Following the 10th BRICS Summit themed, “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”, leaders of Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) issued a statement titled, “Johannesburg Declaration”, underlining their countries’ commitment to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The 10th BRICS Summit convened in Johannesburg, South Africa, from July 25 to 27, 2018.
The Johannesburg Declaration is structured around four key themes: 1) strengthening multilateralism, reforming global governance and addressing common challenges; 2) strengthening and consolidating BRICS cooperation on international peace and security; 3) BRICS partnership for global economic recovery, reform of financial and economic global governance institutions, and the fourth industrial revolution; and 4) people-to-people cooperation.
The statement reaffirms BRICS’ support for multilateralism, underscoring the central role of the UN in this regard, as the “universal intergovernmental organisation entrusted with the responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, advancing sustainable development as well as ensuring the promotion, and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
The leaders reiterate their commitment to the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter, as well as to strengthening multilateral institutions of global governance to ensure that they are able to comprehensively address global challenges.
The Johannesburg Declaration underlines BRICS’ commitment to fully implementing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, highlighting the importance of economic, social and environmental dimensions of “equitable, inclusive, open, all-round innovation-driven and sustainable development,” and reiterating the goal of eradicating poverty by 2030.
The statement pledges support for the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) for its role in coordinating and reviewing global implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and urges developed countries to fully honor their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments.
In the statement, the BRICS leaders “call upon all countries to fully implement the Paris Agreement,” in line with the principles of the UNFCCC including the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC), and welcome progress towards finalising the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) at the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the UNFCCC to be held in Katowice, Poland in December 2018. They urge developed countries to provide financial, technological and capacity-building support to developing countries to enhance their capability in mitigation and adaptation.
The BRICS declaration notes that the five countries will strengthen their energy cooperation, pointing to their transition to more environmentally sustainable energy systems that are, among other elements, “supportive of the global sustainable development agenda.” The BRICS leaders reiterate their undertaking to “strive toward universal energy access, energy security, energy affordability, reduced pollution and environmental conservation.”
The declaration reaffirms the need to diversify energy supply sources, including renewable and low carbon energy sources, and underlines the need for infrastructure investments, pointing specifically to BRICS support for sustainable infrastructure development in Africa, and committing to further expand green financing to promote sustainable development in BRICS countries.
Noting the outcome of the fourth BRICS Environment Ministers Meeting, held under the theme, “Strengthening Cooperation amongst BRICS on Circular Economy in the Context of the Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP),” the declaration underscores the “enormous potential” of a circular economy approach to reduce waste, to forge more environmentally sustainable processes and to diversify economies while contributing to economic growth and job creation.
The leaders highlight the “vast potential” for cooperation and collaboration between BRICS countries to advance the Oceans Economy, including in the areas of: maritime transport; shipbuilding; offshore oil and exploration; aquaculture; port development; research and technology; conservation and sustainable use of marine resources; marine and coastal tourism; financial and insurance services; and coastal industrial zone development.
The Johannesburg Declaration also reaffirms the BRICS leaders’ aim to enhance cooperation and collaboration on biodiversity conservation, sustainable use, and equitable access and benefit sharing of biological resources.
By Dr Gillian Nelson, Thematic Expert for Climate Change and Sustainable Energy (IISD SDG Knowledge Hub)