For BRICS to stay as a relevant global organisation, it needs to make better use of its organisational strength and structure. For BRICS to maintain its relevance, it needs to harden its stance on tackling critical situations like the pandemic, that is presently causing enormous global problem, writes Valdai Club expert Nivedita Das Kundu.
Global organizations are fundamentally essential for diplomacy. Global organizations can find common solutions to complex problems. The role of global organizations is to help in setting global agenda, facilitate cooperation and coordinate among the member nations. Global organisations try to share responses and challenges between the member states. However, today in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain global organisations that were created decades ago have come under harsh criticism for failing to provide coherent response caused due to COVID-19. In recent time, the COVID-19 pandemic that is harming the world population by bringing the public health into crisis along with the possibility of economic crisis across the nations. Global organisation need to reassess the situation on the present threats to reconsider how they can be tackled. Today, many global organisations are not capable of taking decisions in a comprehensive manner and the negotiations between the member nations takes up longer time and the question of cost, political interest and range of other issues comes up and makes it hard to produce any concreate decision. The trouble with these global organisations coming up in harmonising the interest between the member nations, creating difficulty to go forward with the cooperation and collaboration.
The BRICS countries is a grouping acronym that refers to the countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa. The BRICS groups demonstrates how geographically distant countries with different social and economic challenges can become partners and generate a convergence that changes the axis of international politics. However, in case of BRICS, the response on COVID-19 has not been good. Even convening the meeting between the member states during the pandemic through video was difficult and to produce any concrete decision on fight against COVID-19 could not happen. Most of the BRICS Nations has taken actions to fight COVID-19 pandemic of its own. Since BRICS is an important global group, which was supposed to be the intersection of South-South cooperation, the lack of initiative to tackle the important issue like present COVID-19 pandemic, caused a concern. BRICS seems to have diverted from its path of achieving the intended goal of cooperation between the member nations. For BRICS to stay as a relevant global organisation, it needs to make better use of its organisational strength and structure. For BRICS to maintain its relevance, it needs to harden its stance on tackling critical situations like the pandemic, that is presently causing enormous global problem.
BRICS was formed around 12 years back looking into the potential of the group as the intersection for South-South cooperation, provided an alternative to the existing security paradigm. BRICS aim was to take this cooperation forward on the basis of openness, solidarity, mutual understanding and trust and for promoting peace, security and development in a multi-polar, inter-dependent and increasingly complex, globalizing world. The BRICS grouping aims to remain engaged with the BRICS community, supporting the ideas when former Goldman Sachs economist Jim ONeil came up with the concept of BRIC in 2001. South Africa officially acceded to BRICS in 2011, during a summit in the city of Sanya, China. The 11th BRICS summit in Brazil offered a good opportunity to assess the journey of BRICS in its first decade and the 12th BRICS summit in 2020, will be hosted in St. Petersburg, Russia. However, global organization like BRICS needs to move forward and make itself ready for the present environment and tackle the present challenges than what it was, when formed decades back. In all the BRICS nations health inequity has become a prominent factor as there is a huge population in some BRICS nations who all lives below poverty line. Although overall life expectancy has improved in BRICS nations, noncommunicable diseases have increased significantly. Also there has been significant increase in injuries linked to road accidents, as well as increase in the diseases associated with air and water pollution. Cooperation within the BRICS has the potential to bring global changes in health sector and make a positive contribution to the world population. However, it will be important to strengthen the cooperation and their ability to move beyond the declarations and make them into a concrete health policy actions. BRICS should work for achieving universal health coverage for their citizens and that should include the expanded vaccine coverage too. It is very important to address the health concerns, otherwise, in the coming time the health inequity will have serious consequences for BRICS Nations.
Global organization like BRICS have a role to play during COVID-19 pandemic. BRICS member states should expand medical cooperation and unite in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Russia and India being close strategic partners and members of G20, SCO and BRICS have been closely coordinating with each other and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russias President Vladimir Putin had spoken to each other on March 25 and discussed the ongoing global crisis. It is important to look into the system of global organisations internally and revise as per the requirement. In recent times, even the notion of security has changed, BRICS should not only consider the economic security factors, but it is also important to look into health security or pandemic security matters, as these are all significant security aspects. As a global organization BRICS should also consider the security concerns that are not conventional, but needs to look into these matters from the perspective of the 21st century compatibility. If the global organisation like BRICS has to be 21st century compatible, then there has to be adequate coordination among the member nations. Today, the nature of challenges has changed from the traditional definition. Therefore, global organisations needs to adjust to these new constrains. When Cold War ended there was an attempt to bring certain countries together through global organization and groupings and that worked well. Similarly, today, the world is changing and there is a need to look into things practically rather than sticking with the pre-defined and pre-determined notions.
Reference: Inputs taken from conference proceedings, government reports and internet sources.