Q2/2019 - Brazilian BRICS Presidency

  • BRICS Coordination Meeting, Brasilia, 31 March 2019
  • Informal BRICS Leaders' Meeting, Osaka, 28 June 2019
  • SCO Summit, Bishkek, 14 June 2019

The first BRICS coordination meeting under the Brazilian BRICS Presidency took place in Brasilia at the end of March 10, 2019. The main topics of the 2019 presidency were agreed and a roadmap with various preparatory meetings adopted for the 2019 BRICS Summit, which is scheduled for 14 and 15 November in Brasilia. The overarching theme of the Brazilian BRICS Presidency is "Economic growth for an innovative future". One of the five priorities is the promotion of the digital economy (Enhancement of the cooperation on digital economy). Another focus is on the fight against crime (Invigoration of the cooperation on the fight against transnational crime, especially against organized crime, money laundry and drug traffic). The 2019 program does not include, however, the request for an international treaty on cyber security within the framework of the UN the BRICS states have been demanding for years.

On the margins of the G20 Summit in Osaka, the five BRICS Presidents (Jair Bolsonaro, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Cyril Ramaphosa and Narendra Modi) held an extraordinary meeting on 28 June. In the Joint Statement resulting from the meeting, the five Presidents reaffirmed their intention to continue using the BRICS format to pursue common goals[1]. The five countries oppose unilateralism and protectionism in international trade. They confirmed their support for a non-discriminatory multilateral trading system with the WTO at its center. Internet-relevant issues are addressed in two items of the 18-point Statement:

  • Paragraph 11 rejects the exploitation of the Internet for terrorist purposes. It recognises that states assume primary responsibility for security on the Internet but that private companies, too, must cooperate with governments to eliminate the ability of terrorists to abuse the Internet for their own purposes[2]. However, there is no call for a UN Convention on Cyber Security.
  • The second topic relevant to the Internet is the development of the digital economy. By intensifying their exchange of experiences, the five countries could mobilise further large unexploited resources to make maximum use of the possibilities digitalisation offers for the development of the national economies. The BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR) established under the African BRICS Presidency in 2018 is planned to play a major role in this context[3].

Closely associated with BRICS is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which was founded in 1998. The SCO has eight full members, including the three BRICS countries China, Russia and India, as well as ten official observers and dialogue partners. In 2019, Kyrgyzstan holds the rotating SCO Presidency. On 25 June 2019, the annual Summit of the SCO took place in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.

In the Bishkek Declaration the SCO countries call again for the development of an instrument under international law to combat cybercrime and terrorism within the framework of the United Nations. They refer to the resolutions on this topic passed by the 73rd UN General Assembly in December 2018[4].  

The SOC countries also intend to improve their cooperation in the digital economy. They see a great potential, especially in China’s New Silk Road initiative (Belt and Road Initiative/BRI), which also includes a digital silk road project, and want to connect this potential more closely with the Eurasian economic area, which is promoted by Russia. Digitalisation and artificial intelligence play a major role in this context[5].  

In 2020, the rotating SCO Presidency will pass over to Russia. Russia will thus host two summit conferences in 2020 because it will also assume the BRICS Presidency in that year.

Mehr zum Thema
  1. [1] Joint Statement on BRICS Leaders' Informal Meeting on the Margins of G20 Summit, Osaka, Japan, 28 June 2019, See: http://www.brics.utoronto.ca/docs/190628-osaka.html
  2. [2] Joint Statement on BRICS Leaders' Informal Meeting on the Margins of G20 Summit, Osaka, Japan, 28 June 2019: “11. We strongly condemn terrorist attacks, including against BRICS countries, in all forms and manifestations, wherever and by whom so ever committed. We urge concerted efforts and a comprehensive approach to counter terrorism under the UN auspices on a firm international legal basis. We reiterate that it is the responsibility of all states to prevent financing of terrorist networks and of terrorist actions from their territories. We reiterate our commitment to fight the exploitation of internet for terrorist purposes. While recognising that states have the leading role to ensure safety and security in the use of ICTs, we call on the technology companies to cooperate with governments, in accordance with applicable law, to eliminate the ability of terrorists to use digital platforms to encourage, recruit, facilitate or commit terrorist acts.” See: http://www.brics.utoronto.ca/docs/190628-osaka.html
  3. [3] Joint Statement on BRICS Leaders' Informal Meeting on the Margins of G20 Summit, Osaka, Japan, 28 June 2019: “17. We commend Brazil for identifying Economic Growth for an Innovative Future as the theme of the 2019 Chairship. Recognising that innovation is a key driving force behind development, we reaffirm our commitment to maximise the benefits of digitalisation and emerging technologies, including for the population of rural and remote areas. We encourage joint efforts to share good practices on internet-driven poverty alleviation and digital transformation of the industrial sector. We stress the importance of continuing BRICS scientific, technical, innovation and entrepreneurship cooperation, including the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR), iBRICS Network, the BRICS Institute of Future Networks, and Young Scientists Forum.” See: http://www.brics.utoronto.ca/docs/190628-osaka.html
  4. [4] Bishkek Declaration of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Heads of State Council, 14 June 2019: “The Member States will counter the use of information and communications technology to undermine political, economic and public security in the SCO countries, and curb propaganda of terrorism, separatism and extremism online. They oppose discriminatory measures imposed under any pretext, which impede the progress of digital economy and communications technology. They deem it necessary to work out universal rules, principles and standards of responsible behaviour in the information space, and will actively cooperate in this area in order to ensure information security in the SCO space. The Member States welcome the adoption of the resolutions “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security” and“ Countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes” by the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly and call on all UN Member States to continue cooperation to elaborate the rules of responsible behaviour of states in the information space and a universal, legally binding document to counter the use of information and communications technology for criminal purposes.” See: http://eng.sectsco.org/documents/
  5. [5] Bishkek Declaration of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Heads of State Council, 14 June 2019: “Recognising the importance of innovation and the digital economy as a key factor for medium- and long-term economic growth and global sustainable development, the Member States express their readiness to harmonise the SCO Member States’ innovation policies and to promote cooperation between the elements of the innovation ecosystem. Based on the adopted Concept of Cooperation of the SCO Members States in the Field of Digitalisation and Information Technology, the Member States intend to join efforts to implement innovative programmes and projects, as well as to promote effective cooperation in science, technology and innovation, joint research, knowledge sharing by scholars at research centres, and special competitions within the SCO in order to find new sources of social and economic growth.” See: http://eng.sectsco.org/documents/