The 10th annual BRICS meeting has just concluded in Johannesburg. The meeting was significant as it represented the de-facto ascension of the BRICS+ formula whereby key partners of the five nation group will begin to play a greater role in joint initiatives ranging from economic connectivity and shared expertise in industrial development to technological research, cooperation on pharmaceutical research and cultural exchange.
While the BRICS have not agreed to expand formal membership, the clear road towards further joint initiatives throughout Asia and Africa remains a key priority. Below is the full text of the joint declaration following from the successful completion of the 10th BRICS summit:
BRICS in Africa
Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution
SANDTON CONVENTION CENTRE JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA 25 TO 27 JULY 2018
10TH BRICS SUMMIT JOHANNESBURG DECLARATION
1. We, the Heads of State and Government 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 from 25 – 27 July 2018 in Johannesburg, at the 10th BRICS Summit. The 10th BRICS Summit, as a milestone in the history of BRICS, was held under the theme “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”.
2. We are meeting on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela and we recognise his values, principles and dedication to the service of humanity and acknowledge his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of the culture of peace throughout the world.
3. We commend South Africa for the Johannesburg Summit thrust on development, inclusivity and mutual prosperity in the context of technology driven industrialisation and growth.
4. We, the Heads of State and Government, express satisfaction regarding the achievements of BRICS over the last ten years as a strong demonstration of BRICS cooperation toward the attainment of peace, harmony and shared development and prosperity, and deliberated on ways to consolidate them further.
5. We reaffirm our commitment to the principles of mutual respect, sovereign equality, democracy, inclusiveness and strengthened collaboration. As we build upon the successive BRICS Summits, we further commit ourselves to enhancing our strategic partnership for the benefit of our people through the promotion of peace, a fairer international order, sustainable development and inclusive growth, and to strengthening the three-pillar-driven cooperation in the areas of economy, peace and security and people-to-people exchanges.
6. We recommit ourselves to a world of peace and stability, and support the central role of the United Nations, the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter and respect for international law, promoting democracy and the rule of law. We reinforce our commitment to upholding multilateralism and to working together on the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals as we foster a more representative, democratic, equitable, fair and just international political and economic order.
7. We reiterate our determination to work together to strengthen multilateralism and the rule of law in international relations, and to promote a fair, just, equitable, democratic and representative international order.
8. We recommit our support for multilateralism and the central role of the United Nations in international affairs and uphold fair, just and equitable international order based on the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, respect for international law, promoting democracy and the rule of law in international relations, and to address common traditional and non-traditional security challenges.
9. We welcome the hosting of the BRICS-Africa Outreach and second BRICS Plus Cooperation with Emerging Markets and Developing Countries (EMDCs) during the Johannesburg Summit.
10. We express satisfaction at the outcomes of Ministerial Meetings that have been held (Annex 1) and look forward to the remainder of meetings to be held under the 2018 BRICS Calendar of Events.
II. STRENGTHENING MULTILATERALISM, REFORMING GLOBAL GOVERNANCE AND ADDRESSING COMMON CHALLENGES
11. We reaffirm our commitment to the United Nations, as the universal multilateral organisation entrusted with the mandate for maintaining international peace and security, advancing global development and promoting and protecting human rights.
12. We reaffirm our commitment to the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, and support for the United Nations as the universal intergovernmental organisation entrusted with the responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, advancing sustainable development as well as ensuring the promotion, and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
13. We reiterate our commitment to the strengthening of multilateral institutions of global governance to ensure that they are able to comprehensively address global challenges.
14. We also recognise the inherent strength of regional initiatives in support of the objectives of the broader multilateral system.
15. We further reaffirm our commitment to the centrality of the universal collective security system enshrined in the UN Charter. We recognize the importance of working towards an international system based on international law, with the UN Charter as its fundamental cornerstone, which fosters cooperation and stability in a multipolar order. We note the long overdue outstanding task of ensuring the adequate representation of African States in the UN, especially in peace and security matters.
