The ninth BRICS Summit was held at Xiamen International Conference Center on September 4, 2017,. It was attended by the heads of state or heads of government of the five member states Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. President Xi Jinping chaired the summit. President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, President Michel Temer of Brazil, President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India were present. The summit was hosted by China second time after the 2011 summit. It was centered on the theme of ‘Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future’. A week ahead of the summit, New Delhi and Beijing agreed to withdraw their respective troops from Doklam, ending the impasse that lasted over two months. Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chinese headXi for the second time in three months, after last time the two leaders in Astana, Kazakhstan, at a BRICS an informal meet of BRICS leaders.
BRICS Leaders Xiamen Declaration
Here is a summary of the Xiamen declaration:
- The Leaders resolved to endeavor to build on earlier achievements of BRICS with a shared vision for future development of BRICS and they also discussed international and regional issues of common concern and adopted the Xiamen Declaration by consensus.
- They reiterated that it was the overarching objective and our desire for peace, security, development and cooperation which brought BRICS together 10 years ago. BRICS countries have since traversed a remarkable journey together on their respective development paths tailored to their national circumstances, devoted to growing their economies and improving people’s livelihoods.
- Cooperation since 2006 has fostered the BRICS spirit featuring mutual respect and understanding, equality, solidarity, openness, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation, which is our valuable asset and an inexhaustible source of strength for BRICS cooperation. BRICS have worked together for mutually beneficial outcomes and common development, constantly deepening BRICS practical cooperation which benefits the world at large.
- The text mentioned many fruitful results of BRICS cooperation, including establishing the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), formulating the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, strengthening political and security cooperation including through Meetings of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues and Foreign Ministers Meetings, and deepening the traditional ties of friendship amongst our peoples.
- The text recalled BRICS Summits in Ufa and Goa, and resolved to work together to further enhance BRICS strategic partnership for the welfare of our peoples. The text reiterated commitment of BRICS members to build upon the outcomes and consensus of their previous Summits with unwavering conviction, so as to usher in the second golden decade of BRICS cooperation and solidarity.
- The BRICS members resolved to energize their practical cooperation to boost development of BRICS countries by inter alia, promoting exchanges of good practices and experiences on development, and facilitate market inter-linkages as well as infrastructure and financial integration to achieve interconnected development.
- The text resolved to enhance communication and coordination in improving global economic governance to foster a more just and equitable international economic order. BRICS members decided to work towards enhancement of the voice and representation of BRICS countries and EMDCs in global economic governance and promote an open, inclusive and balanced economic globalization, thus contributing towards development of EMDCs and providing strong impetus to redressing North-South development imbalances and promoting global growth.
- BRICS members resolved to emphasize fairness and justice to safeguard international and regional peace and stability. They said in the text that they would stand firm in upholding a fair and equitable international order based on the central role of the United Nations, the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and respect for international law, promoting democracy and the rule of law in international relations, and making joint efforts to address common traditional and non-traditional security challenges, so as to build a brighter shared future for the global community.
- BRICS members expressed their desire and determination to embrace cultural diversity and promote people-to-people exchanges to garner more popular support for BRICS cooperation through deepened traditional friendships.
- BRICS members decided to expand people-to-people exchanges in all dimensions, encourage all fabrics of the society to participate in BRICS cooperation, promote mutual learning between our cultures and civilizations, enhance communication and mutual understanding among their peoples and deepen traditional friendships, thus making BRICS partnership closer to our people’s hearts.
Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries
On September 5, 2017, President Xi Jinping chaired the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries at Xiamen International Conference Center and delivered an important speech, stressing that all parties need to work more closely to build an open world economy, implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, seize the historic opportunities of world economic restructuring, build extensive development partnerships, and blaze a new path to development that is fair, open, comprehensive and innovative, so as to make greater contribution to world economic growth.
