By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Representatives of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are meeting in Brasília this week to discuss issues related to their countries’ population and create a joint agenda to face problems such as maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, rural to urban migration and urbanization, aging population and gender equality. Together these five countries account for a population of approximately 2.9 billion people.
“The objective is to trace the main priorities,” said Brazil’s former Minister for Strategic Affairs, Marcelo Neri, during the opening ceremony of the II BRICS Seminar of Officials and Experts on Population Matters. According to Neri the population-rich BRICS have to start now to deal with some problems which are becoming a global trend, such as an aging population, and some which are more critical in countries such as India and China, like rural-urban migration.
For Carlos Cuenca, division chief for social issues at the Itamaraty (Foreign Relations Ministry) the meeting is a step towards putting social problems on the BRICS agenda, alongside economic and financial issues.
“The message which is passed along [with this meeting] is that the issue of population and development is important and needs to be addressed,” he said during the opening session. The group of countries dubbed the BRICS are important emerging powers and responsible for nearly 25 percent of the world’s GDP.
According to the Itamaraty at the end of the event, a joint agenda focusing on actions related to population and development for the period 2015-2020 will signed by the BRICS representatives.