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People’s Summit on BRICS from 18th to 22nd October, 2021

Register here to participate in the online summit: 


As the 13th BRICS Summit was recently held and chaired by India, the People’s Forum on BRICS (a network of people’s movements, progressive civil society organizations, and trade unions) is convening a 5-day online People’s Summit on BRICS from 18th to 22nd October, 2021.

The People’s forum on BRICS in response to the official summit which failed in living upto the principles of people’s issues and their participation, will create a space where a network of people’s movements, progressive civil society organizations, and trade unions from across the BRICS nations to discuss, analyze, question, and seek alternatives to the agendas that are being undemocratically pushed in our countries and to discuss and challenge the positions that BRICS grouping is placing at international forum. The Forum is being held in India for the second time, the first being in 2016 in Goa, when the official Summit was held in Goa. But due to COVID, the forum has been moved online.

The People’s Forum will attempt to raise critical voices from marginalised sections on social, ecological, political and economic concerns that are often ignored at inter-governmental processes such as BRICS. The focus is to build solidarities across borders among social movements, progressive civil society organizations and to advance an alternative model of development that puts people before profit.

The BRICS bloc, initially envisioned as an association of emerging economies to challenge the economic & financial clout of developed western economies, of the dollar supremacy, and developmental suzerainty of the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO, has over time done very little to disrupt the status quo. The nations in the bloc are characterized by complex socio-political realities, supremacist ideologies, ethno-nationalist compulsions, divergent economic and political trajectories, profound inequalities, in the wider background of the climate crisis. These diversities have stymied rather than strengthened the resolve of BRICS’ mandate of transforming global economic governance based on principles of equitability by being more receptive to the interests of developing nations. In other words, it is seemingly mirroring the very global actors it had purportedly stood up to challenge.

Through the 5 days there will be discussions on seven broad thematic areas in the context of BRICS nations including Pandemic and Disaster Resilience; Geo-economics & Economic Partnership; Geo-politics, Gender, Energy, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Labour Rights and Social Justice.

The Inaugural Plenary will take place on 18th October, 2021 and the thematic sessions will take place on 19th, 20th, 21st October, 2021 and the forum will draw to a close with the Closing Plenary happening on 22nd October, 2021. The schedule for all the sessions with joining and registration details can be found on the official website (https://peoplesbrics.wordpress.com/). The events are open for all the members of the public. Those interested can register on this link for all the sessions (tinyurl.com/peoplesbrics-2021-register) and can register for individual sessions on the website.

Link to the Program Schedule:

Peoples’ Forum on BRICS

Website: https://peoplesbrics.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peoplesbrics/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter: @PeoplesBrics

BRICS Summit: People’s Forum calls it “lost opportunity” 

Civil Society Groups to hold People’s Forum on BRICS in October 2021

New Delhi, September 10:

The 13th BRICS Summit, chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended by Brazil President Jair Bolsanaro, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chinese President Xi Jinping was held in a virtual format yesterday. While the summit’s focus was on the pandemic, multilaterliam and counter terrorism, activists state that the summit was exclusionary, failing to address complex issues facing the world today and BRICS countries.

As a response to the official summit which failed in living upto the principles of people’s issues and their participation, the People’s Forum on BRICS is organising a week-long online people’s summit, to discuss the concerns and challenges facing the BRICS nations and its people in October, 2021.

Amid the raging pandemic wrecking havoc to the lives and livelihoods of millions, the summit did not  address the systemic failures of the healthcare systems across countries. A transparent and scientific  process to understand further mutation of the virus to fight it was not mooted at the summit.

Activists stated that the official summit process has completely sidelined the people and their concerns. Madhuresh Kumar, National Convener of National Alliance for People’s Movements, India said; “In these times of climate and health crisis what we need is true people to people interaction and solidarity and genuine efforts at solving the world’s problems. BRICS countries together account for a significant mass of humanity and at this historical juncture unfortunately narrow politics is taking precedence over people’s lives and their democratic aspirations.”

As healthcare systems collapsed, economies took a huge hit too, barring China, every other BRICS country has gone into the negative terrain of growth. The pace of recovery remains sluggish although BRICS decided to strengthen its collective efforts to address the economic and financial slide. The absence of a concrete action plan has once again questioned if the original mandate of BRICS to challenge the western dominion of finance would actually be realizable.

 Patrick Bond,  scholar-activist based in Johannesburg said, “Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro favoured the restrictive World Trade Organisation rules protecting Big Pharma and intellectual property,  Russia’s Sputnik vaccine profit potential left Vladimir Putin quiet. As a bloc, the BRICS did not offer formal support to South Africa and India’s bid to waive intellectual property, and the supposed BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre announced at the 2018 summit in Johannesburg remains a myth.”