16. Faced with international challenges requiring our cooperative efforts, we reiterate our commitment to shaping a more fair, just and representative multipolar international order to the shared benefit of humanity, in which the general prohibition of the use of force is fully upheld and which excludes the imposition of unilateral coercive measures outside the framework of the UN Charter. We emphasise the indivisible nature of peace and security and reiterate that no country should enhance its security at the expense of the security of others.
17. 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.
18. We underscore the importance of sustained efforts aimed at making the United Nations more effective and efficient in implementing its mandates. We encourage further collaboration amongst the BRICS countries on a better resourced UN, on its administration and budget, on preserving the UN’s Member State-driven character and ensuring better oversight of and strengthening the Organisation.
19. We express our support for continued cooperation of BRICS members in areas of mutual interest including through regular exchanges amongst their multilateral Missions.
20. We reaffirm our commitment to fully implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to provide equitable, inclusive, open, all-round innovation-driven and sustainable development, in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental – in a balanced and integrated manner, towards the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty by 2030. We pledge our support for 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, 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 honour their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments fully in time and to provide additional development resources to developing countries.
21. Regarding Climate Change, we welcome the progress towards finalizing the Work Programme under the Paris Agreement and express our willingness to continue working constructively with other Parties to conclude its related negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) towards the 24th Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP24) to be held in Katowice, Poland in December 2018. We call upon all countries to fully implement the Paris Agreement adopted under the principles of the 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.
22. We undertake to strengthen BRICS cooperation in energy, especially in transitioning to more environmentally sustainable energy systems supportive of the global sustainable development agenda, balanced economic growth and the collective socio-economic wellbeing of our citizens. We continue to strive toward universal energy access, energy security, energy affordability, reduced pollution and environmental conservation. We reaffirm that the diversification of energy supply sources, including renewable and low carbon energy sources, investments in energy and energy infrastructure, energy industry and market development and intra-BRICS collaboration for access to primary energy sources will continue to underpin our energy security. We recognise the need to accelerate energy transition including in transportation, heating and industry uses.
23. We acknowledge the importance of energy efficiency and the popularisation of an energy efficient life style in virtue of its potential contributions to energy security, industrial competitiveness, emissions reduction, economic growth, job creation and other areas when introduced.
24. We acknowledge that the BRICS Ministers of Energy agreed to establish the BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform and to develop its Terms of Reference, and note the ongoing discussions for that purpose.
25. We reaffirm and support the establishment of the BRICS Agricultural Research Platform (ARP) initiated by India in 2016. We appreciate the fundamental importance of research, development and innovation in global sustainability and competitiveness. We endeavour to strengthen the agricultural research collaborative networks among the BRICS countries to enhance the resilience of the collective agricultural and food systems in the face of the changing climate. We recognise the need for follow-up steps in implementing the aims and objectives of the ARP. We commit to step up intra-BRICS collaboration including within the frame of the Agriculture Research Platform and the Basic Agriculture Information Exchange System (BAIES).
26. We acknowledge the outcomes of the 4th BRICS Environment Ministers Meeting which was held under the theme “Strengthening cooperation amongst BRICS on Circular Economy in the context of the Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP)”. We note that the circular economy approach represents enormous potential to reduce waste, to forge more environmentally sustainable processes, diversify our economies whilst contributing to economic growth and job creation.
27. We acknowledge the outcomes of the successive BRICS Environment Ministers’ Meetings including the implementation of the Environmentally Friendly Technology Platform, Clean Rivers Umbrella Programme and the Partnership for Urban Environment Sustainability Initiative. The progress in the establishment of the BRICS Environmentally Sound Technology (BEST) Cooperation Platform is acknowledged, which is intended to be practical and results orientated, and would include partners, science organisations, civil society, private sector and financial institutions.
28. We welcome the commitment to enhance cooperation in the field of water on the basis of sustainable development in an integrated way, addressing the themes of water access flood protection, drought management, water supply and sanitation, water and climate, systematically facilitating water pollution prevention and control, river and lake ecosystem restoration and preservation, ecosystem conservation, and water resources management.
29. We acknowledge the BRICS Meeting of Heads of Disaster Management in Buffalo City, wherein the Action Plan 2018-2020, was adopted and the first meeting of the BRICS Joint Task Force was held to further enhance our cooperation in this field.
