Civic BRICS recommends civil issues for summit agenda

Civil BRICS has begun to discuss issues that lie at the heart of the recommendations for BRICS national leaders. Source: AP

Civil BRICS has begun to discuss issues that lie at the heart of the recommendations for BRICS national leaders. Source: AP

Civic BRICS is an innovative political process to be implemented at the BRICS Summit in 2015, at Ufa. Its main objective is to ensure a constructive dialogue between representatives of civil society not only of BRICS member states, but also guest countries, on crucial human development issues; healthcare, education, culture, development, urban problems, finance and conflict settlement.

Working groups for Civic BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) have prepared initial draft documents with recommendations for each area of activity for discussion at the forthcoming Civil Society Forum in June. Viktoriya Panova, chairperson of the National Committee for BRICS Research and co-chairperson of Civic BRICS and Associate Professor at the Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs said the Civil Society Forum would first take place at the end of June 2015.

Having been initiated during Russia’s chairmanship of the organization, the Forum is entrusted to provide constructive dialogue between the authorities and civil society in BRICS countries on important social issues such as public health, education, culture, development, problems of urbanization, finance and conflict resolution.

Civil BRICS has begun to discuss issues that lie at the heart of the recommendations for BRICS national leaders, and will present them during the course of the Ufa summit on 9-10 July.

Discussion of documents

Seven working groups have been formed within the framework of the new Civil BRICS, Panova said at the Russia Today International News Agency press conference. They comprise public health, science and education, peace and security, science and trade, harmonization of inter-ethnic relations and stable development. The specialists, she said, are discussing recommendations from the working groups as part of round tables.

“The most fundamental document, which will be the outcome of our discussion process, is the recommendations to leaders at Ufa,” she said.

"The initial positioning documents are being translated into English and are being distributed to group coordinators, and by the end of the week, the position papers will be distributed among the appropriate delegates of the other four countries. We are hopeful that our overseas partners will become actively involved in discussing these documents and, by the end of the month, will give us some preliminary reports. Already, we are more or less in agreement, so by the time of the summit, we will have come to a consolidated position,” Panova said.

"We plan to have representatives from other countries that are interested in the work of BRICS, participating in the forum as observers", Panova added.

Pursue joint trade and industrial policies

Tatyana Monegen, general secretary of the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) and coordinator of the working group for economics and trade at Civil BRICS, said that experts in the group think it is necessary for participants in inter-governmental organizations to begin "to agree not to harm others’ markets but to mutually add to them within the framework of the BRICS countries".

"They have seen how they can cooperate and actively develop their trade links. It has become clear that they could collaborate in this improvement of technological process chains, intellectual property, industrial manufacturing, information technologies and the military industrial complex,” said Monegen at the press conference.

"In the industrial sphere, it is necessary to learn to talk about joint, agreed upon positions for industrial policy and trade policy. This will be the recommendation from our working group; to cooperate in the sense of developing a joint trading and industrial policy", she said.

Develop links among youth of BRICS nations

Yuri Dubinin, professor at Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs, attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and coordinator for the working group on education for Civil BRICS, believes that “BRICS nations could do much, using each of their competitive advantages to make these advantages the achievement of the entire society of these five nations".

“It seems appropriate and possible to reach some jointly agreed criteria for educational adequacy at every level of education. To look at the training of skilled professionals not at the level of universities, but to fill appropriate jobs in the BRICS member countries. It is advisable to connect to the business community of the BRICS countries, and it would be interesting to try to promote inter-cultural, inter-civilization dialogue”, said Dubinin.

"The leaders of the BRICS countries are obliged to ensure the most favourable conditions for young people to communicate, for school children, students, young scientists, so that these contacts are permanent, and combined with those research areas that scientific organizations are studying in each of the BRICS countries," said Dubinin.

First published in Russian by RIA Novosti.

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