UNIVERSIDADE DE SÃO PAULO
Julia Farhat Terron
BRICS LEADERS MEETING
Partnership for the strengthening of science, technology and innovation
PARTNERSHIP FOR THE STRENGTHENING OF SCIENCE,
TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
Julia Farhat Terron
ABSTRACT: BRICS countries have been recently acknowledged as technologically advanced
and innovative. China has been dominating the high-technology market, Russia has had
incredible military outbreaks and Brazil, South Africa and India have been producing more
intellectual researches and personalities every year. Therefore, these countries have plenty of
patents, technologies and techniques to offer one another, and the exchange that has been in
course over the last few years has proven that, with strong cooperation in STI, the economies of
the BRICS members may rise even higher.
The Heads of State’s, or Leaders meeting, thus, will be discussing “Partnership for the
strengthening of science, technology and innovation (STI)” in BRICS countries, in order to
enable the exchange of these increasing new resources between members and, consequently,
guarantee tighter economic bonds.
1 Julia is a first-year student of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo.
II. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
III. PREVIOUS HEADS OF STATE’S MEETINGS
IV. MAIN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION SUBJECTS
BRICS countries correspond to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. In “BRICS
and the Future Global Order”, Oliver Stuenkel references a New York Times article by Jim
Yardley in 2012, in which he states that the BRICS countries would never be able to significantly
change the current western economic world order, due to the contradictions and rivalries these
countries present to one another. However, this is definitely not the case. These nations have
come together over the last decade to not only strengthen themselves, but to strengthen each other
in the New World Order. Therefore, BRICS can be defined as a space for dialogue, partnership
and economic agreements between the worlds’ most powerful emerging countries. In this
particular Heads of State’s Meeting, there will be an open agenda for the discussion of Science,
Technology and Innovation among the BRICS.
The main goal of the following committee is to assure that the current built STI (Science,
Technology and Innovation) Framework Programme - developed in the 2015 Durban meeting -
is successfully growing within the group. In order to guarantee the STI protagonism in each of
the member States, this multilateral platform is crucial, since, put together, these countries
represent more than 40% of the global economic growth. Thus, the heads of state’s main
discussion and aim will be the establishment of bilateral and multilateral agreements, might they
be in short or long term, which will require debate about partnerships for the strengthening of
In this committee, the Heads of State should use the “Memorandum of Understanding on
Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation” as a guide to how the 5 countries can
cooperate with each other. In this Memorandum, signed in 2015 as well, the STI Ministers of
each country registered goals, responsibilities and possibilities as to how partnerships can be
2The STI Framework Programme is now in its 3rd call, and it is the way the BRICS countries acknowledge new
partnership ideas and focus on the main goals in the STI agenda. You can find the 3rd call announcemet in
3This Memorandum is a detailed description of the objectives, areas and modalities of cooperation within the STI
agenda. It is signed by the governments of the five BRICS countries. You can consult it under
done when regarding science, technology and innovation. By combining the STI Framework
Programme and the Memorandum, the open agenda can be structured and discussed by the Heads
For further understanding of what an STI agenda should contain, it is crucial to
comprehend what the main discussion has been in this Ministry in the past years. In 2017, the 5th
STI Ministerial Meeting in Hangzhou focused on “
Leading through Innovation & Deepening
Cooperation” , and the role of young scientists in innovative projects was one of the most
important discussions, since that same month, also in Hangzhou, the 2nd Young Scientists Forum
was held. The topic of promoting entrepreneurship in academic environments was also
In 2018, the 6th STI Ministerial Meeting in Durban focused on “Leveraging BRICS
Science, Technology and Innovation to Enhance Inclusive Growth and Development
” , since the
main theme of the 10th BRICS Summit was “BRICS in Africa: Cooperation with Developing
Countries for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity’’.