The process of Civil BRICS has also been a complete sham. Priti Darooka from the BRICS Feminist watch pointed out failures in engaging with the civil society. She stated, “India as the host this year for the BRICS Summit had the opportunity as the largest democracy to expand and build Civil BRICS as a platform for a true, meaningful and engaged participation of civil society — people to people — from BRICS.  Unfortunately, Civil BRICS this year was a total disappointment.  Firstly, it was the best kept secret that no one knew about. And secondly, it was shrunk to a panel with only a couple of civil society representatives from just one country and totally coordinated by the government.”

Responding to the official Summit Patrick Bond, said, “These BRICS are ‘spalling,’ which as any builder fears, signals that the masonry is deteriorating and chunks are falling off a wall. We’re in a time the world desperately needs a strong front against Western imperial powers, especially so as to combat the climate catastrophe and COVID-19 vaccine apartheid. There were no emissions-cut announcements and of the 7000 words, only a handful addressed the world’s most serious crisis: climate catastrophe.”

The People’s forum is being jointly organised by Trade Unions, Civil Society Organisations.  In 2016, the People’s Forum on BRICS took place in Goa prior to the official summit and was attended by more than 700 people including activists from various BRICS countries. There were similar peoples’ forums parallel to the official BRICS Summit in Durban in 2013, Fortaleza in 2014, Hong Kong in 2017, Johannesburg in 2018 and Brasilia in 2019.


For More Information Contact:

Anuradha Munshi: +919792411555

Sumedha Pal:+9711055753

Email: peoplesforumonbrics@gmail.com

Solidarity Statement from India At People’s Dialogue, Cape Town on 31 March 2019

Solidarity Statement from India

At People’s Dialogue, Cape Town on 31 March 2019

In response to BRICS-led New Development Bank’s 4th Annual General Meeting in South Africa

The BRICS led NDB (New Development Bank) is being promoted as an institution that serves as developing economies’ healthy and essential alternative to undemocratic International Financial Institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and International Finance Corporation that are controlled by western powers. We reject such rhetoric and assert that the $100 billion NDB is designed and structured to function equally undemocratically. NDB invests in projects that do not conform with necessary environmental and social safeguards. Consequently, billions of dollars invested by NDB in critical sectors such as energy, road building and urbanization is causing extensive environmental and social impacts. We know, as a result, South Africa, a huge recipient of NDB loans, has become a site for corporate land grabs which is resulting in massive loss of livelihoods and displacement of rural and urban communities, along with rampant corruption. The prime examples of these as we understand are Eskom, Transnet and the Development Bank of Southern Africa who are among the most notorious of South Africa’s corrupt, climate-change-causing and non-consultative firms.

IFIs have systematically disrupted evolution of democratic governance forcing Governments to implement regressive policies, legislation and schemes, commodify and financialise land, essential services and food production systems, which attack environment, food security and labour. They are gaining significant access to sovereign decision-making processes. They operated with legal immunity until recently when the US Supreme Court issued a judgement in the suit filed by Indian fishing communities against IFC that IFC is not above law. This immunity had always encouraged them to finance projects without a proper appraisal of their environmental and social impacts, and due diligence of their financial and economic consequences. IFIs typically invest in massive projects in critical sectors. A slew of such highly destructive and economically disastrous mega projects in India include Industrial corridors – Bharatmala (roads and highways expansion project), Sagarmala (creating sea-routes linked to tens of new ports), bullet train, and smart cities. The massive scales of such projects have little to do with need and necessity. Very often, a network of transnational corporations are the beneficiaries of the massive contracts that ensue. We understand it’s a way of making money out of money. The result of such development is systemic human rights violations, social disruption, and environmental destruction. And, these mega projects typically end up in massive financial losses and lead to devastating economic instability in regional and national economies. Communities in farms, coastal areas and cities are uprooted in the process, accentuating impoverishment and unemployment at massive scales. People end up burdened with crippling debts merely to survive.

Further, outsourcing the formulation of critical policies of a country relating to labour, food security, defence, water, land, farming, etc., to a variety of think-tanks and foreign consultancies work to maximise corporate control over peoples’ lives and natural resources. Institutions of democracy and decision-making of a country, such as the Parliament, are kept in the dark and global financial powers are making deep forays into sovereign decision making. Moreover, the aggressive privatisation of essential services such as electricity, water, health, food supply, public transport and education, is causing a rapid escalation of the living cost of the majority population.

