By Jaylan Boyle, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The second meeting of the BRIC member nations, concluded this week after a three-day summit in Brasilia, produced ‘little new to agree upon’. Although progress was muted in Brasilia, many international analysts and diplomats have commented on the newly cohesive and assured tone of the group’s parting statement, demanding a greater say in world governance, particularly within trade administration.
Though not part of the Goldman Sachs-named BRIC of nations, South Africa was also part of the discussions last week as a member nation of the IBSA group, which promotes greater cooperation between themselves, Brazil and India.
The purpose of the meeting was ostensibly to crystallize a common strategy and unification of purpose among the member nations of these two groups that will be put forward at the June meeting of the G20 group, the 20 largest economies in the world.
Aside from recognizing the changing face of global trade, the leaders of the BRIC countries also called again for an urgent overhaul of the world’s security organizations, including the United Nations Security Council. This keeps in line with previous demands made by the BRIC nations at the last summit, and Brazil and India, as nations of rapidly growing influence, are seen at least within the group as two countries who should be given a voice on the increasingly troubled council.
In a joint statement at the conclusion of talks, the BRIC nations outlined their intent to oversee the emergence of a “multipolar, equitable and democratic world order”, an eventuality that could worry US administrators, who have in the past viewed groups like BRIC with some reservation.
“We reiterate the importance we attach to the status of India and Brazil in international affairs, and understand and support their aspirations to play a greater role in the United Nations” the statement reads.
While many commentators have noted a new solidarity among the BRIC nations, it has been suggested that the group’s unchanged stance from last year’s Russian summit points to a collective with little in common aside from being large and rapidly developing, compiled as they were by financial analysts rather than heads of state.
Such commentators have noted that BRIC’s goals align almost seamlessly with those of China, which dominates the group both in terms of population and economic clout.
Anthony Spanakos, a Brazil scholar at New Jersey’s Montclair State University, says that the fact that the young group has not yet committed to any particularly meaningful policies should not, however, suggest a lack of cohesion, and rather that their making a statement of intent is truly important.
“Much of what is happening is consultation and norm-building, but the symbolism of joint action and leadership that is independent of the U.S. and Europe is important as well,” he said.