Leaders of BRICS countries including President Michel Temer of Brazil, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa as well as state leaders of countries invited for the Dialogue including President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, President Alpha Condt of Guinea, President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand attended the Dialogue. Centering on the theme of Strengthening Mutually-Beneficial Cooperation for Common Development and taking the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as the mainline, leaders of all countries exchanged in-depth views on implementing the Agenda for Sustainable Development and building extensive development partnerships, and jointly discussed the major plans for international development cooperation and South-South cooperation, reaching important consensus.
Xi Jinping pointed out that since we entered the 21st century, the collective rise of emerging market and developing countries has become an irreversible trend of our times. Given the new circumstances, emerging market and developing countries need to pull together and work hand in hand more confidently to foster a favorable environment for greater development, and make bigger contribution to global growth.
Among many suggestions he gave in his speech the important ones included:
Call for need to work more closely to build an open world economy- He urged the leaders of the BRICS to support the multilateral trading regime and rebalance economic globalization to make it more inclusive and equitable. He said, “We need to strengthen coordination on positions, work toward a positive outcome at the upcoming 11th WTO Ministerial Conference, make progress on the remaining items of the Doha Development Round, and provide direction to the multilateral trading regime.” He added that there is need to promote greater representation and voice of emerging market and developing countries in global economic governance, and foster an international economic order that is fairer and more equitable.
The need to work more closely to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development- He said that there is need to implement our national development strategies in the context of the Sustainable Development Agenda and in light of our respective national conditions. This will help BRICS and the countries of the world find a path of sustainable development featuring coordinated economic, social and ecological progress. He also said that BRICS need to better leverage the role of the United Nations, and accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda.
The need to work more closely to seize the historic opportunities of world economic restructuring- He asserted that BRICS must take bold steps of innovation and reform, press ahead with economic structural adjustment, and invigorate domestic drivers for growth. At the same time, BRICS must formulate their social policy in a way that meets people’s basic needs and work all out to ensure a better life for their people. H e said “We need to enhance the alignment of our development strategies, and strengthen cooperation in best practices sharing and capacity-building as a way to support each other’s pursuit of economic development.”
South South cooperation– Xi Jinping emphasized on need to work more closely to build extensive development partnerships. He rerred to a Chinese saying that says, “A single flower does not herald spring; a single wild goose cannot make a formation.” He asserted that by deepening practical cooperation and tapping into complementarity, BRICS can multiply the impact. He added that BRICS need to make good use of BRICS, G77 and other similar mechanisms, broaden South-South cooperation on a larger scale, and jointly address global challenges. To achieve all this he asserted that BRICS also need to forge chains of interconnected development and seek strength through unity. The purpose of holding the Dialogue of emerging market and developing countries by China is to foster a network of partnerships and to build a community of common development and shared future.
Xi Jinping noted that China attaches great importance to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and has attained early harvests on economic, social, environmental and many other fronts. In order to promote international development cooperation, China will actively help fellow developing countries in implementing the Sustainable Development Agenda. China will provide 500 million US dollars to the Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation to help fellow developing countries tackle famine, refugee, climate change, public health and other challenges. China will enhance development experience-sharing and capacity-building cooperation with other countries.
Xi Jinping pointed out that this May, China successfully held the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The philosophy and vision of the Belt and Road Initiative have much in common with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the two can very well complement and reinforce each other. The Belt and Road is as much a path of cooperation as one of hope and mutual benefit.
Xi Jinping stressed that emerging market and developing countries represent the future of world development. It is our duty to promote international development cooperation and implement the Sustainable Development Agenda. Let us work together to blaze a new path to development that is fair, open, comprehensive and innovative.
