This year is a year of Russian presidency in BRICS, and fostering of cooperation in social sphere is declared among priority themes. This article deals with the common issues of BRICS countries in social sphere and possible ways of cooperation to address them. Article is divided into four thematic areas: social protection, healthcare, housing and education. First part highlights unemployment and inequality issues. Second part deals with the questions of healthcare financing, coverage of medical services, HIV/AIDS and non-communicable diseases response. Third item is dedicated to urbanization and quality of housing issues. Fourth part underscores questions of coverage of education, expenses on it and academic mobility between five countries.
Article concludes that the analysis of the partner-countries experiences may be quite beneficial for Russia, especially in the sphere of progressive taxation as a mechanism to fight inequality, promotion of healthy lifestyle, public private partnership in healthcare, cooperation in academic mobility, education standards unification. Russia in its turn can share experience in healthcare and education coverage, national programmes of social protection of vulnerable social groups.
In Central Asia, the water deficit and water-energy problem have been one of the most acute and conflict-ridden challenges for the sustainable development of the region and for regional security. Key trade and investment partners, including Russia and the European Union, could play a considerable role in influencing this issue, due to the long-lasting status quo, the inability to find a solution through intra-regional dialogue and the region’s rising dependence on foreign trade. Indeed, water-related interactions between Russia and the EU have been developing in a complementary manner. The EU possesses new technologies and its members have access to long-term capital markets, while Russia carries influence through providing security, regulating migration and holding a favourable political position for offering mediation services to the republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This article examines EU – Russia relations regarding water issues in Central Asia over the medium term. By analyzing cooperative and non-cooperative strategies used by the major stakeholders in the water conflict (the five republics and the third parties of Russia and the EU), it confirms the continuous complementary character of EU and Russian activities in this context. Russia will take responsibility for moderating the principal questions (as with the construction of big dams such as Rogun or Kambarata), as they relate to the provision of security guarantees. The EU will act through providing support for water companies from small and medium-sized enterprises, and promoting the European Water Initiative principles and by developing its investment policy. The intersection of interests is possible when Russia will attract an independent arbiter, such as an actor available to provide guarantees related to the values of professional objectivism, human rights support and environment protection. These issues inevitably arise with relation to big infrastructure projects.
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.
The paper presents an analysis of the G20 summit held under the French Presidency in Cannes on November 3rd and 4th 2011. The author assesses the summit agenda and decisions made by the leaders in the key areas of coordination, including the strategy for growth and jobs, reform of the international monetary system, actions to restore financial stability and strengthen the medium-term foundations for growth, deepening of financial sector reform, fight against corruption, investing for global growth. The paper highlights the challenge of implementing two agendas: the planned and the anti crisis one. The conclusion sums up the strengths and weaknesses of the summit and the G20 summitry, reviews the features of the G20 institutionalization, makes a forecast for the sequence of presidencies after 2015, and puts forward brief recommendations for the Russian G20 presidency in 2013. The publication is prepared within the framework of a joint project of Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) Project and International Organizations Research Institute of the NRU HSE "Increasing Effectiveness of Russia's Participation in G8, G20 and BRICS in accordance with Russian Priorities and National Interests".
On May 18-19, 2012, at the presidential retreat in Camp David in Maryland, U.S. president Barack Obama hosted the 38th annual G8 summit. The leaders discussed global economic growth, development, and peace and security. After less than 24 hours of face-to-face time among the leaders, they issued communiqué of only five pages. However, Camp David was a significant success. The leaders came together to effectively address the most pressing issues of the day while setting the direction for the summits that were to follow, including the summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Chicago, the G20 in Los Cabos, Mexico, and the Rio+20 Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That success was propelled by several causes. The first is the set of strong global shocks were particularly relevant to a number of items on the agenda. This included the newest installment of the euro-crisis, spikes in oil and food prices, and the escalating violence in Syria. The second is the failure of the other major international institutions to address these challenges. The third is the club’s dedication to the promotion of democracy and its significance on issues such as the democratic transition in the Middle East and North Africa. The fourth is the high relative capabilities of G8 members, fuelled by the strength of the U.S. dollar, the Japanese yen and the British pound. The fifth is the domestic political control, capital, continuity, competence and commitment of the leaders in attendance. Camp David saw several G8 leaders returning for their sixth or seventh summit and leaders with a secure majority mandate and control of their legislative houses at home. Finally, the constricted participation at the remote and secluded Camp David Summit, a unique and original advantage of the G8 summit style, allowed for more spontaneous conversation and interpersonal bonds. Together, these interconnected causes brought the G8 back, as a broader, bigger, bolder centre of effective global governance.
The article addresses the G20 compliance with its long-standing commitment to refrain from protectionist measures. The paper attempts to measure and compare the results of individual G20 members in different timeframes between the summits. The analysis is based on the data from the WTO reports on G20 trade and trade-related measures. The author believes that the effectiveness of G20 in this field of cooperation remains low, which is substantiated by a large number of protectionist measures adopted by the G20 members in the period between Washington summit in 2008 and Cannes summit in 2011. The publication is prepared within the framework of a joint project "Enhancing Effectiveness of Russia's Participation in G8, G20 and BRICS in Compliance with the Russian Federation National Priorities in Global Governance and Developing Recommendations for the Russian Presidency of G20 in 2013" implementing by Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and International Organisations Research Institute (IORI) of the National Research University Higher School of Economics in 2012.
Foreign policy uses a wide range of soft power policy instruments and models. It is thus useful to identify the best practices, key tools and approaches that ensure the sustainability and coherence of policy, as well as the connecting elements that allow a country to coordinate its foreign policy actions. This article analyzes the experience of China, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union in five areas: the promotion of language and culture; cooperation in the fields of education, science and technology; business relations; public diplomacy; and official development cooperation. The article is based on the expert survey conducted by National Research University Higher School of Economics in December 2013. The sample includes experts of the international relations engaged in Russian foreign affairs, as well as development cooperation. The results of the expert survey allowed to identify the tools ensuring the most impact and best application of soft power in various socioeconomic and political conditions. The identified tools are structured into a system of interconnected organizational forms with five areas or clusters of influence. Key institutions acting in the five areas constitute the centres of sustainability of the respective clusters. Structural cohesion is ensured by connecting elements such as regulatory frameworks, resources, coordination mechanisms, visa regimes, and communication and public relations.