30. We reaffirm the intention to enhance cooperation and collaboration amongst BRICS countries in the field of biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and equitable access and benefit sharing of biological resources, and also undertake to promote our cooperation in biodiversity-related international conventions and fora including on endangered species and amongst our National Parks authorities.
31. We recognise the vast potential in cooperation and collaboration in advancing the Oceans Economy amongst BRICS countries, which encompasses multiple sectors, including the strategic areas of maritime transport, shipbuilding, offshore oil and exploration, aquaculture, port development, research and technology, conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, marine and coastal tourism, financial and insurance services, as well as coastal industrial zone development.
32. We remain committed to the continued implementation of the Agenda for BRICS cooperation on population matters 2015-2020, which was agreed to by the Ministers responsible for Population Matters in 2014, because the dynamics of population age structure changes in BRICS countries pose challenges and present opportunities, particularly with regard to gender inequality and women’s rights, youth development, employment and the future of work, urbanisation, migration and ageing.
33. We deplore the continued terrorist attacks, including in some BRICS countries. We condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomsoever. We urge concerted efforts to counter terrorism under the UN auspices on a firm international legal basis and express our conviction that a comprehensive approach is necessary to ensure an effective fight against terrorism. We recall the responsibility of all States to prevent financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions from their territories.
34. 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 finalisation and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) by the United Nations General Assembly.
35. To address the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, we support and emphasise the need for launching multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism, including at the Conference on Disarmament.
36. We firmly believe that those responsible for committing, organising, or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable. We call upon all nations to adopt a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism, which should include countering radicalisation, recruitment, travel of Foreign Terrorist Fighters, blocking sources and channels of terrorist financing including, for instance, through organised crime by means of money-laundering, supply of weapons, drug trafficking and other criminal activities, dismantling terrorist bases, and countering misuse of the Internet by terrorist entities through misuse of the latest Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
37. We reaffirm the importance of the elaboration under the UN auspices of rules, norms and principles of responsible behaviour of States in ensuring security in the use of ICTs.
38. We embrace the undeniable benefits and new opportunities brought about by the advances in ICTs, especially in the context of the 4th industrial revolution. However, these advances also bring with them new challenges and threats resultant from the growing misuse of ICTs for criminal activities, the increasing malicious use of ICTs by state and non-state actors. In this regard, we stress the importance of international cooperation against terrorist and criminal use of ICTs and therefore reiterate the need to develop a universal regulatory binding instrument on combating the criminal use of ICTs within the UN. We acknowledge the progress made in promoting cooperation according to the BRICS Roadmap of Practical Cooperation on Ensuring Security in the Use of ICTs or any other mutually agreed mechanism. We also acknowledge the importance to establish a framework of cooperation among BRICS member States on ensuring security in the Use of ICTs and, in this regard, BRICS member States will work towards consideration and elaboration of a BRICS intergovernmental agreement on cooperation on this matter.
III. STRENGTHENING AND CONSOLIDATING BRICS COOPERATION IN INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY
39. We reaffirm our commitment to collective efforts for peaceful settlement of disputes through political and diplomatic means, and recognise the role of the UN Security Council as bearing the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security.
40. We express our concern over the ongoing conflict and heightened tensions in the Middle-East region and our conviction that there is no place for unlawful resorting to force or external interference in any conflict and that, ultimately, lasting peace can only be established through broad-based, inclusive national dialogue with due respect for the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of each of the countries of the region. We agree that, in each of the countries in the region, citizens have legitimate aspirations to fully enjoy civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and fundamental freedoms, especially with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian situation.
41. We agree that the conflicts elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa should not be used to delay resolution of long-standing conflicts, in particular the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We reiterate the need for renewed diplomatic efforts to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement 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. We reiterate that the status of Jerusalem is one of the final status issues to be defined in the context of negotiations between Israel and Palestine. With regard to the situation in Gaza, we reiterate our support to the UN General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/ES-10/20) on the protection of the Palestinian population and call for its full implementation.