Taking these themes into consideration,
it’s clear that as much as the member countries are concerned about their domestic growth and
management, they are also aware of their importance in diminishing inequality and
democratizing the economy. As stated in one of the clauses of the Durban Declaration,
breakthroughs in science and technology should be focused on healthcare improvement, specially
in emerging countries, by nanotechnology, biotechnology, biomedicine and material science
BRICS are, therefore, committed to global social and economic development. As a Heads
of State’s meeting, this committee has the autonomy to materialize previous projects of the STI
4The most important aspect of this declaration is the agreement to adopt the “BRICS Action Plan for Innovation
, which, quoting the declaration, states: “We agree to promote entrepreneurship and build platforms in
BRICS countries and mainly collaborate in technology cooperation, technology transfer and translation, science and
technology parks, youth innovation and entrepreneurship and in fostering strategic and long term university-industry
partnerships so as to build sound ecosystems for innovation and entrepreneurship.”
You can find this declaration
5 Some important outcomes of this meeting are the realization that the development should prioritize the people’s
needs and rely on sustainability and, also, the promotion of events such as many scientific working groups and young
scientist forums. All of the outcomes of the Durban Meeting of 2018 can be found under
ministers, bilateral and multilateral STI agreements, science-based exchanges and other important
topics that haven’t been strongly considered in previous meetings, such as natural resources
management and implantation of sustainable development breakthroughs.
II. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
This historical background will be focused exclusively on how the BRICS became a
group and what changed from 2001 until today. The other topics in this guide will be centered
around the STI cooperations and the Heads of State.
The group was first mentioned in an article by Jim O’Neill, the chief of economic global
research at Goldman Sachs. O’Neill noticed a pattern in the economic growth of Brazil, Russia,
India and China, not taking into account any political indicators in his analysis. The article in
which O’Neill mentions BRICs was written right after the incident of 9/11 in the United States,
which made international analytics question if globalization was to be run by this unipolar order.
By 2006, Goldman Sachs had published an analysis headlined “Dreaming with the BRICs: The
Path to 2050” ,
which was thoroughly explaining how and why it was crucial to understand these
countries as a force to be reckoned with. Researches in this article showed that, soon, the GDP of
the four countries, combined, would surpass those of the G6 countries together, and separated,
they would each grow into GDPs bigger than some of the countries in the G6 group.
6An economic analysis of the economy of all BRICs countries and South Africa, containing graphics and
information on working population that prove the growth of these States. The entire article can be found under
7The G6 countries correspond to France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of
America, considered the most overdeveloped countries in the world.
Source: “Dreaming with the BRICs: The Path to 2050”
Other important data in the article written by Goldman Sachs is the mentioning of South
Africa as an emerging country as well. In page 11 of the detailed analysis, the role of South
Africa was made clear in the following statements:
To provide comparison, we applied our projection
methods for the BRICs to South Africa. The method is simpler
than that in our paper on South Africa,but does provide a
longer-term outlook. The table sets out the main results in
terms of growth. Projected growth over the next decade is a
little lower than the 5% projected in our more detailed study
(around 4% here), but the main thrust of the outlook is similar.
The differences arise largely because the demographic
projections we assume much sharper shrinkage in the labour
force (around 1% per year) than did the more detailed exercise.
Both in South Africa, and in the region more generally, the
challenge of AIDS and the impact it will have on labour force
and population dynamics is an important risk and challenge
that has no direct counterpart elsewhere.
Our longer-term projections show South Africa
growing at an average rate of around 3.5% over the next 50
years,comparable to our predictions for Russia and Brazil.
With declining population growth rates, per capita incomes
under these projections would rise significantly more rapidly.
We find under these projections that South Africa’s economy
would be significantly smaller than the BRICs in 2050 (around
US$1.2bn compared to US$5.9bn for Russia, the smallest of
the BRICs economies), though its projected GDP per capita
would actually be higher.
“Dreaming with the BRICs: The Path to 2050”
With the publication of this analysis, investors quickly took interest in these emerging
countries, which raised the economy even higher for them. Much of the interest of investors in
these countries was focused on the large demographic and consequent abundant labour force. The
growth of the G8 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the
United States) into the G20 (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany,
India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa,
Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union) was the most symbolic
8 Statement reproduced thoroughly from “Dreaming with the BRICs: The Path to 2050”
change of this process. By the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, the BRICs were already
a known term.
