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John Kirton1, Marina Larionova2
  • 1 University of Toronto, 100, St. George, Ontario, Toronto, Canada, M5S 1A1
  • 2 RANEPA, 11 Prechistenskaya naberezhnaya, Moscow, 119034, Russia

The First Fifteen Years of the BRICS

2022. Vol. 17. No. 2. P. 7–30 [issue contents]
At the first BRICS summit in 2009, its leaders of the major emerging market countries from different continents committed to build a democratic and transparent economic architecture, support the G20 efforts to reform the international financial institutions and restore growth and deepen intra-group cooperation. Since then, the literature on the BRICS has ranged from a harsh dismissal of the BRICS as a meaningless investment banker’s acronym to identifying it as a new power centre with a profound impact on the global economic order. 

This article offers an updated, systematic assessment of the BRICS evolving institutional dynamics, performance, and contribution to co-operation among its members of Brazil, Russia India, China and South Africa, and to global governance as a whole.  Using qualitative and quantitative methods, it identifies the major achievements of each of the BRICS’ 13 annual summits through the three five-year hosting cycles, the leaders agreement on 933 collective commitments and their countries compliance with them at a level of 77% overall. It highlights the Group’s agenda expanding into 34 subjects, the process of building the intra-BRICS institutionswith the New Development Bank as its hallmark and its extensive second tracknetworksincluding Business, Think Tanks and Academic, Trade Unions, Parliamentarian, Youth and Civil BRICS.

In its first 15 years the BRICS expanded and sustained its institutional dynamics, depth and performance, despite external and domesticchallenges, tensions between the members and the unprecedented tests of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing socio-economic crises since 2020.Established as a dialogue and policy coordination forum, it matured into a transregional governance institution with a comprehensive political-security, socioeconomic and people-to-people agenda. Its dense institutional networks, flexibility, continuity and foundational principle of moving forward only on issues acceptable to all members were vital factors for the BRICS resilience and evolution. Although broadening its agenda inhibited d eepening co-operation, there was considerable continuity across the annual presidencies. Progress on intra-BRICS cooperation was more tangible than that on international architecture reform, despite the Group’s unwavering commitment to an equitable international order. Itsconsensus-based working methods sometimes constrained the Group’s leadership. However the BRICS proved its value as a platform for facilitating its members’ bilateral relations and convergence in approaches, promoting their role in global governance and advancing a more inclusive, representative and effective international institutional system.
The article was written on the basis of the RANEPA state assignment research programme


Kirton J., Larionova M. (2022) The First Fifteen Years of the BRICS, International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 17, no 2, pp. 7-30 (in English).  

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