The year of 2022 is destined to become a year with great significance, not only for China, as will be shown by the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) this autumn, but also for the international community longing for economic recovery, peaceful coexistence, and sustainable development. The 14th BRICS Summit and the High-level Dialogue on Global Development to be held on June 23 and 24, hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, are ready to lay down the foundation to meet the expectation and usher in a new era for global development with high-quality partnership. In his keynote speech to the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum, President Xi has called on BRICS countries, other members of international community, as well as business leaders, to fulfill the responsibilities to accelerate the implementation of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to steadily promote the implementation of Global Development Initiative, and to jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Security and development are two major concerns of the world nowadays, and according to President Xi, the way out is to further cooperation instead of deepening confrontation, with a channel provided by the BRICS. The concept of "BRICS+," first initiated by China in 2017 the last time it held the rotating chairmanship, has recently become a trending word and a mode for future collaboration and cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries, representing the firm rejection of unilateralism and strong call for multilateralism. Drawing upon the previous experiences and achievements, one can see clearly that the "BRICS+" mode not only works well for the member countries, but also offers inevitable and strong force for the global governance system that has already been shattered.
Since 2006, as foreign ministers of Russia, Brazil, India, and China had their first founding meeting while attending the United Nations general assembly that year, the BRICS countries (with South Africa formally joining the group in 2011) have made substantial progress in terms of collaboration and cooperation in areas such as infrastructure construction, grain security, clean energy development, environmental protection, poverty reduction, technological innovation, and people-to-people exchanges. What is more, the collaboration and cooperation mechanisms set by the BRICS have become an expanded platform, providing opportunities for most developing countries and other newly industrializing economies (NIEs) to meet the shared aspiration of all peoples.
Before 2017, the BRICS countries' dialogue with regional organizations and national leaders had accumulated some mature experience, and the "BRICS+" mechanism had made useful explorations since 2017, being a starting point of the "Golden Decade" for the group. For instance, the 2013 Summit in Durban of South Africa invited African leaders to participate in the dialogue; the 2014 Summit in Fortaleza of Brazil invited leaders of South American countries to join the dialogue; during the 2015 Summit in Russia's Ufa, a cross-regional summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS countries was held; during the 2016 Summit in Goa of India, a dialogue between BRICS leaders and the leaders of the member countries of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) were also held.
So it is reasonable to argue that the coining of the concept of "BRICS+" and the progress of "BRICS+" mechanisms are inseparable from China's active advocacy and vigorous promotion. Ever since Socialism with Chinese Characteristics entered a new era, Chinese leadership's willingness and ability to actively participate in the reform of the global governance system, advocate a new type of multilateral cooperation, and promote the development of the international political and economic system in a healthier, balanced and sustainable direction have been highly recognized by the international community.
As a new form of South-South cooperation that came into being in the discussion of the BRICS countries, the "BRICS+" has been taking more and more global influences. On the one hand, the "BRICS+" expands the impact of the BRICS mechanism, allowing more emerging markets and developing countries to share the opportunities brought by the BRICS; on the other hand, unlike the conventional military and political Alliances that have existed in this world for long time and thus lacked attractions to most NIEs, the "BRICS+" maintains certain flexibility and pragmatic arrangement, promoting the participation of all parties in international cooperation in a much more comfortable way.
Under the current circumstances, globalization is still a historical trend, which is urgent to obtain new momentum for further progress. The mechanism of dominating globalization by a single state or group of countries to maintain its hegemony is no longer feasible, and each member of the international community needs a new way of cooperation to contribute to globalization. In this sense, the "BRICS+" follows and conforms to the trend of history and offers a politically intelligent alternative.
In the past years, the scope and field of "BRICS+" mechanisms have been expanded extensively and intensively on a day-to-day basis. On the one hand, the countries participating in the "BRICS+" have broken through the regional level and extended to the rest of the world, becoming an important mechanism for BRICS countries to connect with other emerging markets and developing countries around the world. In 2021, the New Development Bank under the BRICS admitted Bangladesh, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay as new members. On the other hand, the "BRICS+" cooperation field is also becoming increasingly broader, including not only economic, trade, security, and politics, but also cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
With all the above-mentioned points being said, the "BRICS+" mechanism has always focused on the theme of development, making efforts to promote the implementation of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, maintaining global development, and uniting emerging markets and developing countries to become a positive force for steady and sustainable change in the international financial order.
In the context of the rise of unilateralism and protectionism, the "BRICS+" mechanism will firmly defend the value of globalization and follow the historical trend of economic globalization, multi-polarization and democratization of international relations, so as to grasp the development opportunities in the field of new industrial revolution such as digital economy, green economy, clean energy, and information technology.
Therefore, in this sense, the "BRICS+" mechanism bears the expectations of developing countries for promoting the reform of the international order and opens up a new path of multilateralism for mutual benefit, win-win and cooperative development.
（Xia Lu is an associate professor at the School of Marxism Studies and a research fellow at the National Academy of Development and Strategies, Renmin University of China.）
'BRICS+': High-quality partnership for high-level global development