The economic crisis of Subprime, in 2008, affected mainly the United States and other
economic powers, but the economy of the BRICs was still stable. That led to higher importance
of the group in G20 meetings and informal meetings, promoted by Russia, with Brazilian,
Chinese and Indian representation. 2008 marked the first informal BRICs Summit, which had,
mainly, an economic focus. In 2008 as well, after the G8 meeting, Celso Amorim, as Brazil’s
Minister of International Relations, stated that the BRICs had decided to strengthen their political
bonds and democratize the international order in the 21st Century. Thus, the first official BRICs
Summit was held in Russia in July 2009, and it was safe to say that the influence of emerging
countries, globally, was finally taking shape.
As for the first ever Leaders Meeting, or Heads of State’s Meeting, it happened in 2011,
which marked the first full BRICS summit, with the inclusion of South Africa. In other words,
this is currently the 11th BRICS Summit, but the 9th Heads of State’s Meeting, held in Brasilia in
III. PREVIOUS HEADS OF STATE’S MEETINGS
In this paragraph, we will be analyzing the previous decisions and discussions made in the
last few Heads of State’s meetings, from 2016, when brazilian president Michel Temer assumed
office, up to the informal meetings so far in 2019. The study of these meetings is essential in
order to understand what kinds of topics the leaders discuss, how it is different from an STI
Ministers Meeting and what kinds of decisions the leaders usually make.
A. 8TH BRICS SUMMIT - GOA, INDIA, 2016
Several paragraphs of the Goa Declaration note the importance of multilateral
cooperation, further contribution of BRICS countries in the global economy and projects related
to infrastructure in the member countries. In relation to STI, the Goa Declaration states that the
STI Ministerial Meeting:
[...] aimed at strengthening cooperation in science,
technology and innovation, especially leveraging young
scientific talent for addressing societal challenges; creating a
networking platform for BRICS young scientists;
co-generating new knowledge and innovative products,
services and processes; and addressing common global and
regional socio-economic challenges utilising shared
experiences and complementarities.”, with projects such as the
implementation of the BRICS Research and Innovation
Initiative, the first BRICS Young Scientists Conclave,
instituting of BRICS Innovative Idea Prize for Young
Scientists, the first Call for Proposals under the BRICS STI
Framework Programme, in ten thematic areas, with funding
commitment from the five BRICS STI Ministries and
associated funding bodies and the establishment of the BRICS
Working Group on Research Infrastructure, and Mega-Science
to reinforce the BRICS Global Research Advanced
Infrastructure Network (BRICS-GRAIN).
Another highlighted subject is the appliance of science and technology in agriculture,
present in many paragraphs of the declaration and relevant due to important issues such as food
security, increasing agricultural production and assessing malnutrition and hunger, in countries
with high demographic density and great rural areas.
B. 9TH BRICS SUMMIT - XIAMEN, CHINA, 2017
The theme for the 9th BRICS Summit is “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter
Future”, and it is much more focused on the Sustainable Development Goals and on the
economic growth of the countries. In this declaration, STI is cited as a way to improve the
economy of the countries and to stimulate entrepreneurship, encouraging cross-border fundings,
NDB fundings and encouraging the implementation of the BRICS Innovation Cooperation
Action Plan 2017-2020 . There is also an interesting mention of STI in the “People to people
exchange” paragraph of the document, stating that “We agree to deepen cooperation in such
fields as culture, education, science and technology, sports and health as well as 27 among media
organizations and local governments, to strengthen the third pillar of BRICS cooperation and
foster a meaningful resonance of the BRICS partnership amongst its peoples.” This statement is a
different approach as to how STI can be strengthened within the countries: in a humane way.
It is also important to note that the Ministerial STI meeting of 2017, in Hangzhou, China,
previously mentioned in this study guide, must be a reference in the discussion of STI subjects.
C. 10TH BRICS SUMMIT - JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA,
The 10th BRICS summit’s theme was “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive
Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”, which reflects in the way STI is
understood in this declaration. It is first cited linked to sustainability and environmental
preservation, and in which ways science and technology can guarantee them. Then, it’s linked to
industrial innovation in the “New Industrial Revolution”. According to the declaration, the
framework for the 4th Industrial Revolution should: “enhance comparative advantages, boost
economic growth, promote economic transformation of BRICS countries, strengthen sustainable
industrial production capacity, create networks of science parks and technology business
incubators, and support small and medium-sized enterprises in technology intensive areas.”
