On July 14th, 15th and 16th the Brazilian cities of Fortaleza and Brasília will host the VI BRICS Summit, a group integrated by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The bloc is home to almost half of the world’s population and labor force, they occupy around a fourth of the global territory and the countries’ economies have a growing participation in the world’s GDP. Since its creation, the bloc has been playing an important role in debates about economic and financial matters within the G-20, particularly regarding the governance reform of multilateral financial institutions.
The VI Summit spotlights a new moment for the BRICS group. Based on an agenda oriented by the theme “BRICS – Inclusive Growth: Sustainable solutions” the Heads of State will sign in Fortaleza an agreement on the settlement of the BRICS Development Bank – with headquarters in China and a startup capital of US$ 50 billion. The bank’s resources shall be channeled to governments and the private sector to finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects within the member countries and in other countries, especially in Africa. An agreement about the Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA), a kind of fund to tackle any financial and balance of paymentscrisis the five countries may face in the future, is also expected.
The Heads of State will also attend a meeting in Brasilia with South American presidents, following the same procedure applied with representatives of the African Union during the last BRICS Summit held in Durban, South Africa. This initiative is noteworthy as BRICS members already play a central role in their own regions. As a result, the groups’ initiatives are likely to impact and affect the neighboring countries.
The Summit always extends beyond the governments’ official meetings. Last March, Rio de Janeiro hosted an Academic Forum and on July 14th. This year, a Business Forum will take place in Fortaleza and will consist of businessman from a range of economic sectors such as agribusiness, mining, energy, green economy and infrastructure among others. The full schedule of this meeting can be found here. Parallel to the official meetings, Fortaleza will also host a Trade Union Forum and a Social Summit.
The BRICS countries themselves and their actions through a bank whose mandate is to finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects, demand monitoring and pressure from society. In order to influence the bank’s institutional framework to ensure it finances truly sustainable projects from a social, environmental, economic and climate point of view, it is important to demand an official position from Head of States about what they understand and conceive by ‘sustainable development’. More discussion on the criteria that will be adopted to verify the sustainability of the prospective projects is needed. The profile of some of the bloc’s countries regarding their energy matrix based on fossil fuel exploitation, high greenhouse gas emission levels, intensive natural resource exploitation, social inequalities and human and territorial rights violations, suggests that the BRICS group shall face many challenges, individually and in their collective actions, towards advancing a more socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable development. For more information about the results of these events, please check our analysis about the Fortaleza’s and Brasilia’s negotiations in Nivela.Org later this month.