BRICS Considers Expansion to Represent the Global South

On the evening of May 19, the Foreign Minister of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) held a virtual conference to address the pressing needs of their nations as representative of the developing nations of the Global South. As currently constituted, the group of five represents 40% of the world’s population and 20% of global GDP.

But the BRICS’ leaders envision an expansion of the group to become even more representative. Thus, a separate session took place the next day of the “BRICS Plus” grouping, with the Foreign Ministers of Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. They thanked China for initiating the “BRICS Plus” dialogue, noting that it will help foster cooperation and coordination among emerging markets and developing nations in a very challenging international situation.

In his address to the BRICS members, Chinese President Xi Jinping identified priority themes for what he said was a time of great “turbulence and transformation,” requiring a strengthening of cooperation and solidarity and a focus on international peace and development. He particularly emphasized the need to seek “common security” in the world through his Global Security Initiative (cf. SAS 17/22). “Bloc confrontation, Cold War mentality and power politics should be rejected in favor of building a global community of “security for all,” he underscored.

As chair of the meeting, Wang Yi called on members to resist any moves intended to divide the world. Providing more weapons to Ukraine won’t advance the cause of peace, he said; nor will sanctions resolve Europe’s security dilemma. The international community must work together to bring about peace and not throw fuel on the fire. He made the point that the United States doesn’t speak for the majority of the world, but the BRICS do speak for a large number of developing countries.

The Joint Statement issued at the end of the BRICS meeting stresses that true multilateralism must be upheld to guarantee the survival of developing nations. Thus, there must be a global governance system that best reflects the legitimate concerns of most countries, especially developing nations. It also underscores the need to uphold international law, including “the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations” and the central role of the UN in an international system “in which sovereign states cooperate to maintain peace and security”.

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