Communities on the frontlines of resistance to mega undemocratic and destructive projects are facing extreme forms of violence and terror and becoming victims of systemic abuse of executive power of the State. Instead of responding to popular and people’s genuine demands, when farmers, Adivasis, Dalits and workers organise to demand just action by the State, they have often been met with state repression. The present social upheaval in India and a range of arrests of dissenters, writers, cultural and social activists across India based on fabricated cases are indicative of increasing repression.

Social movements and peoples organisations representing Adivasis, Dalits, indigenous peoples, women, farmers, fisherfolk, forest workers, hawkers, artisans, unorganised workers and civil society from across India, together with solidarity groups from India resolve that undemocratic International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have no role in a democratic polity, and therefore need to be shut down. These institutions, including NDB, trample on peoples’ rights, disregard national sovereignty, tear into the very fabric of constitutionally guaranteed governance and thus undermine India’s economic and political security.

We pledge in solidarity with the peoples’ movements, communities and civil society groups of South Africa, at this occasion of People’s Dialogue at Cape Town, to resolve to tirelessly work against subordination of governments to corporate power, against exploitation of human and natural resources, against discrimination, against social, economic and environmental injustices, against corruption, loot and violence.

We will continue resisting the prevailing financial hegemony of undemocratic and unaccountable financial institutions such as the BRICS-led NDB. We resolve to push for people-centred alternatives in all sectors of the economy and to advance an inclusive model of development in which finance and infrastructure support the vulnerable and the poor communities.

We continue remaining dedicated to building a society based on democratic and secular principles that ensure freedom, equality, equity, dignity, fraternity, love and respect for all

We continue remaining dedicated to building a society based on democratic and secular principles that ensure freedom, equality, equity, dignity, fraternity, love and respect for all, deeply respecting Mother Earth’s rights.

Signed by,

  1. Medha Patkar, Social Activist, Narmada Bachao Andolan and National Alliance of People’s Movements
  2. Ashok Choudhary, All India Union of Forest Working People
  3. Saktiman Ghosh, National Hawkers Federation
  4. Ulka Mahajan, Social Activist, Sarvahara Jan Andolan
  5. Xavier Dias, Former Editor, Khan Kaneej Aur ADHIKAR (Mines minerals & RIGHTS)
  6. Peter, National Fishworkers Forum
  7. Working Group on IFIs, India
  8. FAN-India – Financial Accountability Network India
  9. Rajendra Ravi, Director, Institute for Democracy and Sustainability
  10. Sreedhar Ramamurthy., Environics Trust
  11. PT George, Intercultural Resources, Delhi
  12. Gautam Bandyopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha and Peoples Alliance in Central East India
  13. Vimal Bhai, Convenor, Matu Jan Sangathan and National Convenor, National Alliance of People’s Movements
  14. Soumya Dutta, Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha
  15. Vijayan MJ, Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy
  16. Leo Saldanha, Environment Support Group
  17. Anil Tharayath Varghese, Delhi Forum
  18. Usman Mangi, Machimar Adhikar Sangarsh Samiti
  19. Kalyani Menon-Sen, Independent Researcher and Feminist Activist
  20. Madhuresh Kumar, National Alliance of People’s Movements
  21. Bilal Khan, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan
  22. Sanjeev Kumar, Dalit-Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch – DASAM
  23. Tani Alex, Centre for Financial Accountability
  24. Ajay Kumar Jha, Pairvi- Public Advocacy Initiatives for Rights and Values in India
  25. Priya Pillai, Social Environmental Activist
  26. Vidya Dinker, Social Activist, Karavali Karnataka Janabhivriddhi Vedike
  27. Ovais Sultan Khan, Human Rights Activist
  28. Rajkumar Sinha, Chutka Parmanu Virodhi Sagarsh Samiti
  29. Willy D’Costa, INSAF – Indian Social Action Forum
  30. Linda Chhakchhuak, Grassroots Options – Independent Journalist
  31. Krishnakant, Activist, Pariyavaran Suraksha Samiti Gujarat
  32. C. Ramachandraiah, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad
  33. Meera Sangamitra, National Alliance of People’s Movements
  34. Vijay Kumar, Social and Political Activist, CPI-ML Red Star Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
  35. Himanshu Damle, Public Finance Public Accountability Collective
  36. Chennaiah Poguri, General Secretary of AP VV Union India and National Agricultural Workers Forum
  37. Maglin P., Activist, Theeradesha Mahila Vedi Kerala
  38. Bharat Patel, Machimar Adhikar Sangarsh Sangathan Gujarat
  39. Awadesh Kumar, Srijan Lokhit Samiti Madhya Pradesh
  40. Ram Wangkheirakpam, Indigenous Perspectives, Manipur
  41. Rajesh Serupally, Freelance Researcher and Journalist




BRICS 2017 Offers Nothing New

By Tani Alex

For those closely looking at the trajectories of IFIs, especially the current trends of the New Development Bank (NDB) or the BRICS Bank, well, it’s all pancakes and fritters with news of NDB and BRICS Xiamen Summit all around.

