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BRICS' best is yet to come

Updated: 2011-04-18 08:04
By Rong Ying ( China Daily)

Emerging economies seek more balanced international system and share a vision for fairer global governance and common growth

The recently concluded BRICS summit in Sanya, Hainan province, has once again highlighted the importance of emerging economies in the transformation of the international political and economic order.

The meeting, which brought together the five fastest growing economies, resulted in a statement elaborating their vision for common development and shared prosperity and put forward many new initiatives for global economic governance. With the participation of South Africa, the largest economy in Africa, the summit also added new geopolitical significance.

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International opinion has varied in response to BRICS. Some acclaim it as the advent of a multi-polarity era and say this forward-looking group will have far-reaching consequences, not just for the five countries themselves, but also for the peaceful and orderly transition to a more just and democratic world.

Others are concerned about the challenges it may pose to the West-dominated world and argue that as a non-Western grouping, BRICS may push for its own agenda at the expense of the West.

For still others, BRICS is merely an ad hoc group, the countries are not really united, and it is only China that makes it possible. They argue that BRICS mainly serves China's interests as it seeks to change the West-dominated global system through multilateral diplomacy.

All these views miss the essential truth: BRICS is a manifestation of developing countries rising as a group. As a major driving force for global economic recovery in the post-crisis era, it is only natural for the BRICS states to seek a bigger say and more representation for themselves and for other developing countries on issues that have a bearing on world peace and development. Coordination and cooperation among the BRICS countries offers the promise of building a favorable external environment that helps and complements their own development and for developing countries as a whole.

BRICS is becoming a defining force shaping the new international political and economic order, not only because of the member countries' impressive growth rates in the past, but also because of their great potential in the decades to come. They have all formulated long-term development strategies that require a more just and fair international political and economic governance system. But they do not intend to establish a new system to replace the current one, one in which they all have a stake. What they are looking for is to coordinate efforts to make the emerging international system more balanced, equitable and sustainable.

The BRICS nations share a vision for inclusive growth and prosperity in the world, and serve as a bridge for South-North dialogue. Advocating a non-confrontational approach for dialogue and cooperation, BRICS's vision, if put into practice, will make it increasingly influential in many global issues, such as climate change, environmental protection, food security and energy security.

BRICS also constitutes a new model of global economic cooperation. It has a broad vision for international economic cooperation and interaction. It undertakes to work with the UN, G20 and other multilateral cooperative mechanisms by playing a constructive role in addressing the common challenges facing the world. The BRICS countries pledge to strengthen their coordination for common development and shared prosperity and to formulate a result-oriented action plan by expanding and deepening practical cooperation among themselves.

As a host, China has played an important role in making this possible. Chinese President Hu Jintao said at the summit and also at the ensuing Boao Forum, China will make great efforts to participate in global economic governance and push for the reform of the global economic and financial systems. China also undertakes to work with the other BRICS states and developing countries and the world at large to share development opportunities.

The Sanya BRICS summit was a milestone, which showed that for the first time in modern history, developing countries, and those five emerging economies in particular, are thinking big and doing big.

The author is a senior research fellow at China Institute of International Studies.