BRICS History, Objectives and Functions

09/03/2024 1 By indiafreenotes

BRICS is an acronym representing an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Formed in 2009, with South Africa joining in 2010, BRICS is known for its significant influence on regional and global affairs; all members are leading developing or newly industrialized countries. BRICS nations are distinguished by their large, fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional and global affairs. This group collectively represents about 42% of the world’s population, a quarter of the world’s GDP, and over 16% of the world trade, making it a critical economic bloc. BRICS aims to enhance cooperation between member countries and assert their collective position in global governance, economic stability, and development initiatives.

History of BRICS:

The concept of BRICS originated from a thesis by Jim O’Neill, a British economist at Goldman Sachs, in 2001. Initially dubbed “BRIC” before the inclusion of South Africa, the term referred to Brazil, Russia, India, and China, four rapidly developing economies poised to become dominant suppliers of manufactured goods, services, and raw material by 2050. O’Neill’s thesis posited that these countries would become a much larger force in the world economy in the coming decades.

The first formal BRIC Summit took place in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in 2009, marking the official commencement of the coalition as an international political organization aimed at advocating for the global economic system’s reform and enhancement of the developing countries’ situation within it. South Africa was invited to join the group in December 2010, leading to the addition of the “S” to the acronym, thus forming “BRICS.”

The inclusion of South Africa expanded the geographic and economic diversity of the group. Since its inception, BRICS has held annual summits to discuss issues of mutual interest and to coordinate on a range of economic and political strategies. These nations aim to create a more balanced global economic architecture, reform financial institutions, and foster the development of their economies and those of other developing countries.

Objectives of BRICS:

  • Economic Cooperation:

To foster and strengthen economic ties, trade, and investment opportunities among member countries. This includes working towards more equitable global economic structures and supporting each other’s growth and development.

  • Political and Security Cooperation:

To promote peace, security, and stability both regionally and globally. BRICS aims to offer a unified stance on key international issues, advocating for a multipolar world order.

  • Cultural and People-to-People Exchange:

To encourage cultural exchange and mutual understanding among the populations of the member countries, enhancing social and cultural ties.

  • Development and Reform of Global Governance Institutions:

To work collectively for the reform of international financial and political institutions, such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank, ensuring these bodies more accurately reflect the interests of developing countries.

  • Sustainable Development:

To promote sustainable development in all its dimensions—economic, social, and environmental—through shared projects and initiatives. This includes addressing climate change, energy security, and food security concerns.

  • Scientific, Technological, and Innovation Cooperation:

To collaborate in the fields of science, technology, and innovation, fostering knowledge exchange, and joint research initiatives to drive sustainable growth and development.

  • Response to Global Challenges:

To coordinate efforts in addressing global challenges such as terrorism, cyber-security threats, and infectious diseases, emphasizing the importance of solidarity among member nations.

Functions of BRICS:

  • Economic Collaboration:

BRICS facilitates economic cooperation and trade among its members, working to enhance mutual investment and eliminate trade barriers. It focuses on supporting economic growth, development, and integration among member states.

  • Financial Cooperation:

One of the landmark achievements in this area is the establishment of the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA). These institutions aim to fund infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS countries and other emerging economies, providing an alternative to Western-dominated financial institutions.

  • Political and Diplomatic Coordination:

BRICS countries engage in regular diplomatic consultations and coordinate their positions on international issues, aiming to amplify their collective voice on the global stage. This includes advocating for reforms in global governance institutions and promoting a multipolar world order.

  • Socio-Cultural Exchange:

The bloc encourages cultural exchanges, education, and tourism among its members, aiming to foster mutual understanding and strengthen cultural ties. This includes initiatives such as the BRICS University League and cultural festivals.

  • Scientific, Technological, and Innovation Partnership:

BRICS promotes collaboration in science, technology, and innovation, aiming to address common challenges and share knowledge and best practices. Joint research projects, conferences, and workshops are conducted to advance technological and scientific cooperation.

  • Environmental and Sustainable Development initiatives:

The group works together on environmental protection and sustainable development issues, including climate change, energy efficiency, and biodiversity conservation. BRICS seeks to promote green growth and sustainable development practices among its members and in the global community.

  • Security and Defense Cooperation:

While not a formal defense alliance, BRICS members engage in discussions and cooperation on matters of regional and global security, including counter-terrorism efforts, cyber security, and international crime. This function aims to enhance peace and stability through dialogue and collaboration.

  • Public Health and Social Welfare:

Cooperation in public health, including responses to global health crises, is another key function of BRICS. The members aim to improve health standards, address communicable and non-communicable diseases, and work towards achieving universal health coverage.