BRICS agrees to welcome six new members

Niël Terblanché

BRICS member countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, in a landmark decision on August 24 declared the expansion of the grouping by welcoming six new countries into the fold.

Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have been invited to become full members of BRICS.

Announcing the decision at the end of the 15th BRICS summit at Johannesburg, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said the addition of new members would strengthen the bloc and increase confidence in the idea of a multipolar world order.

Meanwhile, the Current Chair of BRICS, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa presented the Johannesburg Declaration, the outcome document of the summit.

The Johannesburg II Declaration was adopted on the last day of the event, with the bloc announcing the planned expansion.

The BRICS members have solidified their commitment to collaborative global approaches in a recent joint statement. Here are the key takeaways from their declaration:

Inclusive Multilateralism

BRICS leaders expressed concern over unilateral coercive measures that run counter to the UN Charter’s principles and disproportionately affect developing nations. They urged for international organizations and multilateral platforms to be more representative of emerging markets and developing countries, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council. This reform aims to enhance democratic representation and effectiveness, enabling the Council to effectively address global challenges and support the aspirations of developing nations.

Peace and Development

With a keen focus on peace, BRICS leaders highlighted their commitment to resolving conflicts through dialogue and inclusive consultations. The leaders cited their individual positions on the Ukraine conflict, endorsing mediation and peaceful dialogue as pathways to resolution. The bloc also underscored the importance of a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue in accordance with international law, urging the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for non-proliferation, peace, and stability.

Mutually Accelerated Growth

The leaders reasserted the significance of the G20 as the premier multilateral forum for international economic and financial cooperation. They eagerly anticipated the upcoming 18th G20 Summit hosted in New Delhi under India’s G20 Presidency. Collaboration on sustainable and transitional finance, information security, financial technology, and payments remains a key focus, with plans to build upon this cooperation in relevant work streams.

Sustainable Development

In light of climate change challenges, BRICS members committed to a just and sustainable transition towards a low-carbon and low-emission economy, in alignment with the Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) principle. The leaders called for equitable transitions based on national development priorities, urging developed nations to lead by example and support developing counterparts in their transition efforts. Access to low-emission technologies and environmentally sustainable projects, along with affordable financial resources, was highlighted as crucial for addressing climate change.

Deepening People-to-People Exchanges

The leaders of the BRICS nations underscored the significance of fostering people-to-people exchanges for enhancing understanding, friendship, and collaboration among member states. They lauded the progress achieved during South Africa’s tenure as the chair in 2023, particularly in media, culture, education, sports, arts, youth, civil society, and academic interactions. Acknowledging the pivotal role of such exchanges, they emphasized their contribution to societal enrichment and economic development.

Advancing Institutional Development within the BRICS Framework

The invitation extended by South Africa, in its capacity as BRICS Chair, to other Emerging Market and Developing Countries (EMDCs) as “Friends of BRICS” was acknowledged and welcomed. This engagement includes participation in BRICS meetings below the Summit level, the BRICS-Africa Outreach, and the BRICS Plus Dialogue, held during the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg in 2023.

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