BRICS Joint Statement on Strengthening and Reforming the Multilateral System
1. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations 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 on 1 June 2021 in via Video Conferencing. On the landmark occasion of the 15th anniversary of BRICS, the Ministers espoused their shared values of peace, freedom and rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy as well as a more fair, just, inclusive, equitable and representative multipolar international system, based on international law and the UN Charter, in particular sovereign equality of all States, respect for their territorial integrity and mutual respect for interests and concerns of all.
2. The Ministers noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has, over the past year and a half, manifested itself as one of the most serious global challenges in recent history, wreaking immeasurable political, economic and social damage, and thereby reminding us that in an intertwined world, truly effective and representative multilateralism is no longer an abstract ideal to be evoked in matters of war and peace alone, but an essential tool for ensuring successful governance of matters of everyday life and promoting well-being of people and a sustainable future for the planet. The Ministers reaffirmed that only together could the international community build resilience against future pandemics and other global challenges.
3. The Ministers agreed that the 15th anniversary of BRICS, following soon after the 75th anniversary of the creation of the United Nations and the end of the Second World War in 2020, and the unprecedented fury of the pandemic provide important context for joint efforts aimed at strengthening and reforming the multilateral system to make it more resilient, efficient, effective, transparent and representative.
4. The Ministers reiterated their commitment to multilateralism through upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations as its indispensable cornerstone, and to the central role of the United Nations in an international system in which sovereign States cooperate to maintain peace and security, advance sustainable development, ensure the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all with the aim to build a brighter shared future for the international community based on mutually beneficial cooperation. They reaffirmed the principles of non-intervention in the internal affairs of States and the resolution of international disputes by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law as well as the inadmissibility of the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations. They stressed further the imperative of refraining from any coercive measures not based on international law and the UN Charter.
5. The Ministers reaffirmed the sole authority of the UN Security Council for imposing sanctions and called for further consolidation and strengthening of the working methods of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees to ensure their effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency.
6. The Ministers reaffirmed that multilateralism should promote international law, democracy, equity and justice, mutual respect, right to development and non-interference in internal affairs of any country without double standards.
7. The Ministers acknowledged the many achievements of the UN and its associated architecture. They noted, however, that its continued success and relevance would be determined by its ability to adapt to the realities of today’s world, which is starkly different from what it was at the time of its creation more than 75 years ago. They stressed their commitment to the important role of international organizations and to improve their efficacy and working methods, as well as to improving the system of global governance, and agreed to promote a more agile, effective, representative and accountable system that can deliver better in the field, address global challenges and better serve the interests of Member States.
8. The Ministers acknowledged that the current interconnected international challenges should be addressed through reinvigorated and reformed multilateral system, especially of the UN and its principal organs, and other multilateral institutions such as International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO), with a view to enhancing its capacity to effectively address the diverse challenges of our time and to adapt them to twenty-first century realities.
9. The Ministers agreed that the task of Strengthening and Reforming the Multilateral System encompasses, inter alia, the following:
i. It should make instruments of global governance more inclusive, representative and participatory to facilitate greater and more meaningful participation of developing and least developed countries, especially Africa, in global decision-making processes and structures and make it better attuned to contemporary realities.
ii. It should be based on inclusive consultation and collaboration for the benefit of all, while respecting sovereign independence, equality, mutual legitimate interests and concerns to make the multilateral organizations more responsive, effective, transparent and credible.
iii. It should make multilateral organizations more responsive, effective, transparent, democratic, objective, action-oriented, solution-oriented and credible, so as to promote cooperation in building international relations based on the norms and principles of international law, and the spirit of mutual respect, justice, equality, mutual beneficial cooperation and realities of the contemporary world.
iv. It should use innovative and inclusive solutions, including digital and technological tools to promote sustainable development and facilitate affordable and equitable access to global public goods for all.
v. It should strengthen capacities of individual States and international organizations to better respond to new and emerging, traditional and non-traditional challenges, including those emanating from terrorism, money laundering, cyber-realm, infodemics and fake news.
vi. It should promote international and regional peace and security, social and economic development, and preserve nature’s balance with people-centered international cooperation at its core.
10. The Ministers recalled the UNGA Resolution 75/1 and reiterated the call for reforms of the principal organs of the United Nations. They recommitted to instill new life in the discussions on reform of the UN Security Council and continue the work to revitalize the General Assembly and strengthen the Economic and Social Council. They took note with satisfaction of the 2020 Review of the Peacebuilding architecture and agreed to reinforce their coordination in the Peacebuilding Commission.
11. The Ministers recalled the 2005 World Summit Outcome document and reaffirmed 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 reiterated the importance they attach to the status and role of Brazil, India and South Africa in international affairs and supported their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN.
12. The Ministers also commended India and South Africa for their respective present and recent terms served in the UN Security Council. They also recognized the candidacy of Brazil as a UN Security Council member for the 2022-2023 biennium.
13. The Ministers emphasized the urgency of revitalization of the UN General Assembly so as to enhance its role and authority in accordance with the UN Charter, and in this regard called for identification of best practices and working methods across its various Committees for implementation of its Resolutions.
14. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen ECOSOC’s role in policy guidance, oversight and coordination. They called for the Council to continue addressing the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental - in a balanced and integrated manner, recognizing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda as a comprehensive, indivisible, far-reaching and people-centered set of universal and transformative targets adopted to deal with the challenges of the decade ahead, including through regional development initiatives. The Ministers agreed that the United Nations needs to make development central to the global macro policy framework.