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)[1]. 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[2].

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 security[3]and digital economy[4] 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)[5].

Mehr zum Thema
  1. [1] See: BRICS partners support Russian Chairmanship’s key economic initiatives, Moscow, 26 - 28 February 2020, in: https://eng.brics-russia2020.ru/allnews/20200229/219012/BRICS-partners-support-Russian-Chairmanships-key-economic-initiatives.html
  2. [2] See: Roundtable discussion “Consumer Protection in the Era of E-Commerce in the BRICS Countries”, Moscow, 13 March 2020: „On 13 March, Moscow hosted a roundtable discussion “Consumer Protection in the Era of E-Commerce in the BRICS Countries” held within the framework of the Russian BRICS Chairmanship in 2020. The event was organized by the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor). The meeting saw the presence of the heads and experts of the relevant ministries and line agencies from the BRICS countries, as well as representatives of the Eurasian Economic Commission, UNCTAD, OECD, and other international organizations and public associations. The experts discussed a wide range of current issues modern society is facing , , focusing on the benefits and risks of e-commerce, cross-border payments security, the prevention of fraud, effective on-line settlement of disputes, timely notification of consumers in a cross-border trade environment, and in particular the protection of consumers of digital goods and services. “These topics seem to be most relevant for consumers in BRICS countries, their importance is enshrined in the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection,” said Rospotrebnadzor Head Anna Popova. “The discussion of these issues meets the main modern challenges of the international consumer movement. “I would like to note that expert discussions take into account the real experience and their statutory regulation in BRICS countries, which will make it possible to successfully close the existing gaps and prevent collisions in the legal regulation of many matters.” The experts confirmed the importance of exchanging international best practices taking into account the legal transformations and prospects for standardizing consumer protection legislations based on international law. The roundtable discussion resulted in BRICS countries formulating proposals on promoting international consumer protection collaboration in a digital economy environment.“, in: https://eng.brics-russia2020.ru/news/20200316/319731/Roundtable-discussion-Consumer-Protection-in-the-Era-of-E-Commerce-in-the-BRICS-Countries-Moscow-13.html
  3. [3] See: Strategy for the Development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for a period until 2025, „SCO will seek to establish an effective joint mechanism of the information space security in order to prevent and counter threats to the political, economic and social security of the member states. On the basis of the intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation in the field of international information security of 2009 and other documents, the member states will strengthen cooperation in the field of Internet management, prevent the use of Internet’s “three forces of evil” for activities undermining security and stability in the region. To this end, they will improve the mechanism of cooperation in combating the use of information and communication technologies (hereinafter referred to as ICT) for terrorist purposes and in countering cyber threats to the security of SCO member states. SCO will seek adoption by the UN of the “Rules of conduct in the field of international information security” and subsequently, on this basis, work together with other members of the international community on a unified international ICT regulation and develop cooperation in this field, including professional training of relevant experts of the member states.“, in: https://eng.sco-russia2020.ru/documents/
  4. [4] Strategy for the Development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for a period until 2025, „As regards the ICT development in the region, the member states will be guided by the generally accepted Telecommunication Standards approved by the International Telecommunication Union, as well as the principles of interoperability and flexibility of telecommunications services“, in: https://eng.sco-russia2020.ru/documents/
  5. [5] The Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, 15. Juni 2011, Shanghai, in: https://eng.sco-russia2020.ru/documents/