In summary, this declaration points to the strengthening of science, technology and
innovation in an interconnected way, in order to assert the BRICS’ spot in the 4th Industrial
D. INFORMAL LEADERS MEETINGS
9 This action plan can be found under:
It is important to acknowledge informal BRICS Leaders meetings, since many decisions
for the actual formal meetings are made in informal ones. In the last informal meeting, which
happened in Osaka, Japan on June 28th 2019, many topics were discussed relevant to, for
example, the G20 meeting that was about to happen in that same location. Priorities for the 11th
BRICS Summit in Brasilia, Brazil in November 2019 were encouraged and determined.
According to the 17th clausule in the Joint Statement for that meeting:
17. We commend Brazil for identifying Economic Growth for
an Innovative Future as the theme of the 2019 Chairship.
Recognising that innovation is a key driving force behind
development, we reaffirm our commitment to maximise the
benefits of digitalisation and emerging technologies, including
for the population of rural and remote areas. We encourage
joint efforts to share good practices on internet-driven poverty
alleviation and digital transformation of the industrial sector.
We stress the importance of continuing BRICS scientific,
technical, innovation and entrepreneurship cooperation,
including the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution
(PartNIR), iBRICS Network, the BRICS Institute of Future
Networks, and Young Scientists Forum.
The decisions made in that meeting justify the topic of STI being discussed in the 2019
Leaders Meeting, since the Heads of State themselves believe that innovation, scientific research
and technology cooperation should centralize the entire summit in 2019. Other clausules of the
same joint statement call for the importance of combating corruption and illicit money flows, as
well as the strengthening of the New Development Bank as a way to guarantee economic growth
for an innovative future, which are other subjects applied to our current BRICS summit.
10 This joint statement is entitled “Joint Statement on BRICS Leaders' Informal Meeting on the Margins of G20
and can be found under: http://brics.utoronto.ca/docs/190628-osaka.html
IV. MAIN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION SUBJECTS
In the Cape Town Declaration of 2014, BRICS STI Ministers determined five important
research niches, one for each country. These were determined based on which subjects the
countries need to prioritize, and they are: climate change and disaster mitigation (Brazil);
geospatial technologies and application (India); renewable energy and energy efficiency (China),
astronomy (South Africa); and water resources and pollution treatment (Russia). In this
paragraph each of the subjects will be briefly discussed.
India can apply STI to many of their current issues, such as poverty, overpopulation or
transportation. The reason why geospatial technologies were the chosen priority for this country
is that, by improving this specific technology, many of the other problems will be easier to solve.
India is rapidly growing its economy and its global relevance, and not having adequate geospatial
mapping could be an obstacle for the estimated growth. Maybe, with real investment in the
application of this technology in one of the largest and most populated territories on earth, India
can catch up to the mapping system already present in the other BRICS countries. The
bureaucracy involved in this mapping are blocking its application, however, it is crucial that the
countries find means to apply this technology.
Over the last decades, China has been pioneering many sustainable alternatives in clean
energy and production of materials. Whilst being one of the countries that pollutes the most,
China has been investing in the applicability of renewable energy sources and their efficiencies.
The country has a plan called China’s Medium and Long Term Energy Conservation Plan, which
is expected to be achieved by 2020. Hydropower, solar, wind and biomass generated energy are
some of the most used energy sources in the country nowadays, and China has been able to
seriously improve in the renewable energy department. These changes may signify that China is
on it’s way to tackle climate change, which affects the entire world nowadays.
It is surprising to look at the water supply situation in Russia as an ongoing problem in
the country, since Russia is one of the biggest economies of the world, as is India. However, the
water situation is concerning for the russian population. Deteriorated pipes, lack of decent
distribution within the country's vast territory, lack of water infrastructure - to get to the largest
cities in good quality and without waste - and concentration of water treatment near the oceans,
where only about 15% of the population lives: these aspects affect the russian people’s access to
a primary resource, essential for living and that shouldn’t be a concern in a rich country like
Russia. Following, are the most important problems the russian water industry is facing, taken
thoroughly from a research made by Oleg Primin at the Moscow State University of Civil
Engineering, entitled “Clean Water of Russia: Problems and Solutions”
1. Unsatisfactory condition of utility and drinking water supply
systems, low quality of water supplied to the population
because of surface water and groundwater pollution,
insufficient application and frequently, lack of up-to-date
methods for drinking water treatment and unsatisfactory
condition of water supply networks.