The Bank, with 11 projects of over $1.5 billion already in their sack within a span of two years of their establishment, is targeting to lend $2.5-3 billion this year for ‘sustainable infrastructure’ ventures. In the last few weeks, BRICS witnessed saw a host of activities: NDB’s first regional centre opened in Johannesburg, South Africa; the interim sense of political ease happened between India and China on the Dokhlam issue just a few days before the Summit; the bloc again reinforced south-south cooperation by declaring to focus on the projects in Africa and Latin-America; their first project-financed firm commenced operations at Shanghai Lingang Distributed Solar Power Project (100 MW).

Now that the BRICS teammates have officially drawn the curtains at the finale this week at Xiamen, in their perpetual quest to overturn the western economic order, what were their projected takeaways placed side by side with their subtle agendas?

For our ease, let’s start with the first letter in the acronym coined by Jim O’ Neill of Goldman Sachs. Brazil, slouched under the pressure of staggering recovery from recession and joblessness, urged for economic cooperation in global markets.

Russia wanted to sign an intergovernmental agreement for international information security and did not hesitate to mention its initiative to establish an energy research platform for joint energy investment. They were also candidly advocating against global trade protectionism and for an open multilateral trade system.

Back here, India insisted on a medley of items—stronger cooperation in the financial sector and investment in private entrepreneurship to cater to the financial needs of ‘sovereign and corporate’ entities. Tenacious partnership with International Solar Alliance, birthed by both India and France, was also emphasised upon for ‘mutual gains’ through a comprehensive solar energy utilisation (read further exploitation of land resources for solar parks). Further India displayed vanity in having discovered digital economy as the tool for spurring economic growth and to attack corruption through demonetisation. While the World Bank and International Monetary Fund lauded this move, the citizens, independent experts, and local and international media criticised the reckless experiment thrust down to the country. In fact, RBI’s Financial Year report also indicated towards the monumental failure of the senseless decision. Media reports clamour on the resolution of the member nations to together fight corruption with a dedicated Anti-Corruption Working Group. Well, wait, did we hear anti-corruption? Does this also apply to the leaders of these nations as well, or to the higher management of their extolled NDB? We are reminded of Oscar Wilde, who said that the only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.

With the newly-begun construction of NDB headquarters in Shanghai last week and the sprouting AIIB with 80 members in its kitty, China, which who chaired this year’s Summit, did not miss time in laying bare its agenda – promoting its star project Belt Road Initiative (BRI), which linked its vital China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as well. During the Summit, China did not address its differences with India, which boycotted the BRI meeting earlier in May.

Further, China reiterated the idea of ‘BRICS Plus’ to invite more emerging developing economies to expand BRICS. Towards this end, China also invited leaders of Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan, and Thailand for dialogues on south-south cooperation and global development. It looks like China is on a high to alter the prevailing financial order and form a new open economic order, while critics point towards China’s discriminatory policies and trade barriers to favour local economy.

South Africa, the chair for next year’s Summit, elated by the opening of NDB’s regional centre, shared a concerted approach against global terrorism, while also listing out its goal of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 Africa Union. Interestingly NDB’s only project in South Africa, a $180 million renewable energy project with Eskom, was rejected by the Government. When asked about the rejection, NDB’s Vice-President Leslie Maardop explained that the economic slowdown in the country melted the demand for electricity bringing it to a dip and that South Africa did not need new power supplies.

Let’s also quickly glance at other developments of this week, encapsulated here. The idea of BRICS credit ranking agency, which was pushed by India in Goa last year, was discussed again. Further, resilience and the ability of central banks of member nations to foster cooperation between Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) and IMF was stressed by India. It is interesting to note here that earlier we were made to believe that CRA is an arrangement competitive to IMF and that it did not require dollar denominated IMF backing?

Another curious development during this Summit was the discussion to develop BRICS’ crypto currency, in line with its earlier agreement on lending in local currencies and settlement mechanisms. One wonders, why did the countries, especially China and India, ignore the foresightedness of their central banks, which recently cautioned against virtual currencies?

In retrospect, every year there are tall claims and forged partnerships under the façade of bilateral and multilateral talks among the BRICS members. However, it seems that no member country has given any deliberate and honest assurances pertaining to the human development—not in the parameters of amassing wealth, expanding economic markets or filling the ‘gap’ in infrastructure development alone, but that kind of an integrated growth which carefully avoids human exploitation, political manipulation, natural and human resource extraction, and devastation of natural environments.