July 2017, Beijing)
12. Meeting of BRICS Customs Cooperation Committee (5 July 2017, Brussels)
13. Meeting of BRICS Culture Ministers (5-6 July 2017, Tianjin)
14. BRICS Health Ministers Meeting and High-level Meeting on Traditional Medicine (6-7 July 2017, Tianjin)
15. BRICS Meeting of Drug Regulatory Collaboration (13-14 July 2017, Zhengzhou)
16. BRICS Science, Technology & Innovation Ministerial Meeting (18 July 2017, Hangzhou)
17. Meeting of BRICS Labor and Employment Ministers’ Meeting (26-27 July 2017, Chongqing)
18. BRICS Communications Ministers’ Meeting (27-28 July 2017, Hangzhou)
19. Meeting of BRICS Heads of Tax Authorities (27-28 July 2017, Hangzhou)
20. BRICS Industry Ministers Meeting (29-30 July 2017, Hangzhou)
21. Meeting of the BRICS Trade Ministers (1-2 August 2017, Shanghai)
22. Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the New Development Bank (1-2 April 2017, New Delhi)
23. BRICS Business Forum (3-4 September 2017, Xiamen)
Senior Officials/Working Groups/Expert Meetings
1. Meeting of BRICS Senior Officials on Environment (22 June 2017, Tianjin)
2. Meeting of BRICS Senior Officials on Education (4 July 2017, Beijing)
3. Meeting of BRICS Senior Officials on Culture (5 July 2017, Tianjin)
4. BRICS Health Senior Officials Meeting (5 July 2017, Tianjin)
5. Meeting of BRICS Senior Officials on Science, Technology & Innovation (17 July 2017, Hangzhou)
6. BRICS Business Council (31 March 2017, New Delhi; 31 August-2 September 2017, Shanghai & Xiamen)
7. BRICS Anti-Corruption Working Group Meetings (22 January 2017, Berlin; 9 April 2017, Brasilia)
8. BRICS Intellectual Property Examiner Training Seminar (20-24 February 2017, Nagpur)
9. BRICS Intellectual Property Coordination Group Meeting (22-23 February 2017, Nagpur)
10. Meetings of BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues (20-21 March 2017, Beijing; 23-25 May 2017, Beijing; 30-31 July 2017, Shanghai)
11. Technical Meeting of BRICS National Statistics Offices (27-29 March 2017, Shanghai)
12. BRICS Working Group Meeting of Customs (29-31 March 2017, Xiamen)
13. Consultation of BRICS Middle East Special Envoys (11-12 April 2017, Visakhapatnam)
14. BRICS Employment Working Group Meetings (19 April 2017, Yuxi; 25 July 2017, Chongqing)
15. BRICS Environmental Working Group Meeting (25-27 April 2017, Tianjin)
16. BRICS Counter Terrorism Working Group Meeting (18 May 2017, Beijing)
17. First Meeting of BRICS Intellectual Property Rights Mechanism (23 May 2017, Beijing)
18. Working Group for the Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Culture (25 May 2017, Beijing)
19. BRICS Science, Technology & Innovation Funding Working Group Meeting (28-31 May 2017, Pretoria)
20. Meeting of BRICS Working Group on Security in the Use of ICTs (1-2 June 2017, Beijing)
21. Working Group Meeting on BRICS Energy Saving and Improvement of Energy Efficiency (5 June 2017, Beijing)
22. Meeting of Heads of BRICS Export Credit Agencies (12-15 June 2017, Hangzhou)
23. BRICS Working Group Meetings on Agricultural Cooperation (15 June 2017, Nanjing)
24. Technical Group Meeting of BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism (28-29 June 2017, Beijing)
25. Working Group Meeting on Interbank Cooperation Mechanism (28-29 June 2017, Beijing)
26. Meeting of BRICS Heads of Delegation on AML (18-23 June 2017, Spain)
27. BRICS Foreign Policy Planning Dialogue (20-21 July 2017, Beijing)
28. BRICS Consultation of Experts on Peace-keeping Affairs (25 July 2017, Beijing)
29. Meeting of BRICS Experts on Tax Matters (25-26 July 2017, Hangzhou)
30. BRICS Working Group Meeting on ICT Cooperation (26 July 2017, Hangzhou)
