Lavrov: BRICS ‘Can Become One of Pillars of New World Order’
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who will head the country's delegation at the upcoming BRICS summit, has written an article for South Africa’s Ubuntu magazine, in which he gave his thoughts “on the prospects for cooperation among the group of five countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in the current geopolitical context.”
At the beginning of his article titled “BRICS: Towards a Just World Order,” the top Russian diplomat singled out “tectonic shifts” that are taking place in present-day world
, with “the possibility of dominance by one country or even a small group of states disappearing.”
New Global Decision-Making Centers
Lavrov noted that “the model of international development built on the exploitation of the resources of the world majority to maintain the well-being of the ‘golden billion’ is hopelessly out of date”, something that he added “does not reflect the aspirations of all humankind.”
According to the Russian foreign minister, the international community is now witnessing “the emergence of a fairer multipolar world order” as “new centers of economic growth and of global decision-making on important political issues in Eurasia, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America are guided primarily by their own interests and assign paramount importance to national sovereignty.”
He stressed that “against this background they achieve impressive success in various areas”, amid attempts by "collective West" to reverse this trend with a view to preserving its own hegemony, which “have an exactly opposite effect.”
“The international community is tired of the blackmail and pressure from the Western elites and their colonial and racist manners. That is why, for example, not only Russia, but also a number of other countries are consistently reducing their dependence on the US dollar
, switching to alternative payment systems and national currency settlements. I recall the wise words of Nelson Mandela: ‘When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.’ And it truly is,” Lavrov emphasized.
Russia's Support for African Nations
Touching upon Russia, he touted it as “a civilization state” and “the largest Eurasian and Euro-Pacific power,” which “continues to work towards further democratization of international life, building an architecture of inter-state relations that would be based on the values of equal and indivisible security, and cultural and civilizational diversity, and would provide equal opportunities for development for all members of the international community with no one left behind.”
Lavrov cited Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying in his Address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on February 21, 2023 that "In today's world there should be no division into so-called civilized countries and all the rest […]” and that “there is a need for an honest partnership that rejects any exclusivity, especially an aggressive one." All this, the top Russian diplomat went on, “is in line with the Ubuntu philosophy, which advocates interconnectivity between nations and people.”
“In this context, Russia has consistently stood for strengthening the position of the African continent in a multipolar world order. We will further support our African friends in their aspirations to play an increasingly significant role in resolving the key problems of our time. This also applies in full to the process of reforming the United Nations Security Council, in which framework, in our deep conviction, first and foremost, the legitimate interests of developing countries, including in Africa, must be protected,” Lavrov underscored.
BRICS' Significance Nowadays
He added that “multilateral diplomacy does not stand aside from the global trends” and that “such a grouping as BRICS is a symbol of true multipolarity and an example of honest inter-state communication.” Within BRICS’ framework, “states with different political systems, distinctive value platforms and independent foreign policies effectively cooperate in various spheres
”, according to the Russian foreign minister.
“I think it is no exaggeration to say that the five BRICS countries are a kind of cooperation ‘network’ over the traditional North-South and West-East lines,” he noted, adding that the group “indeed” has “something to present” to its public.
Lavrov praised BRICS’ joint efforts “to create a culture of dialogue based on the principles of equality, respect for the choice of one's own developmental path and consideration of each other's interests," something that helps the organization “find common ground on and solutions even to the most complex issues.”
“The place and significance of BRICS today and its ability to influence the global agenda are determined by objective factors. The figures speak for themselves. The population of the BRICS countries is over 40% and the area of their territories exceeds a quarter of the world's land. According to experts' forecasts, in 2023 the five countries will account for about 31.5% of global GDP (at purchasing power parity), while the share of the G7 has fallen to 30% in this indicator,” the top Russian diplomat highlighted.
He added that currently, “the BRICS strategic partnership is gaining momentum” as the "Big Five" offers the world “creative, forward-looking initiatives aimed at achieving the sustainable development goals
, as well as ensuring food and energy security, healthy growth of the global economy, conflict resolution, and combating climate change, including by means of a just energy transition”.
Mechanisms to Help Solve BRICS-Related Priorities
In this vein, Lavrov referred to “an extensive network of mechanisms” that has been created to address the above-mentioned challenges.
“The Strategy for Economic Partnership 2025, which defines the benchmarks of cooperation in the mid-term, is being implemented. The BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform launched at the Russian initiative is operating successfully. The BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Center designed to help develop effective responses to challenges to the epidemic well-being of our countries has started its work. Initiatives on Denial of Safe Haven to Corruption, on Trade and Investment for Sustainable Development, and on Enhancing Cooperation on Supply Chains have been approved. The BRICS Strategy on Food Security Cooperation has been adopted,” he added.
Dwelling upon BRICS-related “unconditional priorities”, the Russian foreign minister noted that these include “strengthening the potential of the New Development Bank and the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement, improving payment mechanisms, and increasing the role of national currencies in mutual settlements,” issues that are expected to be high on the agenda of the 2023 BRICS Summit, which open in Johannesburg, South Africa on Tuesday.
Lavrov made it clear that BRICS members “neither seek to replace existing multilateral mechanisms, nor do they seek to become a new ‘collective hegemon’.” According to him, they “have consistently advocated the creation of conditions for the development of all states, which excludes the bloc logic of the Cold War and zero-sum geopolitical games.” He made it clear that “BRICS seeks to offer inclusive solutions based on a collective approach.”
“Building on that, we are consistently working to develop the BRICS interaction with the countries representing the world majority. In particular, one of the priorities of the South African chairmanship is strengthening cooperation with African countries. We fully share this approach. We are ready to contribute to economic growth on the continent and to strengthening security there, including its food and energy components. A striking example is the outcome of the Second Russia-Africa Summit held in St. Petersburg on July 27-28, 2023,” Lavrov stressed.
In this context, he went on, it is only natural that BRICS has many like-minded countries around the world, which perceive the group as a “positive force that can strengthen the solidarity of the Global South and Global East and become one of the pillars of a new, fairer polycentric world order.”
“The five countries stand ready to respond to this request. That is why we launched the expansion process. It is symbolic that it has gained such momentum in the year of South Africa's chairmanship, a country that has joined BRICS as a result of a consensus-based political decision. I am convinced that the XV Summit will be another milestone of BRICS strategic partnership and will determine the key priorities for the coming years. We highly appreciate the efforts of the South African chairmanship , including the intensified work to improve the entire constellation of BRICS mechanisms to deepen the group’s dialogue with other countries,” Lavrov concluded.