42. We reiterate our support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). We commend its vital role in providing health, education and other basic services for almost 5.3 million Palestinian refugees and underscore its relevance to bringing stability to the region and the need for ensuring a more adequate, sufficient, predictable and sustained funding for the Agency.
43. The ongoing conflict and major humanitarian crisis in the Republic of Yemen are also causes for further concern. We call for unhindered access for the provision of humanitarian assistance to all parts of Yemen and urge the international community to expeditiously provide the necessary assistance. We urge all parties to fully respect international law, to cease hostilities and to return to the UN brokered peace talks, leading to an inclusive Yemeni-led dialogue towards the achievement of a political solution to the conflict.
44. 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 Kuwait in this regard.
45. We reaffirm our support for the process of an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” national peace and reconciliation process. We express our concern over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan particularly the increase in the number and intensity of terrorist-related attacks on the Afghan National Security Forces, the Government and civilians. We call on the international community to assist the government and the people of Afghanistan with the objective of working towards the realisation of peace. We also welcome the Parliamentary elections that are scheduled to be held in October 2018 and the Presidential elections in 2019.
46. We reaffirm our commitment for a political resolution of the conflict in Syria, through an inclusive “Syrian-led, Syrian-owned” political process that safeguards the state sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria, in pursuance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015) and taking into account the result of the Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue in Sochi. We reiterate our support for the Geneva process and the mediation offered by the UN, as well as the Astana process which has been showing signs of positive developments on the ground, and stress the complementarity between the two initiatives. We reaffirm our commitment to a peaceful resolution in Syria and our opposition to measures that run contrary to the UN Charter and the authority of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and that do not contribute to advancing the political process. We also highlighted the importance of unity in the fight against terrorist organisations in Syria in full observance of the relevant UNSC Resolutions. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the use of chemical weapons by any party, for any purpose and under any circumstances and renew calls for comprehensive, objective, independent, and transparent investigations of all alleged incidents. We call for enhanced efforts to provide necessary humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, bearing in mind urgent reconstruction needs.
47. Recalling the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear programme we call upon all parties to fully comply with their obligations and ensure full and effective implementation of the JCPOA to promote international and regional peace and security.
48. We welcome recent developments to achieve the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and maintain peace and stability in North East Asia. We reaffirm the commitment for a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation.
49. We express our serious concern about the possibility of an arms race in outer space and of outer space turning into an arena for military confrontation. We reaffirm that the prevention of an arms race, including of the placement of weapons in outer space, would avert a grave danger for international peace and security. We emphasise the paramount importance of strict compliance with the existing legal regime providing for the peaceful use of outer space. We also reaffirm that there is a need to consolidate and reinforce this regime. We welcome the newly established Group of Governmental Experts to discuss possible elements for a legally binding instrument on the prevention of an arms race in outer space including inter alia, on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space. We stress that practical transparency and confidence building measures may also contribute towards non-placement of weapons in outer space. We reiterate that the Conference on Disarmament, as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, has the primary role in the negotiation of a multilateral agreement or agreements, as appropriate, on the prevention of an arms race in outer space in all its aspects.
50. We welcome South Africa’s hosting of the Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations in Pretoria on 4 June 2018. The 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 forthcoming Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations on the margins of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
51. We welcome the 8th Meeting of the BRICS High Representatives for Security held on 28 and 29 June 2018 in Durban, and commend them for enriching BRICS’ dialogue on the global security environment, counter-terrorism, security in the use of ICTs, major international and regional hotspots, transnational organised crime, peacekeeping, as well as the linkage between national security and development issues.
52. We emphasise the important role of United Nations peacekeeping to international peace and security, and the contribution of BRICS countries in this regard. We recognise the need for BRICS countries to further enhance mutual communication and cooperation on peacekeeping matters at the United Nations and the South African initiative for a BRICS working group on peacekeeping in this regard.
53. We commend the African Union for its efforts aimed at resolving and managing conflicts on the continent and welcome the strengthening of the cooperation between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council. We commend the African Union’s commitment to the “Silencing of the Guns by 2020” and support efforts to strengthen the African Peace and Security Architecture.
