At the VII BRICS Summit, held in Ufa, Russia, on July 9, 2015, BRICS reaffirmed its commitment to promoting an international order based on “mutually beneficial cooperation” among nations. It affirmed the principle of South-South cooperation along with North-South cooperation: “We are committed to further strengthening and supporting South-South cooperation, while stressing that South-South cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a complement to North-South cooperation, which remains the main channel of international development cooperation.” It expressed its “intention to contribute to safeguarding a fair and equitable international order.”
The Final Declaration of the Summit, known as the Ufa Declaration 2015, also reaffirmed the commitment of BRICS to the United Nations, as an organization of universal membership that has a central role to play in global affairs. It called for the democratic reform of the United Nations, including changes in Security Council membership, in order to make it more representative.
The Declaration emphasized the importance of principles of international law that are expressed in the United Nations Charter with respect to the sovereignty and equality of all nations. “We emphasize the central importance of the principles of international law enshrined in the UN Charter, particularly the political independence, territorial integrity and sovereign equality of states, non-interference in internal affairs of other states and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
The Ufa Declaration called upon the nations of the world to respect international law and to discard the double standards that place the interests of some countries over others. It condemned “unilateral military interventions and economic sanctions in violation of international law and universally recognized norms of international relations.”
The Declaration rejected the political manipulation of human rights through a distorted emphasis on civil and political rights: “We will continue to treat all human rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, as well as the right to development – on the same footing and to give them equal attention. We will take every effort to bolster constructive and non-politicized human rights dialogue at all relevant international fora, including the United Nations.”
The BRICS Declaration expressed its preoccupation with the persistent risks to the global economy, including high public debt, unemployment, poverty, and inequality. It expressed concern about “potential spillover effects from the unconventional monetary policies of the advanced economies.”
The Ufa Declaration affirmed its satisfaction with the formation of a New Development Bank by BRICS (see “The BRICS Bank of Development” 7/30/2014), which “shall serve as a powerful instrument for financing infrastructure investment and sustainable development projects in the BRICS and other developing countries and emerging market economies and for enhancing economic cooperation between our countries.”
The Declaration called for reform of the IMF, revising quotas and voting power in favor of countries in development. It expressed its disappointment with the failure of the United States to ratify reforms that were proposed in 2010.
The Declaration called for debt restructuring. It expressed concern for the unstable financial system and price volatility in global commodity markets. It called for development of the real sector of the economy, noting that industrial development had been central to the growth of the BRICS economies in recent years.
Ufa Declaration 2015 affirmed its support for the post-2015 development agenda, pending before the United Nations, which will guide international development cooperation in the next 15 years. “We reaffirm our commitment to the ambitious post-2015 development agenda. . . . We reiterate that the post-2015 development agenda should be built on the foundation laid by the Millennium Development Goals. . . . A post-2015 development agenda should furthermore reinforce the international community's commitment to eradicate poverty; achieve sustained, equitable and inclusive economic growth and sustainable development; and fully comply with all principles of the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio in 1992.”
The Declaration maintains that the eradication of poverty is necessary for the attainment of sustainable development. “We consider eradication of poverty as an indispensable requirement for and overarching objective towards the attainment of sustainable development, and stress the need for a coherent approach to attain inclusive and balanced integration of economic, social and environmental components of sustainable development.”
The Ufa Declaration condemns terrorism in all of its forms. “We reiterate our strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stress that there can be no justification, whatsoever, for any acts of terrorism, whether based upon ideological, religious, political, racial, ethnic, or any other justification.” It insisted that responses to terrorism should be in accordance with international law, and it called upon all governments to “resist political approaches and selective application.”
The Declaration condemns mass electronic surveillance. “We reiterate our condemnation of mass electronic surveillance and data collection of individuals all over the world, as well as violation of the sovereignty of States and of human rights, in particular, the right to privacy.”
With respect to the exploration of outer space, the Declaration state that “outer space shall be free for peaceful exploration and use by all States on a basis of equality in accordance with international law, and the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development.”
The Declaration also expressed the position of the BRICS nations with respect to Syria, Palestine, the nuclear energy program of Iran, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Libya, South Sudan, Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and the Central African Republic.
The nations of BRICS are seeking to play a leading role in the development of a more democratic world-system that would be based on universal human values (see “Universal human values” 4/16/2014) rather than neocolonial dominations. The progressive and socialist governments of the Third World are looking to reduce their structural dependency on the neocolonial European powers and to expand economic, commercial and cultural interchange with the BRICS, in their quest for a more just, democratic and sustainable world-system.
The full text of the Ufa Declaration can be found at VII BRICS Summit: 2015 Ufa Declaration.
Key words: BRICS, South-South cooperation, Ufi Declaration 2015