Media Statement

22 September 2022

Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Relations on the margins of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, 22 September 2022

1. The BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Relations held their annual meeting on the margins of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77) on 22 September 2022, chaired by South Africa in its capacity as the incoming BRICS Chair for 2023.

2. The Ministers exchanged views on major global and regional issues on the United Nations (UN) agenda in the political, security, economic, financial and sustainable development spheres, as well as on intra-BRICS activities. The Ministers discussed the possibilities for mutual support of their initiatives at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). They expressed support for continued cooperation of BRICS members in areas of mutual interest, including through regular exchanges amongst their Permanent Missions to the UN.

3. The Ministers acknowledged the annual UNGA resolution on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

4. The Ministers reiterated their commitment to multilateralism through upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter as its indispensable cornerstone, and to the central role of the UN in an international system in which sovereign states cooperate to maintain peace and security, advance sustainable development, ensure the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.

5. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening and reforming the multilateral system, especially of the UN and its principal organs, in order to make the institutions and instruments of global governance more inclusive, representative, participatory, reinvigorated and democratic and to facilitate greater and more meaningful participation of developing and least developed countries, especially in Africa, in global decision-making processes and structures and make it better attuned to contemporary realities.

6. The Ministers also emphasised the importance to ensure inclusive and effective work of the global governance system and the role in this regard of the G20 as a premier multilateral forum in the field of economic cooperation that comprises major developed and developing countries on an equal and mutually beneficial footing. In this context, they expressed their firm view that the G20 should continue to function in a productive manner, focusing on the delivery of concrete outcomes, taking decisions by consensus. They commended the incumbent Indonesian Presidency in its effective steering of this platform and committed themselves to a constructive contribution towards the success of the upcoming G20 Bali Summit on 15-16 November 2022.

7. The Ministers appreciated the role of India and Brazil as members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 respectively. The presence of four BRICS countries in the UNSC provides an opportunity to further enhance the weight of our dialogue on issue of international peace and security and for continued cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

8. The Ministers recalled the 2005 World Summit Outcome document and reaffirmed the need for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges. China and Russia reiterated the importance they attach to the status and role of Brazil, India and South Africa in international affairs and supported their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN.

9. The Ministers stressed their commitment to the important role of international organisations and to improve their efficacy and working methods, as well as to improving the system of global governance, and agreed to promote a more agile, effective, representative and accountable system that can deliver better in the field, address global challenges and better serve the interests of all Member States.

10. The Ministers called for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its three dimensions - economic, social and environmental - in a balanced and integrated manner by mobilising the means required to implement the 2030 Agenda.

11. The Ministers welcomed the Transforming Education Summit convened by the UN Secretary-General from 16-19 September 2022. They reaffirmed that the BRICS countries are committed to implementing the UN Education 2030 Agenda, promoting education accessibility and equity, accelerating the development of quality education and training, encouraging exchanges among the youths, strengthening the cultivation of knowledge on sustainable development, and providing BRICS contributions for global governance.

12. The Ministers reiterated that the objectives, principles and provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in the light of different national circumstances, must be honoured. They reaffirmed their national and joint efforts to promote implementation of the Paris Agreement and, in that regard, stressed the importance of the fulfilment, delivery and urgency of developed countries' commitments to provide credible, adequate, predictable, timely, new and additional financing and technology transfer to developing countries to combat climate change. They also expressed their concern on attempts to link security with the climate change agenda and recalled that the UNFCCC, including the annual COP sessions, is the appropriate and legitimate international forum to discuss the issue of climate change, considering all its aspects. They welcomed the efforts of and express their full support to the incoming Egyptian Presidency of COP27 and committed to working towards the success of COP27.

13. The Ministers reiterated that it was imperative to ensure access to safe, quality, effective and affordable medical countermeasures, including vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics and essential medical products to people from all countries especially from developing countries, including the least developed among them as well as ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines and expeditious vaccination, to fill the immunisation gap globally. They supported the leading role of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as acknowledged initiatives such as the ACT-Accelerator and its COVAX Facility. They acknowledged the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) Decision on the TRIPS Agreement and the decision to discuss, within six months, its extension to cover the production and supply of COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics. They stressed the need to continue to strengthen the cooperation on testing methods, therapeutic, research, production and mutual recognition of vaccines on reciprocal basis, the research on their efficacy and safety in light of new variants of COVID-19 virus address new and emerging issues affecting personnel movements, through and recognition of national document of vaccination against COVID-19 and respective testing, especially for purpose of international travel. They called on all countries, international agencies and philanthropic organisations to procure vaccines and boosters from manufacturers in emerging markets and developing countries, including BRICS countries, to ensure that the manufacturing capabilities being developed are sustained. In line with the Ministerial Declaration on the WTO Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Preparedness for Future Pandemics, the Ministers also underscored the importance of promoting technology transfer that contributes to building capacity for developing solutions to public health crises beyond COVID-19, including those related to epidemics and tropical diseases. Collaborative models of research and development should be pursued to build stronger and sustainable partnerships among countries to make the fruits of research and innovation accessible to the wider global population.

14. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to multilateralism and to the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core. They reiterated the strong and necessary need to strengthen and reform the multilateral system, including the UN, the WTO, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other international organisations. The Ministers further reiterated their commitment to strengthen the multilateral trading system of the WTO, that is consensus and rules based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open, free and inclusive with special and differential treatment for developing countries, including LDCs, and noted that protectionism and unilateralism run counter to the rules and the spirit of the WTO. They urged all States to refrain from promulgating and applying any economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with the rules of the WTO, international law and the UN Charter that impede the full achievement of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries. They also emphasised the priority and urgency of restoring a fully and well-functioning WTO dispute settlement mechanism by 2024, as mandated in the MC12 Outcome document.

15. The Ministers committed to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States, stressed their commitment to the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, and supported all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises. They reaffirmed their commitment to collective efforts for peaceful settlement of disputes through political and diplomatic means and recognised the role of the UNSC as bearing the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. They stressed further the imperative of refraining from any coercive measures not based on international law and the UN Charter.

16. The Ministers expressed concerns regarding the increased and ongoing conflicts in many parts of the world. They reiterated the need for full respect of international humanitarian law and the provision of humanitarian aid in accordance with the basic principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence established in UNGA resolution 46/182. The Ministers recalled their national positions concerning the situation in Ukraine as expressed at the appropriate fora, namely the UNSC and UNGA.

17. The Ministers expressed strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations whenever, wherever and by whomsoever committed. They recognised the threat emanating from terrorism, extremism and radicalisation. They committed to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the cross-border movement of terrorists, and terrorism financing networks and safe havens. They reiterated that terrorism should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group. They reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to contribute further to the global efforts of preventing and countering the threat of terrorism on the basis of respect for international law, in particular the Charter of the United Nations, and human rights, emphasising that States have the primary responsibility in combating terrorism with the United Nations continuing to play central and coordinating role in this area. They also stressed the need for a comprehensive and balanced approach of the whole international community to effectively curb the terrorist activities, which pose a serious threat, including in the present-day pandemic environment. They rejected double standards in countering terrorism and extremism conducive to terrorism. They called for an expeditious finalisation and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism within the UN framework and for launching multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism, at the Conference of Disarmament. They welcomed the outcomes of the Seventh BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group Plenary Meeting and its five Subgroup Meetings.

18. The Ministers welcomed the first BRICS Anti-Corruption Ministerial Meeting held virtually on 13 July 2022. They encouraged the BRICS Working Group on Anti-Corruption to strengthen cooperation including experience and information sharing on anti-corruption issues among the BRICS countries on the basis of full consultation and consensus and to explore further areas of cooperation against corruption.

19. The Ministers reiterated their commitment to further strengthening the cooperation within the BRICS Anti-Drug Working Group in accordance with the existing international drug control regime.

20. The Ministers, while emphasising the formidable potential of the ICTs for growth and development, recognised the new possibilities they bring for criminal activities and threats, and expressed concern over the rising level and complexity of criminal misuse of ICTs. They welcomed the ongoing work in the UN Open-Ended Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Committee of Experts to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes and reaffirmed their commitment to cooperating in the implementation of the mandate adopted by the UN General Assembly resolution 75/282.

21. The Ministers reiterated the need for all countries to cooperate in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms under the principles of equality and mutual respect. They agreed to continue to treat all human rights including the right to development in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis. They agreed to strengthen cooperation on issues of common interests both within BRICS and in multilateral fora including the United Nations General Assembly and Human Rights Council, taking into account the necessity to promote, protect and fulfil human rights in a non-selective, non-politicised and constructive manner and without double standards.

22. The Ministers noted the initial deliberations on the BRICS expansion process and agreed to continue discussions, as instructed by the XIV BRICS Summit, to clarify the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures for this expansion process through Sherpas’ channel on the basis of full consultation and consensus.

23. The Ministers expressed their warm appreciation to China for the success of the 14th BRICS Summit held virtually on 23 June 2022. They welcomed the High-level Dialogue on Global Development held virtually on 24 June 2022 as a testimony to the open and inclusive nature of the BRICS Partnership including BRICS Outreach/BRICS Plus cooperation.

24. The Ministers were briefed on the preparations for South Africa's Chairship of BRICS in 2023. Brazil, Russia, India and China extended their full support to South Africa for its BRICS Chairship in 2023 and the holding of the XV BRICS summit. The Ministers also look forward to the Standalone Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Relations in South Africa in 2023.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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