31. BRICS Anti-Drug Working Group Meeting (16 August 2017, Weihai)
32. Annual Meeting of Interbank Cooperation Mechanism and Financial Forum (31 August – 2 September 2017, Beijing)
33. Meeting of BRICS Heads of Intellectual Property Offices (6-7 April 2017, New Delhi)
34. BRICS Working Group on Science, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Partnership (9 April, Bengaluru)
35. BRICS Working Group on ICT and High Performance Computing (23-26 April, Guangzhou)
36. BRICS Working Group on Research Infrastructure and Mega-Science Projects (15-16 May, Dubna)
37. BRICS Working Group on Solid State Lighting (19-24 June 2017, Hangzhou)
People-to-people Exchanges Events and Other Meetings
1. BRICS Young Diplomats Forum (30 May – 3 June 2017, Beijing & Linyi)
2. BRICS Media Forum (6-8 June 2017, Beijing)
3. BRICS Think-Tank Council Meeting (10 June 2017, Fuzhou)
4. BRICS Political Parties, Think Tanks and Civil Society Organizations Forum (10-12 June 2017, Fuzhou)
5. BRICS Games (17-21 June 2017, Guangzhou)
6. BRICS Film Festival (23-27 June 2017, Chengdu)
7. BRICS Friendship Cities and Local Governments Cooperation Forum (11-13 July 2017, Chengdu)
8. BRICS Trade Union Forum (24-25 July 2017, Beijing)
9. BRICS Youth Forum (24-28 July 2017, Beijing)
10. BRICS Young Scientist Forum (11-15 July 2017, Hangzhou)
11. BRICS Seminar on Governance (17-18 August 2017, Quanzhou)
12. BRICS Heads of Prosecution Services Meeting (August 2017, Brazil)
13. BRICS Think-Tank Symposiums (22 March 2017, Beijing; 15 May 2017, Guangzhou; 20 May 2017, Chongqing)
14. BRICS International Festival of Theatre Schools (14-21 May 2017, Moscow)
15. Meeting of BRICS Cooperation in the Field of Competition Law (16-20 May 2017, St. Petersburg)
16. Annual Forum “BRICS: Boosting Economic Cooperation” (1-3 June 2017, St. Petersburg)
17. BRICS Supreme Audit Institutions’ Technical Cooperation Meeting (June 28-29, 2017, Pretoria)
18. International Congress of Women of SCO and BRICS Countries (2-4 July 2017, Novosibirsk)
We further take note of the upcoming meetings and events under China’s BRICS Chairmanship
1. The Foreign Ministers Meeting on the margins of UNGA
2. The Fifth BRICS Sherpa/Sous-Sherpa Meeting
3. BRICS Parliamentary Forum
4. Meeting of BRICS Heads of National Statistics Offices
5. BRICS Trade Fair
6. BRICS Legal Advisor Consultation
7. BRICS Forum on SOE Reform and Governance
8. Meeting of BRICS Cooperation in the Field of Competition Law
9. Third Forum on Small Business of the SCO and BRICS Regions
10. BRICS International Competition Conference
11. BRICS Working Group on Astronomy (21-22 September, Pune)
12. BRICS Export Credit Agencies Technical Workshop (31 October-3 November, Nanjing)
13. BRICS Working Group on Materials Science and Nanotechnology (26-27 October 2017, Yekaterinburg)
14. Annual International Academic Conference “Foresight and STI Policy” (1-2 November, Moscow)
15. BRICS Working Group on Biotechnology and Biomedicine, including Human Health and Neuroscience (15-16 November, 2017, Moscow)
16. BRICS meeting on Ageing
Proposals to be further explore
1. Ocean Cooperation
2. Establishment of the PPP Project Preparation Fund
3. Establishment of the BRICS Energy Cooperation Platform
4. BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation
5. Establishment of the BRICS Customs Training Center in Xiamen
6. Establishment of the BRICS Cultural Council
7. Establishment of the BRICS Council of Regions
8. Tourism Cooperation
9. Creation of the Working Group on Regional Aviation
Transcript provided by the timesofindia.indiatimes.com