IV. BRICS PARTNERSHIP FOR GLOBAL ECONOMIC RECOVERY, REFORM OF FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC GLOBAL GOVERNANCE INSTITUTIONS, AND THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
54. We welcome that the global economy has continued to improve, while noting that growth has been less synchronised and that downside risks still remain. This is reflected in a variety of challenges including rising trade conflicts, geopolitical risks, commodity price volatility, high private and public indebtedness, inequality and not sufficiently inclusive growth. We understand the critical importance of ensuring that the benefits from growth are shared in a more inclusive manner. We further stress the importance of a favourable external environment for sustained growth of global trade.
55. BRICS economies continue to support global economic expansion and outlook. We advocate continued use of fiscal, monetary and structural policies in concert, to forge strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. We express concern at the spill-over effects of macro-economic policy measures in some major advanced economies that may cause economic and financial volatility in emerging economies and impact their growth prospects adversely. We call on major advanced and emerging market economies to continue policy dialogue and coordination in the context of the G20, FSB and other fora to address these potential risks.
56. Recalling the Johannesburg Summit’s focus on the 4th Industrial Revolution and the outcomes of the BRICS Meetings of Science and Technology and Industry Ministers, we commend the establishment of the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR). To commence the full operationalisation of PartNIR, an Advisory Group will be set up, comprising of respective representatives of BRICS Ministries of Industry, in consultation with appropriate Ministries, to develop, as a first step, the Terms of Reference and a Work Plan aligned with the 4th Industrial Revolution priorities, to be submitted to the BRICS Chair. The PartNIR aims at deepening BRICS cooperation in digitalisation, industrialisation, innovation, inclusiveness and investment, to maximise the opportunities and address the challenges arising from the 4th Industrial Revolution. It should enhance comparative advantages, boost economic growth, promote economic transformation of BRICS countries, strengthen sustainable industrial production capacity, create networks of science parks and technology business incubators, and support small and medium-sized enterprises in technology intensive areas. We believe that the initiative to establish the BRICS Networks of Science Parks, Technology Business Incubators and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises is a promising step in that direction.
57. We recognise the critical and positive role the internet plays globally in promoting economic, social and cultural development. In this regard, we commit to continue to work together through the existing mechanisms to contribute to the secure, open, peaceful, cooperative and orderly use of ICTs on the basis of participation by all states on an equal footing in the evolution and functioning of the internet and its governance, bearing in mind the need to involve the relevant stakeholders in their respective roles and responsibilities.
58. We recognise the importance of BRICS scientific, technical, innovation and entrepreneurship cooperation for sustainable development and to enhance inclusive growth. We welcome the dynamic development of BRICS cooperation in science, technology and innovation and attach special importance to the advancement of our joint work in this area. We affirm the value of implementing coordinated BRICS scientific projects aimed at promoting BRICS science, technology and innovation potential as a contribution to our combined efforts in addressing the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
59. We commend the progress of ongoing BRICS IPR cooperation. We recognise the importance of the development and transfer of technologies, including to developing countries, contributing to long-term sustainable and balanced global growth, and in this regard stress the importance of strengthening cooperation in intellectual property rights which contributes to innovation and the advent of new technologies to the benefit of society as a whole.
60. We are convinced that trade and technology are vital sources of inclusive growth, including through economic integration and consolidation of global value chains in sustainable and equitable ways. Technological progress will have wide ranging implications for production of goods and services as well as incomes of people. Appropriate policies and measures need to be taken to ensure that the developing countries benefit from the advantages of technological progress and do not suffer from lack of its early adoption. It is essential to develop effective policies to bridge the digital divides, including through supporting people to learn and by adopting new technologies and ensure effective mechanisms for transfer of relevant technologies.
61. We strongly acknowledge that skills development is critical to addressing the emerging mismatch between the new skills demanded by an increasingly technology-and knowledge-driven global economy and the older skill set of many workers. The pace, scale and scope of present-day economic change make it that more challenging. In this regard, we support measures including policy recommendations proposed in the G20 Initiative to Promote Quality Apprenticeship and the BRICS Action Plan for Poverty Alleviation and Reduction through Skills, to further facilitate vocational training, lifelong learning and the training that is relevant to the fast-changing demand of growing economies and world of work.
