INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS RESEARCH JOURNAL, 2022 (2) en-us Copyright 2022 Wed, 22 Jun 2022 22:21:05 +0300 The First Fifteen Years of the BRICS 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 Reframing the Debate over BRICS Beyond its Conceptual Origins The BRICS have commonly been framed through a strictly economic perspective, with a focus on the growth patterns of the individual members: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Judged in this fashion, the grouping is judged in a negative manner, with a sense of disappointment and frustration. Yet, framing the BRICS in a wider diplomatic context, the image of the BRICS is quite different, with an accent on several features that cast a more positive interpretation.  BRICS VSI highlighted these features in 2016.. And, notwithstanding some unanticipated developments that exaggerated the differences – and tensions – between the members of the BRICS, it is the staying power and pattern of evolution in a creative fashion of the BRICS club that stands out. Although overshadowed by other multilateral institutions, the achievements of the New Development Bank should not be downplayed. Moreover, the BRICS have developed problem (or even crisis) management techniques. As with other informal institutions with club-like attributes, some of these tensions were dealt with by avoiding issues that divided the members. Over time, though, this template has been complemented by more active forms of problem solving relating to internal differences.  China’s Leadership in BRICS Governance The BRICS is an international summit institution that provides a platform for the world’s leading emerging economies to discuss issues of global governance from a development-centered perspective. This article examines of China’s leadership role in the BRICS, drawing on quantitative indicators of China’s performance within the BRICS since its first summit in 2009, to the most recent summit in 2021. This article also develops a model of leadership based on quantitative performance measures of deliberation, decision-making, and compliance. This analysis shows that China is predominantly a facilitative and exemplary leader. Its leadership focuses on shaping BRICS discussions on its priority subjects, particularly development and macroeconomics, in addition to leading by positive example through achieving high compliance with its summit commitments. The BRICS Agenda on the Internet Governance The key features of the modern Internet governance system are its decentralized structure, inhomogeneous internal “geography,” and the diverse nature of its decision-making actors. These factors determine the complexity of the decision-making process on Internet governance-related issues. Under these conditions, the BRICS group of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa is viewed as a suitable platform to establish a common ground and align the interests of the participating countries on five key spheres of Internet governance: infrastructure development, legal matters, economic issues, development, and social and cultural perspectives. The goal of this article is to study BRICS’ approach to Internet governance. The study presents an analysis of the BRICS countries’ priorities regarding Internet governance and incorporates a panel data on BRICS’ commitments and decisions regarding the issue. Several conclusions on the BRICS approach to Internet governance were drawn: the most prominent sphere for BRICS cooperation is digital infrastructure development; considerable discrepancies exist among the BRICS states regarding managing Internet content that contribute to a lack of concrete decisions on social and cultural aspects of Internet governance; there is a step-by-step convergence of the BRICS counterterrorism and counter-extremism agenda with a broader issue of cybersecurity. The author assumes that the infrastructure component dominates the BRICS Internet governance discussion due to China’s influence, which gives it the potential to be one of the key players and agenda-setters within the BRICS, along with Russia. Steady incorporation of the counterterrorism and counter-extremism agenda into the cybersecurity discussion is strongly supported by Russia, in keeping with its declared national priorities regarding Internet governance. In the author’s opinion, it would be problematic for the BRICS to reach a collective decision regarding Internet content governance given the conflict of interests among the participating countries revealed by this analysis. The article was written on the basis of the RANEPA state assignment research programme Governing Climate Change at the G20 Rome and UN Glasgow Summits and Beyond How and why does the Group of 20 (G20) work, both alone and together with the United Nations (UN), to advance the effective global governance of climate change, especially in 2021 and beyond? G20 summit performance on climate change has increased since 2008 as measured by the six major dimensions of governance, but not by the results in net emissions reduced. G20 efforts to spur performance at subsequent UN climate summits has varied, from substantial at G20 Pittsburgh for UN Copenhagen in 2009, to limited at G20 Antalya for UN Paris in 2015, and to strong at G20 Rome for UN Glasgow in 2021. G20 efforts have been spurred by the physical climate shock-activated vulnerabilities experienced by G20 members in the lead-up to G20 and UN summits, especially from escalating extreme weather events, but have been constrained by diversionary shocks from finance in 2008–09, terrorism and migration in 2015, and COVID-19 in 2020–21. Also important were the personal commitments