2. Growing shortage of water resources in a number of basins.
3. Lack of up-to-date Russian technological and research
bases, shortage of technical approaches, lack of technical
conditions for the production of modern Russian equipment
and materials, the volume of which would be sufficient for the
needs of water companies.
4. Growing material and environmental detriments resulting
from the failures in water supply and wastewater disposal
5. Deteriorating technical condition of the facilities and
equipment belonging to water companies, first of all in small
Russian towns and settlements, where one half of Russian
6. Low-efficient governmental control of the water industry,
considerably reduced financing of research and design
7. Low investment attractiveness of water companies, of the
water sector and of the development of public and private
11 You can find the entire research under: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1757-899X/365/2/022064/pdf
8. Lack of any well-defined system of government obligations
for the provision of the population with clean water
(requirements for the quality of water as a foodstuff).
9. Low professional level of the graduates of the relevant
faculties of Russian universities, their isolation from the
European and world educational and scientific achievements.
For the first decade of the 21st century, Brazil had been showing commitment when it
came to diminishing climate change and taking action to reduce GHG emissions in the country.
However, this process has been moving backwards over the past years, and the current
government is striving for more deforestation in the Amazon as a way of development and for
less investment in sustainability. Actions such as the United Nations Conference on Environment
and Development, in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development showed
that Brazil was leading the way towards slowing down climate change, but the last few actions
taken by the brazilian government are in the opposite direction. This inversion is noted when
looking at the 2009 Law for the National Policy of Climate Change, which states :
Brazil will voluntarily reduce emissions by
36.1%-38.9% by 2020. These actions include the reduction in
deforestation in the Amazon (80%) and the Cerrado (40%),
restoration of grazing land, change in agricultural practices,
reduction in energy consumption (energy efficiency,
alternative energy sources, etc), stabilization of the share of
renewable energy sources in the energy matrix, increased use
of biofuels, etc.
Another issue presented as a priority for Brazil is disaster mitigation, since there is a
serious lack of fiscalization of companies that explore natural resources, which resulted in the
12 Paragraph thoroughly reproduced from research made by the Interamerican Development Bank entitled “BRAZIL:
Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change - Theoretical framework for the elaboration of IDB’s strategy in
Brazil” and can be found under:
natural disasters of Mariana and Brumadinho over the last 4 years, considered two of the biggest
environmental disasters to even occur. The water supply, housing situation and job security in the
region has never come back to a normal state. Besides these environmental disasters, there have
also been several landslides in urban areas, mainly in irregular housing built in insecure locations
which have caused many deaths. That being said, risk management and mitigation is also
essential for Brazil.
Despite being the programmed priorities for each BRICS country, these don’t necessarily
have to be the discussed topics in the 11th Summit. Since the committee is an open agenda, any
subject that can be tackled with the help of STI partnerships and improvements are welcome, as
well as means to strengthen STI collaboration in general.
1. Jair Bolsonaro, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil
1. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China
1. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India
1. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation
E. SOUTH AFRICA
1. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa
Science, Technology and Innovation are, undoubtedly, crucial to ensure further
development of the BRICS countries. As seen in the historical portion, especially in the Goldman
Sachs predictions, estimated growth for the five countries is ambitious and expected, as long as
the BRICS strengthen each other before the multipolar world order. That being considered, STI
can be a vehicle to guarantee this estimated development, managing economic growth,
sustainable practices and international collaboration. Some issues that can be improved with STI
are health, education, overpopulation, intellectual growth, military development and agricultural
The fact that there is an open agenda, for this subject and in a leaders meeting is proof
that this specific matter is of global importance and should be treated as a priority within the
BRICS. The open agenda is a way to freely guide the leaders, in a way that whichever subjects
each country wants to prioritize in the meeting, they are free to do so, in order to strengthen the
STI partnership within the BRICS.
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