Afterwards, leaders of other BRICS countries and leaders of countries invited for the Dialogue delivered speeches respectively. Commending the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries held by China as the rotating presidency of BRICS, all leaders supported to build extensive development partnerships, and hoped to continue to conduct this kind of dialogue, in a bid to advance South-South cooperation and international development cooperation. All parties highly spoke of the positive significance of the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Narendra Modi’s Speech
The PM of India said in the BRICS Summit that the Goods and Services Tax was “India’s biggest economic reform ever.” He further told the gathering that programs like Digital India, Start-Up India and Make in India are changing economic landscape of India. He asserted that these programs were helping turn India into a knowledge based- skill supported- technology driven society. Addressing the plenary session of the Brics Summit in China’s Xiamen city, Modi said trade and economy were the foundations of the cooperation among Brics -Brazil-Russia- India-China-South Africa. He suggested some steps that can be taken to upgrade mutual cooperation. PM Modi also thanked President Xi again for his warm reception and the excellent organisation of this Summit. Key highlights of Indian PM’s speech in BRICS is as follows:
- Prime Minister Modi said that while trade and economy have been the foundation of our cooperation, our endeavours today touch diverse areas of technology, tradition, culture, agriculture, environment, energy, sports, and ICT.
- He appreciated that the New Development Bank has started disbursing loans in pursuit of its mandate to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development in BRICS countries. At the same time, our Central Banks have taken steps to make the Contingent Reserve Arrangement fully operational. These are milestones of progress we can build upon.
- He asserted that it is important that our people remain at the centre of our journey and expressed happiness that China has taken forward the people-to-people thrust of our exchanges from last year. Such inter-mingling will consolidate our links and deepen our understanding.
- He said that India is in mission-mode to eradicate poverty; to ensure health, sanitation, skills, food security, gender equality, energy, education and innovation. National programmes of Clean Ganga, Renewable Energy, Digital India, Smart Cities, Housing for All and Skill India are laying the basis for clean, green and inclusive development. They are also tapping the creative energy of our 800 million youth.
- The Prime Minister also said that India’s women’s empowerment programmes are productivity multipliers that mainstream women in nation building.
- He also said that India has also stepped up the fight against black money and corruption. Moving forward, using the springboard of our national experiences, BRICS countries can deepen partnership for win-win results.
- He urged for finalization of the roadmap for its creation of BRICS rating agency at the earliest.At present an Expert Group has been studying the viability of such an agency.
- He also urged the BRICS leaders to strengthen their Central Banks further in terms of their capabilities and promote co-operation between the Contingent Reserve Arrangement and the IMF.
- The Prime Minister of India also emphasized on, affordable, reliable, and sustainable access to energy and described it as crucial for the development of BRICS. He added that climate resilient development calls upon BRICS to utilise all available resource streams. Renewable energy is particularly important on multiple counts. Recognizing this, India, together with France, launched a major international initiative – the International Solar Alliance (ISA) – in November 2015. It will bring together a coalition of 121 countries for mutual gains through enhanced solar energy utilisation. BRICS countries can work closely with ISA to strengthen the solar energy agenda.
- He said that the five members of BRICS have complementary skills and strengths to promote use of renewable and solar energy. The NDB can also establish an effective link with ISA to support such cooperation. He expressed his desire to see more clean energy funding, particularly in solar energy, from the NDB.
- He emphasized on the need to mainstream the youth of BRICS in their joint initiatives as far as possible. Scaled up cooperation in skill development and exchange of best practices will be a valuable instrument.
- He mentioned that in the Goa Summit last year BRICS had exchanged thoughts on smart-cities, urbanization, and disaster-management in the context of cooperation between our cities. We need to further accelerate this track.
- He emphasized on the need and role of Technology and innovation as the foundations of the next generation of global growth and transformation. India has also found that technology and digital resources are powerful tools in fighting poverty and corruption.
- A strong BRICS partnership on innovation and digital economy can help spur growth, promote transparency and support the Sustainable Development Goals. I would suggest considering a collaborative pilot project under the BRICS framework, including private entrepreneurship.
- Initially, India would be happy to work towards more focused capacity building engagement between BRICS and African countries in areas of skills, health, infrastructure, manufacturing and connectivity.
- Praising BRICS for contributing to growth and wielding influence in many other development areas in the last decade, he emphasized that the next decade is crucial. In an environment where the world seeks stability, sustainable development and prosperity, BRICS leadership will be crucial in driving this transformation. If BRICS can set the agenda in these areas, the world will call this its Golden Decade.