of, and domestic political support within, G20 and UN summit hosts, especially regarding the G20 and UN summits uniquely chaired by Group of 7 (G7) members Italy and the United Kingdom in 2021. Yet, the unprecedented combined G20-UN supply of global climate governance in 2021 fell even further behind the proliferating global demand to control climate change. To close the gap, the G20 should invite the heads of the major multilateral environmental organizations to participate in G20 summits, hold more environment ministers’ meetings each year, and mount an annual climate-focused summit at the UN General Assembly. Global Megatrend of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Digital Economy: How to Realize It with Smart Cities as a Practical Measure? The concept of the smart city represents the highest level of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR) along with smart phones, smart homes, and smart factories. in its trajectory and process. Therefore, most governments around the world have tried to build smart cities in order to strengthen their urban competitiveness and improve the quality of life for their citizens in the digital economy. North America, the European Union (EU), and Asia have already carried out several pilot projects to build smart cities based on private-led, public-private partnerships, and public-led strategies, respectively. Smart cities can improve overall problems and resolve difficulties by 10–30% on average, which is regarded as an overall benefit of smart cities. At the same time, they can contribute to labour force disruptions, digital discrepancies, and threats to social coherence and inclusiveness, all of which result in socio-economic and political costs. The author examines the roles smart cities can play in the digital economy and in the completion of the FIR and focuses on whether smart cities can contribute to the creation of new opportunities for global economic growth as a new industry in the digital economy. Last, but not least, it examines their challenges for transforming digitization and smartness in reality. Additionally, it highlights future perspectives from the FIR in practical manners. China's relations with Latin America and the Caribbean at the present stage In the "new era" of China’s foreign policy based on the concept of major power diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, Beijing has begun to change its attitude toward Latin America. In 2018, Xi Jinping officially invited Latin American countries to participate in the construction of the Belt and Road initiative, thereby bringing the region into the sphere of its global interests. This article is devoted to the study of the main directions of cooperation between China and the Latin American states and changes in the forms and instruments of Beijing's policy toward the region. The authors analyze the degree of involvement of Latin American states in the BRI and consider pros and cons of increasing China's influence in the region. The provisions of power transition theory form the methodological basis of the work, through the prism of which the U.S. factor in Sino-Latin American relations is examined. The final part of the article is devoted to the challenges facing Washington from the growing influence of China in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. The paper has been supported by the RUDN University Strategic Academic Leadership The UN-AU Partnership in Peacekeeping: Tendencies and Problems A strong partnership between the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) is essential to achieving strategic convergence and coherence as well as effective solutions to complex peace and security challenges in Africa. This article examines the UN-AU peacekeeping nexus through the research of peacekeeping operations in Africa. The author makes an attempt to analyze the key challenges in the UN-AU partnership for peacekeeping, including the lack of clear regulation of actions in conflict, despite attempts to develop common approaches to peacekeeping by the UN and the AU; necessity of establishing equal, full and constructive participation of women in the peacekeeping process; the problems in the relationship between the UN Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.The main objectives of the research article are to analyze the institutional structure of the African peace and security architecture, the evolution of the UN-AU partnership through the implementation of joint peacekeeping missions, the challenges to their cooperation, as well as to assess the effectiveness of UN-AU cooperation.Based on a structural analysis of the African security architecture, quantitative methods of assessment and comparative analysis of the UN and the AU statistics on partnership peacekeeping, as well as on women's participation in peacekeeping operations in Africa from 2003 to 2019, the voting patterns of the A3 countries to UNSC resolutions on African peacekeeping, the author concludes that there is a direct correlation between the deteriorating security situation in Africa and the level of strategic partnership between the UN and the AU; and that, in the long term, the priority will be to help national governments to prevent the causes of conflicts, which will make it possible to take into account the local specificities of African states in resolving and preventing conflicts. NATO’s Capabilities in Global Governance: on the Balkan SCENE In this paper, the development and status of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the Western Balkans is examined. NATO’s regional expansion can be considered a part of the general expansion of NATO to the East. Unhindered eastward