62. We reaffirm the centrality of the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system, as embodied in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), that promotes a predictable trade environment and the centrality of the WTO, and recognise the importance of the development dimension, and will make all efforts to strengthen the multilateral trading system.
63. We recognise that the multilateral trading system is facing unprecedented challenges. We underscore the importance of an open world economy, enabling all countries and peoples to share the benefits of globalisation, which should be inclusive and support sustainable development and prosperity of all countries. We call on all WTO members to abide by WTO rules and honour their commitments in the multilateral trading system.
64. We recall that the WTO Dispute Settlement System is a cornerstone of the multilateral trading system and is designed to enhance security and predictability in international trade. We note with concern the impasse in the selection process for new Appellate Body Members that can paralyse the dispute settlement system and undermine the rights and obligations of all Members. We, therefore, urge all Members to engage constructively to address this challenge as a matter of priority.
65. We acknowledge the need to upkeep WTO’s negotiating function. We, therefore, agree to constructively engage in further developing the current legal framework of the multilateral trading system within the WTO, taking into consideration the concerns and interests of all WTO members, including in particular the developing members.
66. We acknowledge the importance of infrastructure development and connectivity in Africa and recognise the strides made by the African Union to identify and address the continent’s infrastructure challenges, inter alia, through the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). We support the importance of stimulating infrastructure investment on the basis of mutual benefit to support industrial development, job-creation, skills development, food and nutrition security and poverty eradication and sustainable development in Africa. We therefore reaffirm our support for sustainable infrastructure development in Africa, including addressing the infrastructure financing deficit.
67. Keenly aware of the need for Africa’s industrialisation and the realisation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, we commend African countries and the African Union on the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA is an important step to economic integration on the continent and the unlocking of the tremendous potential of intra-African trade and in addressing its socio-economic challenges. In this regard, we reiterate our support for Agenda 2063 and efforts to promote continental integration and development.
68. We advocate for a strong Global Financial Safety Net with an adequately resourced, quota-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) at its centre. To this effect, we reaffirm our commitment to conclude the IMF’s 15th General Review of Quotas, including a new quota formula while protecting the voice of the poorest countries by the 2019 Spring Meetings and no later than the 2019 Annual Meetings. Governance reform of the IMF should strengthen the voice and representation of the poorest members of the IMF, including Sub-Saharan Africa.
69. We welcome and congratulate Governor Lesetja Kganyago of the South African Reserve Bank on his appointment as the Chair of the International Monetary and Financial Committee.
70. We note the steps undertaken on strengthening and ensuring the operational readiness of the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) and welcome the completion of a successful test run of the de-linked portion of the CRA mechanism. We encourage cooperation between the CRA and the IMF.
71. We note with satisfaction the progress achieved on establishing the BRICS Local Currency Bond Fund, and look forward to starting its operation.
72. We agree to further strengthen cooperation on convergence of accounting standards and auditing oversight of BRICS countries in the area of bond issuance, and to further cooperation in these areas.
73. We welcome the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Collaborative Research on Distributed Ledger and Blockchain Technology in the Context of the Development of the Digital Economy. We believe that this work will contribute to our cooperation in adapting to the evolving internet economy.
74. Infrastructure, investment and international development assistance projects are the bedrock for sustainable economic development and growth; boosting productivity and enhancing integration. We stress the significance of infrastructure development and integration to foster closer economic ties.
75. We underscore the role that Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), in particular, the New Development Bank (NDB), are playing in catalysing private sector financing for public infrastructure and investment.
76. We draw satisfaction from the progress made by the NDB in providing resources to contribute to the social, economic and environmental prospects of our countries and expect the Project Preparation Fund to be put into operation soon. We welcome the upcoming establishment of the Americas Regional Office in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which, alongside the Africa Regional Centre, will help the NDB consolidate its presence in those continents. We note the NDB’s Board of Governors’ discussions on Innovative Approaches for Development Finance at its 3rd Annual Meeting on 28-29 May in Shanghai, China, that deliberated on the NDB’s future development in the changing global environment.
