BRICS and Global Governance
The past few decades have witnessed the development of an increasingly globalised and multipolar world order, in which the demand for multilateralism becomes ever more pronounced. The BRICS group established in 2009, has evolved into a plurilateral summit institution recognized both by sceptics and proponents as a major participant in the international system.
Addressing the BRICS’s role in global governance, this book critically examines the club’s birth and evolution, mechanisms of inter-BRICS cooperation, its agenda priorities, BRICS countries’ interests, decisions made by members, their collective and individual compliance with the agreed commitments, and the patterns of BRICS engagement with other international institutions. This volume advances the current state of knowledge on global governance architecture, the BRICS role in this system, and the benefits it has provided and can provide for world order.
This book will interest scholars and graduate students who are researching the rise and role of emerging powers, global governance, China and India’s approach to global order and relationship with the United States, Great Power politics, democratization as a foreign policy strategy, realist theory-building and hegemonic transitions, and the (crisis of) liberal world order.
The past decades have witnessed dramatic changes in the world. The bipolar world order has vanished, the unipolar period has passed and a new multipolar world order is emerging. In this “unraveling” globalized world, geopolitical, economic, environmental, societal and technological challenges are tightly interconnected (Haass 2014). They “transcend borders and spheres of influence and require stakeholders to work together, yet these risks also threaten to undermine the trust and collaboration needed to adapt to the challenges of the new global context” (World Economic Forum 2015). The challenges and their perceptions have been driving shifts in international cooperation. One major trend is “the proliferation and diversification of actors, forums, and their arrangements to address global challenges,” leading to a presumed fragmentation of global governance (Egel 2015, 4–5). However, fragmentation is also often perceived positively as “contested multilateralism,” because institutional diversity can produce better outcomes than “stalled cooperation through existing venues” struggling to respond to persisting and emerging challenges (Egel 2015, 5). With multipolarity rising as countries outside the old core become economically more powerful, and clusters of countries gravitate to form new poles, the demand for multilateralism becomes more pronounced (Wade 2011). Multilateralism can be defined simply as the practice of coordinating policies in groups of states through ad hoc arrangements or institutions (Keohane 1990). Different modes of multilateralism and participation in coordinating mechanisms exist: the entry of new states into apex governing forums, the increased voting power of emerging states in international organizations, and new agreements and institutions established to coordinate and contribute to regional or global governance. In spite of an increasing number of international actors, including nonstate actors, both formal and informal organizations as well as governments remain key players.
An analysis of the first sequence of summits of the BRICS group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa provides a sufficient foundation for an outlook on the next sequence of summits. That sequence began with Fortaleza in 2014, Ufa in 2015, Goa in 2016 and Xiamen in 2017, and it continues with South Africa in 2018, Brazil in 2019 and Russia in 2020. This prediction builds on evidence from the BRICS performance viewed through the fundamental premise of rational choice institutionalism that institutions are created by states because they see benefits accruing from the functions those institutions perform (Hall and Taylor 1996). The BRICS members came together to establish a platform for dialogue and cooperation to promote peace, security and development in a multipolar, interdependent and increasingly complex, globalizing world, on the basis of universally recognized norms of international law and multilateral decision making (BRICS 2012, paras. 3, 4). Since its inception, the group has produced some meaningful achievements. Most notable are the New Development Bank (NDB) and Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA).
Financial and economic issues have been among key items of the agenda of the BRIC group of Brazil, Russia, India and China, and have remained when South Africa joined to form the BRICS. Since its first meeting, the group has been interested in changing the global financial architecture. That architecture is “a loose set of multilateral agreements and understandings, among a core group of powerful capitalist states, about the rules and norms that govern, and/or should govern, cross-border money and credit transactions of all kinds” [Armijo, 2002, p. 3]. Given the existing system of multilateral financial institutions, the establishment of the New Development Bank (NDB) by the BRICS will have an impact on that global financial architecture.