Q1/2020 - Russian BRICS Presidency
BRICS Summit, St. Petersburg, 21 – 23 July 2020
The preparations for the 12th Summit of the five BRICS countries (21 to 23 July 2020 in St. Petersburg) were overshadowed by the Corona crisis, too. By the end of March 2020, it had not yet been decided whether the Summit was going to be cancelled, postponed or held in form of a virtual meeting. As of mid-March 2020, all further preparatory meetings were cancelled or performed by video conferencing. This also applied to the planned expert seminar on Internet abuse and the role of digital forensics in the fight against terrorism, which was scheduled for 26 and 27 March 2020
BRICS Expert Meetings, Moscow, February & March 2020
In-person meetings were held, however, by the BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues, which met for 23rd time in Moscow on 26 to 28 February, and by BRICS experts, who met for a BRICS Expert Conference on consumer protection in the era of e-commerce on13 March 2020 in Moscow.
At the meeting of the BRICS Contact Group (26 – 28 February in Moscow), a policy paper drafted by Russia was presented, which contains key issues and guidelines for the development of an economic partnership among the BRICS countries by 2025 (Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership by 2025). The document also includes a paragraph on digital transformation. But the wording was not published. The Group further discussed a coordinated approach of the five BRICS countries with regard to the preparations of the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which is scheduled in July 2020 in Nursultan/Kazakhstan.
Issues of discussion at the roundtable on consumer protection in the era of e-commerce (13 March in Moscow) included the risks and benefits of cross-border payment transactions in e-commerce and the prevention of fraud in online trade. There was no joint closing statement. However, it was determined to intensify the exchange of experiences with national e-commerce legislation.
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
In 2020, Russia also holds the presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which is closely related to BRICS. As a result of this dual presidency, BRICS and SCO Summits were held in parallel for the first time (21 to 23 July 2020 in St. Petersburg). But the Corona crisis has also disrupted the timetable of the SCO. Within the framework of the preparations of the 2020 SCO Summit, Russia reactivated the policy paper “Strategy for the Development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization for a period until 2025”, which had already been adopted in 2015 at the SCO Summit in UFA under the 2015 Russian SCO Presidency, but had not played a major role since then. However, it contains statements on both cyber securityand digital economy that continue to be relevant still today. This applies in particular to the management of the Internet within the sphere of the UN, the strengthening of ITU, the support of the Chinese initiative for a digital silk road and the fight against the three evils on the Internet: terrorism, extremism and separatism. Since 2001, there has been a special multilateral SCO agreement (Shanghai Convention) to combat the three evils; it was signed by six states (China, Russia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan und Uzbekistan).