77. We stress the importance of enhancing BRICS financial cooperation to better serve the real economy and meet the development needs of BRICS countries. In the regard, we reaffirm our commitment 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 GATS obligations, and to ensure greater communication and cooperation between financial sector regulators. We will continue to enhance currency cooperation, consistent with each central bank’s legal mandate, and to explore more modalities of the cooperation. We will also further expand green financing, so as to promote sustainable development in BRICS countries.
78. We reaffirm our commitment to support international cooperation in combating illicit financial flows, including cooperation within Financial Actions Task Force (FATF) and World Customs Organisation. In this regard, we underscore the importance of increasing mutual exchanges and data sharing. We emphasise the importance of upholding and supporting the objectives of FATF and to intensify our cooperation to implement and improve its Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation in FATF.
79. Corruption remains a global challenge with long-lasting impact, including the undermining of legal systems of states. It also presents a threat to economic growth by discouraging the necessary local and foreign investment in a country. We reaffirm our commitment to international cooperation as envisaged in Chapter IV of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. In that context, we commit to strengthening international cooperation within the context of the BRICS Working Group on Anticorruption Cooperation. Subject to our domestic legal systems we will cooperate in anti-corruption law enforcement, extradition of fugitives, economic and corruption offenders and repatriation in matters relating to assets recovery and other related criminal and non-criminal matters involving corruption and call on the International community to deny safe haven to corrupt persons and proceeds of corruption. We regard experience sharing and exchange as key to increasing mutual understanding and enhancing BRICS anti-corruption cooperation and will continue our efforts in this aspect as we have done in previous years. We will further offer each other support in the implementation of the UNCAC by creating platforms for exchanging information and exploring convergences in multi-lateral platforms. We commend the African Union on choosing 2018 as the year of combating corruption.
80. In operationalising the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, we welcome the positive outcomes of the 8th BRICS Trade Ministers Meeting as supported by the ongoing activities of the BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues (CGETI). We also welcome the good progress made in the implementation of the BRICS Action Agenda on Economic and Trade Cooperation. We encourage measures that support greater participation, value addition and upward mobility in Global Value Chains for our firms, particularly in industry and agriculture, especially Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), including through the preservation of policy space to promote industrial development. In recognising the importance of increased value-added trade amongst BRICS countries, we commend the Ministers of Trade for reconvening CGETI’s Trade Promotion Working Group as well as the BRICS E-Commerce Working Group. We welcome the commissioning of the review of the BRICS Joint Trade Study on promoting intra-BRICS Value Added Trade. We welcome the positive outcomes of the 8th BRICS Trade Ministers Meeting on cooperation on the IPR, e-commerce, trade in service, and further enhancement of cooperation in E-commerce, on standards and technical regulations, MSMEs and model e-port.
81. We welcome the signing of the BRICS Memorandum of Understanding on Regional Aviation. We believe it is an important milestone in strengthening BRICS cooperation in the fields of connectivity and infrastructure.
82. We appreciate the outcomes of cooperation between BRICS Customs Administrations in implementing the Strategic Framework of BRICS Customs Cooperation, and welcome its long-term objectives, including the early conclusion and entry into force of the BRICS Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement so that the BRICS Authorised Economic Operator Programme is functional by the end of 2022, including mutual recognition of controls and economic operators. In this regard, we further welcome the BRICS Customs Action Plan, which identifies actions that will be taken collectively by the BRICS Customs Administrations in the short, medium and long term to achieve the stated goals and the establishment of BRICS Custom Training Centres. We recognise the potential of the BRICS Customs Cooperation Committee and call for enhanced intra-BRICS cooperation and at relevant multilateral fora, including in trade facilitation, law enforcement, use of advanced information technologies and capacity building.
83. We acknowledge the continued support provided by the BRICS Revenue Authorities for all the international initiatives towards reaching a globally fair and universally transparent tax system. We will continue our commitment to deal with the implications of the digital economy and, within that context, to ensure the fairness of the international tax system particularly towards the prevention of base erosion and shifting of profits, exchange of tax information, both on request and automatically, and needs-based capacity building for developing countries. We commit to deepen exchanges, sharing of experiences, best practices, mutual learning and exchanges of personnel in taxation matters. We welcome the establishment of the Capacity Building Mechanism between BRICS Revenue Authorities.
