Johannesburg: Decision-making in the United Nations needs to be democratised so that the global challenges can be addressed effectively, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the 14th BRICS Summit hosted virtually by China on Thursday. The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) virtual summit was attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and South African President Ramaphosa.
“Decision-making across the entire United Nations system needs to be democratised so that multilateral institutions can effectively address global challenges,” Ramaphosa said.
“We are concerned that the focus and resources of the international community have been diverted from other concerning conflicts and humanitarian crises” the president said, emphasising that urgent global issues like climate change and sustainable development were not being effectively attended to.
He did not mention any specific conflict areas, including the global crisis created by the war between BRICS partner Russia and Ukraine but said South Africa continues to call for dialogue and negotiation towards a peaceful resolution of conflicts around the world.
“We are here as the members of BRICS to affirm our shared desire for a world in which all people have a meaningful stake, in which all have equal opportunity, and from which all can benefit,” he said. “BRICS must play its important role in giving leadership to the world,” the president said.
Ramaphosa also called for greater cooperation in developing the economies of BRICS partners.
“We need to realise the great potential of our economic partnership to strengthen intra-BRICS trade, investment and tourism. Our combined economic strength should be a catalyst for sustainable global economic recovery,” he said, adding that BRICS provides a valuable platform to address the key challenges of the global South in partnership with like-minded emerging markets.
Ramaphosa also highlighted the cooperative efforts between the BRICS partners in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. “The BRICS response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated what can be achieved when we work together in the spirit of friendship, solidarity and responsibility. The launch of the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre in March this year will strengthen international health and science cooperation to prepare for future crises,” the President said, but he lamented the lack of support from other countries.
“It is a cause for great concern that the rest of global community has not sustained the principles of solidarity and cooperation when it comes to equitable access to vaccines. We call on developed economies, international agencies and philanthropists that procure vaccines to purchase from manufacturers in developing economies, including in Africa,” Ramaphosa said.
He concluded by stating that a High-level Dialogue on Global Development on the agenda at the Summit would be an important opportunity to form a common vision of a more inclusive, just and stable international order