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Article

Российское председательство в БРИКС: модели взаимодействия с международными институтами

Six years after the first 2009 summit in Ekaterinburg BRICS has established its identity as an informal global governance forum. The members have consistently consolidated cooperation, expanded and deepened agenda, coordinated efforts aimed at recovery and growth of their economies, developed engagement with other international organizations. This work continued during the Russian presidency in 2015-2016.  This article focuses on one dimension of BRICS performance: its engagement with international organizations. There are at least three reasons defining the relevance of this analysis. First, from its launch BRICS pledged collective commitment to build multipolar, fair and democratic world order, the cause which cannot be attained without cooperation with the key international organizations. Second, the objective of enhancing sustainability, legitimacy and effectiveness of global governance architecture defines the need for the summit institutions’ flexible combination of different models of engagement with other international institutions. Third, according to the Russian Federation BRICS Presidency Concept one of its priorities is a transition to a qualitatively new level of engagement with international organizations. The analytical framework for the study builds on the theory of rational choice institutionalism. The calculus approach fits the analysis of summitry institutions bringing together states from a wide range of civilizations, continents and economic development, notably well. Its distinctive features are clearly applicable to the analysis of the origin and performance of BRICS. First, the member states act in a highly strategic manner to maximize the attainment of their priorities. Second, summitry presents an arrangement where strategic interaction between leaders plays a major role in determining the political outcomes. Third, rational choice institutionalism offers the greatest analytical leverage to settings where consensus among actors accustomed to strategic action and of roughly equal standing is necessary to secure institutional changes - the features typical of summit institutions. Fourth, the institutions are created by the respective countries’ leaders’ voluntary agreement to perform concrete functions and missions.  It is assumed that in order to maximize benefits from the new arrangement the founders may choose to engage voluntarily with existing institutions in a mode they regard most efficient for attainment of their goals. The summit institutions members’ choice of the partner institutions, modes and intensity of engagement is accepted to be strategic, intentional and voluntary, aiming to compensate for efficiency in their performance. The models of engagement are not mutually exclusive but coexist, with their choice dependent on the policy area and type of organization. The models of the summitry institutions’ engagement with the other international organizations reflected in the leaders’ discourse are expected to be indicative of their place and role in global governance architecture, imputed to them at their launch and subsequent evolution. The study applies qualitative and quantitative methods. Drawing on the content analysis of the BRICS documents the author tracks dynamics of BRICS engagement with multilateral organizations and main models of engagement, comparing them with the previous summits. Findings from the study of BRICS engagement with international organizations confirm the hypotheses that the forum choice of engagement model reflects its role and place in global governance architecture, depends on the policy area, phase in the cooperation development and perception of the organization’s relevance to the BRICS respective objectives. The models are not mutually exclusive, but coexist, and transform in the course of cooperation. Establishing new institutions BRICS consolidate cooperation with other organizations in the policy area. With the UN organizations and the WTO engagement develops on the model of catalytic influence (exerting an influence for international organizations’ changes through endorsement or stimulus, or compelling them to reform), whereas with the G20 BRICS intention to engage on the model of “governance in alliance with multilateral institutions” remained unrealized.  In 2015 BRICS consolidated its preference in favor of two models: “catalytic influence” and “parallel treatment” (creation of the forum own institutions). Establishment of BRICS institutions continued. It can be assumed that while strengthening its own institutions BRICS will apply the model of “governance in alliance with multilateral institutions” into its practice of cooperation with relevant international organizations.