progress lasted until 2006, when Russia came back on the Balkan scene with the strategic South Stream pipeline project. The unexpected appearance of a new actor led to an intensification of NATO’s membership expansion process. Further, Russia’s presence indirectly initiated other meaningful events on the peninsula, such as the self-declaration of Kosovo’s independence. Today, Russia remains the primary irritant for NATO and collective western policy on the Balkans. Allies put considerable pressure on regional actors to avoid closer economic and political ties with Moscow. There are apparent efforts underway to bring all kinds of interaction with the Russian Federation under overall control. Since 2014, local NATO members and candidates have pursued strongly pronounced anti-Russian policy.Russia relies on its traditionally strong relationship with the Balkan states. Moscow brings an alternative model of economic cooperation and development. Both bids raise questions. The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) has not proven its viability and effectiveness in either the medium- or the long-term perspective; regardless, it competes with a highly desired but elusive European Union (EU) membership. All this together requires more efforts from NATO and the West to maintain a dominating role and position in the region; it downgrades previously achieved capabilities in terms of global governance on the Balkan scene. The role of the World Customs Organization in the implementation of the World Trade Organization Agreement on trade facilitation The article examines the role of the World Customs Organization in the implementation of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (Agreement, TFA), which is one of the important areas of modern multilateral regulation of the international trading system. The article-by-article analysis of the Agreement and the Kyoto Convention, as well as an assessment of the potential and real impact of the WCO instruments on its implementation, was carried out. There is a lack of methods and a system of indicators for evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of such work, which does not allow assessing the quality and effectiveness of the activities carried out. A key issue in achieving qualitative changes in the implementation of the Agreement would be a detailed diagnosis of the state of affairs in developing and least developed countries, the specification and digitization of data on priority areas, volumes and deadlines for providing them with all types of assistance and support. In conclusion, the importance of adequate self-assessment by countries of their readiness for the implementation of the Agreement, the relevance of the development of the potential necessary for the implementation of the Agreement, as well as bilateral and multilateral cooperation with donors is substantiated. Proposals have been formulated to improve the work of WCO and WTO to ensure timely implementation of the Agreement. A Brief History of the G20 Institutional Dynamics (2008-2021) The Group of 20 (G20) brought together leaders of the key advanced and emerging market countries to manage the 2007–08 financial and economic crises, reform the international architecture, devise a new global consensus, ensure recovery, and promote strong, sustainable, and balanced growth.  Established as an anti-crisis mechanism and designated by its members as a premier forum for international economic cooperation, the G20 transformed into a global governance hub.   Since its first summit, the G20 has generated high expectations and has become a subject of research and assessment for analysists, mass media, and the general public. Each summit’s deliberations, decisions, and engagements have been scrutinized.  Critics of the G20 claim it has lost relevance and was not capable of responding to the degradation of multilateralism, or the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis it induced. In this article, the logic of historical institutionalism is applied to explore the confluence of dynamics in the G20’s evolution: demand for G20 leadership; agenda expansion and institutionalization; and legitimation, accountability, and engagements. It is concluded that the G20 changed global governance trends, creating a more inclusive global governance that integrates the G20’s own extensive and diverse cooperation networks with the networks of the other international institutions and engagement groups involved in G20 policy processes. The networked governance, alongside the rotating presidency, the Troika, and various outreach mechanisms, augment the G20’s authority and reduce the legitimacy gap perception. The benefits from the early decisions, established and expanding agenda, patterns of engagement, cognitive scripts, embedded ideas, and internalized norms became strong endogenous sources of stability, reinforced in positive feedback loops. Despite tensions between members, the value that the G20 provides and the global public goods it generates, real and expected returns, constitute significant incentives for the G20’s continued engagement, sustain its evolving dynamics, and consolidate its path-dependency. The downside of the G20’s resilience is its inability to undertake innovative initiatives in the wake of COVID-19 or to provide the powerful leadership the world needed to overcome the pandemic and the related economic and social crises. Notwithstanding these failures, the G20 remains the crucial hub of contemporary global economic governance. However, the lock-in may entail the risk of losing relevance to other institutions.The article was written on the basis of the RANEPA state assignment research programme