84. We acknowledge the contributions of the BRICS Business Council and its 5th Annual Report, as well as of the BRICS Business Forum, to enhancing trade and business cooperation in infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, agribusiness, financial services, regional aviation, alignment of technical standards and skills development. We welcome the establishment of Digital Economy Working Group within the framework of BRICS Business Council.
85. Recognizing tourism’s great potential to contribute to sustainable economic and social development, we welcome the initiative to establish a BRICS Working Group on Tourism, to foster greater cooperation between the BRICS countries and increase economic development and people-to-people relations. The BRICS Tourism work stream will exchange knowledge, experience and best practices in the areas of travel trade, air connectivity, tourism infrastructure, culture and medical tourism, barriers to tourism marketing, tourism safety and support – financial, insurance and medical. We note with satisfaction that Intra-BRICS Tourism has grown despite the global economic downturn.
V. PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE COOPERATION
86. Emphasising the centrality of people in BRICS and its programmes, we commend the steady progress and exchanges in the fields of sports, youth, films, culture, education and tourism.
87. We reaffirm our commitment to a people-centred approach to development that is inclusive of all sectors of our people.
88. We acknowledge the 8th World Water Forum held in Brasilia, the world’s major water-related event, held in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time, which contributed to establishing water as a priority at the global level.
89. We stress the importance for the BRICS countries to cooperate in matters related to outer space and we confirm our support to strengthening current initiatives in this field.
90. We commit to strengthening the coordination and cooperation on vaccine research and development within BRICS countries, and welcome the proposal to establish a BRICS vaccine research and development centre.
91. We welcome the 1st WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending Tuberculosis in the Sustainable Development Era: A Multisectoral response, in Moscow in 2017, and the resulting Moscow declaration to End TB and stressed the importance of the upcoming 1st High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on Ending Tuberculosis and the 3rd High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of non-communicable diseases, to be held in September 2018.
92. We recognise the importance and role of culture as one of the drivers of the 4th Industrial Revolution and acknowledge the economic opportunities that it presents.
93. We commend the organisation of the 3rd BRICS Film Festival and recognise the need to further deepen cooperation in this field. We acknowledge South Africa’s proposal regarding a draft BRICS Treaty on Co-Production of Films to further promote cooperation in this sphere and to showcase the diversity of BRICS cultures.
94. We emphasise the guiding role of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Agreement between the Governments of the BRICS States on Cooperation in the Field of Culture (2017-2021) for creative and sustainable cultural cooperation, and we note the various ongoing activities and initiatives of the BRICS culture experts.
95. We acknowledge the 2nd BRICS Seminar on Governance 2018 in Johannesburg, while recognising the intention of Brazil to hold the 3rd meeting in 2019 with greater and more diverse participation of academia and think tanks of all BRICS countries.
96. We acknowledge with satisfaction the progress made towards strengthening cooperation and interaction amongst our people, through exchanges including the Think-Tank Council, the Academic Forum, the Civil BRICS Forum, the Young Diplomats Forum, the Youth Summit and the Young Scientists Forum.
97. We acknowledge the South African initiative regarding a BRICS Foreign Affairs Spokespersons Engagement.
98. We welcome the successful hosting of the 3rd BRICS Games by South Africa and we further note the progress that has been made in establishing the BRICS Sports Council.
99. Emphasising the importance of BRICS parliamentary exchanges, including of Women Parliamentarians, we look forward to further strengthening of BRICS exchanges in this regard.
100. Emphasising the role played by women in promoting inclusive development, we note the work being done to consider the establishment of the BRICS Women’s Forum and the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance.
101. Brazil, Russia, India, and China commend South Africa’s BRICS Chairship in 2018 and express their sincere gratitude to the Government and people of South Africa for hosting the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg.
102. Russia, India, China and South Africa extend full support to Brazil for its BRICS Chairship in 2019 and the hosting of the 11th BRICS Summit.