Media Statement – Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations
1. The Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations under India’s Chairmanship was held on 1 June 2021 in virtual format.
2. The Ministers reviewed progress in intra-BRICS cooperation and collaboration and exchanged views on major international and regional issues in the political, security, economic, trade, financial and sustainable development spheres.
3. Noting that 2021 marks the 15th anniversary of BRICS, they expressed support for strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation in areas of mutual interest in its three pillars – political and security, economy and finance, people-to-people and cultural exchanges.
4. The Ministers expressed grave concern over the continuing public health, societal and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic globally. They expressed condolences for lives lost and pledged solidarity with the affected families. The Ministers emphasized the value of bilateral and multilateral cooperation among States to combat the pandemic and its impacts effectively. They called for better international preparedness to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and other current and future health challenges, including through mobilization of political support, necessary financial resources, strengthening of local production, transfer of technology, equitable and affordable access to medicines, vaccines, medical products and equipment, diagnostics and therapeutics and strengthening the resolve of citizens. Furthermore, they called for timely establishment and effective operationalization of the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre and stressed the need for further work on the proposal for BRICS Integrated Early Warning System for Preventing Mass Infectious Diseases Risks consistent with International Health Regulations in line with previous Leaders’ Declarations. They supported the effort to hold a BRICS Symposium on Vaccine Cooperation.
5. The Ministers noted that the COVID-19 crisis has posed many challenges for economic and financial stability. They further emphasized the importance of delivering economic outcomes that reflect the needs and aspirations of BRICS in particular, and emerging markets and developing economies in general, especially the importance of BRICS in responding to the COVID-19 crisis through policy support and enhancing intra-BRICS and international coordination.
6. The Ministers issued a Joint Statement on Strengthening and Reforming the Multilateral System. The Ministers expressed support for continued cooperation of BRICS countries in areas of mutual interest, including through regular exchanges amongst their Permanent Missions to the United Nations and in other international fora.
7. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental – and reiterated that the Sustainable Development Goals are integrated and indivisible and must be met while leaving no one behind. The Ministers called upon the international community to foster global development partnership to address the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to accelerate the implementation of 2030 Agenda while giving special attention to the difficulties and needs of the developing countries. The Ministers urged donor countries to honour their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments and to facilitate capacity building and the transfer of technology to developing countries together with additional development resources, in line with national policy objectives of recipients.
8. The Ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to implementation of Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement adopted under the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities in the light of different national circumstances. They recognized that peaking of Greenhouse Gas Emissions will take longer for developing countries, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty. They stressed the importance of a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that addresses the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in a balanced way. They agreed to cooperate closely in the run-up to the 2021 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP26) and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Conference (CBD COP15).
9. The Ministers appreciated the work being carried out under the Economy and Finance Pillar of BRICS Cooperation. In this regard, they looked forward to comprehensive implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025 through all means for its effective realization.
10. The Ministers noted with appreciation the role of the New Development Bank (NDB) in infrastructure and sustainable development financing and the Emergency Assistance Facility to combat the pandemic. They welcomed the establishment of NDB’s Eurasian Regional Centre in Russia and looked forward to the opening of NDB’s regional office in India in 2021. They also commended the progress made towards the Bank’s membership expansion and encouraged the timely admission of new members.
11. The Ministers welcomed NDB’s attention on social infrastructure, especially at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has had a direct impact on our social infrastructure, notably on healthcare and education systems and called for investments in enhancing capacity for research, innovation and production of vaccine, in line with SDG 3.
12. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for an open, transparent, inclusive, non-discriminatory and rules-based multilateral trading system with WTO at its centre. The Ministers reiterated that it is critical that all WTO Members avoid unilateral and protectionist measures, which run counter to the spirit and rules of the WTO. They expressed their full support to the WTO’s new Director-General, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in her challenging tasks ahead. The Ministers looked forward to a successful MC12 and the early resumption of the normal operation of the Appellate Body.
13. The Ministers recognized the continued need to cooperate on disarmament and non-proliferation matters. They called for strengthening of the international disarmament machinery including the Conference on Disarmament. The Ministers underlined the imperative of dialogue to address increasing international peace and security challenges through political and diplomatic means. The Ministers welcomed, in this regard, the extension of the 2010 Russia-US Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms and acknowledged its important role in maintaining global security and stability. They confirmed the commitment to ensure prevention of an arms race in outer space and its weaponization, and the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, including through the adoption of a relevant multilateral legally binding instrument. The Ministers in this regard noted the draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects, proposed and updated by China and the Russian Federation.
14. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC). They underlined the need to comply with and strengthen the BTWC, including by adopting a legally binding Protocol to the Convention that provides for, inter alia, an efficient verification mechanism. They also reaffirmed support for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and called upon the State Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to uphold the Convention and the integrity of the CWC and engage in a constructive dialogue with a view to restoring the spirit of consensus in the OPCW.
15. The Ministers commended the finalisation of the text of the Agreement among BRICS space agencies on Cooperation on BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation, which will help address challenges related to research of global climate change, disaster management, environmental protection, prevention of food shortage and water resources scarcity, and sustainable socio-economic development. They highlighted the importance of digital and technological solutions in line with efforts to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in this ‘Decade of Action’.
16. The Ministers expressed their concern at continuing conflicts and violence in different parts of the world which impact international and regional peace and security. They reiterated that all conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means in line with international law and the UN Charter. The Ministers recognized that armed conflicts can exacerbate the COVID-19 pandemic and expressed concern that the Security Council’s call for a general and immediate cessation of hostilities was not fully heeded.