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15 Years since the First BRICS Summit: History of Cooperation

How cooperation between the BRICS countries has developed

The abbreviation BRIC comes from the names of the countries that make up the association. Initially, there were four of them: Brazil, Russia, India, and China. In 2011, South Africa joined the group, and it acquired its current name, BRICS. The second wave of expansion came in 2024. As of January 1, Egypt, the UAE, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Ethiopia also became members.

BRIC Summit 2009

The first BRIC meeting was held on September 20, 2006, on the margins of the 61st session of the UN General Assembly. It was attended by the foreign ministers of Russia, Brazil, China, and India's defence minister, who agreed to develop multidimensional cooperation among the four countries.

As for the first full-scale BRIC summit, it was held on the initiative of the Russian side on June 16, 2009, in Yekaterinburg. It was attended by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and President of the People's Republic of China Hu Jintao.

The politicians discussed such issues as the reform of international financial structures, energy development, combating climate change, and food security. At the end, they adopted a joint statement in which they expressed their desire to cooperate in multilateral arenas and promote common interests and goals.

BRICS landmark summits

The association is chaired by the organising country of the annual summit. It coordinates all ongoing activities. Each BRICS summit becomes a stepping stone in the development of multifaceted cooperation, strengthening the role and significance of the group in the global arena.

One of the most significant summits was the 6th summit in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza in 2014. At that time, an agreement was signed to establish the BRICS New Development Bank, which was an important step towards strengthening financial stability and infrastructure development in the group's member countries.

The 7th BRICS Summit was hosted by Ufa, the capital of the Russian Republic of Bashkortostan. At the summit, the Ufa Declaration was signed, according to which a course was taken towards the transition to trade in national currencies within the BRICS. At Russia's insistence, an agreement on cooperation between the states until 2020 was concluded.

Participants at the 10th Anniversary Summit in Johannesburg in 2018 focused on deepening partnerships. They paid special attention to security, health, and sustainable development projects. This summit emphasised the BRICS' aspirations for a more equitable, multipolar world.

In 2020, the BRICS leaders held their first virtual summit due to the coronavirus pandemic. It resulted in the adoption of the Moscow Declaration, which took into account the consolidated approaches of the group's states to further development, as well as the formulation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership for the period until 2025 and the BRICS counter-terrorism strategy.

The 2023 Johannesburg Summit was the 15th BRICS Summit. It resulted in the announcement of the expansion of the association. The following countries were granted the right to join the BRICS:

  • Argentina;
  • Iran;
  • Ethiopia;
  • Egypt;
  • Saudi Arabia;
  • UAE.

Argentina subsequently declined the offer to join the group. On January 1, 2024, the remaining 5 countries officially joined BRICS.

BRICS Summit in Kazan, 2024

On October 22–24, 2024, the heads of the BRICS’ states enlarged membership and dozens more leaders of partner countries will meet in the capital of Tatarstan. Russia, which holds the BRICS chairmanship this year, is organising more than 200 events. 

Earlier, the head of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, Grigory Karasin, said during a briefing that more than 40 states are applying to join BRICS. Officials of such countries as Colombia, Turkey, Belarus, Thailand, Venezuela, and Sri Lanka have declared their readiness to gain a new status in the association. Some parties are counting on support for their intention to become BRICS members at the group's October summit.

"I think that the summit in Kazan this October will mark the achievement of new heights in the interaction between the BRICS countries. We are moving forward, setting an important precedent. I am glad to see that all the participants of the association are cooperating in a friendly manner, working for results; no one is imposing anything on anyone"

Sergey Ryabkov Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Russia's Sherpa for BRICS

Photo: iStock

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