The BRICS Civil Forum is a discussion platform for civil society of the BRICS countries. It serves to consolidate the citizens’ priorities for the BRICS agenda as well as to present civil initiatives with the prospective to include them into the Agenda of the BRICS Leaders’ Summit. The BRICS civil society proposals provide the leaders with an opportunity to look at the problems from the viewpoints of different groups of the population, put the peoples’ needs at the heart of the BRICS agenda and make the decisions more legitimate.
Civil BRICS as an innovative political process was launched in 2015, the year of the Russian Presidency. As its main objective, the Civil BRICS aimed to ensure a constructive dialogue between the representatives of the civil society of the BRICS Member States and the guest countries with the decision-makers on the most important social issues – healthcare, education, culture, development, urban problems, finance, conflicts resolution and economy. The First Civil Society Forum took place in Moscow June 17-19, 2015. The Forum hosted 400 participants, of which 200 came to the Forum through the Fellowship Programme supported by the Russian Government.
The Indian edition of the BRICS Civil Forum, held in Delhi in 2016 continued the efforts of building a space for civil society engagement with the BRICS. The New Delhi 2016 Forum deliberated on effective implementation of SDGs and the need to develop a robust monitoring and evaluation framework as well as follow-up and review. It called for deepening and widening of South-South cooperation in achieving these global goals. Issues such as global governance and development finance; inclusive multilateralism; quality of economic growth; health and malnutrition; youth livelihood, skills and education; human security, peace and justice; sustainable urbanization; and climate change and vulnerability were deliberated. The Forum strongly advocated for institutionalizing mechanisms for civil society engagement.
The Chinese Presidency hosted the third Civil BRICS Forum in Fuzhou on 10-12 June, 2017. The theme of BRICS Summit was “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”. In keeping with this theme, the Civil BRICS Forum was convened to “pool wisdom and strength for common development and a brighter future”. Civil Society discussed the “guiding role of political parties in promoting cooperation”, new ideas for cooperation and “stronger people-to-people bond for better cooperation”. The recognition and support from the Chinese leadership in 2017 was undoubtedly a step further in inclusion of civil society organizations in BRICS dialogue and engagement.
The Civil Society Organizations held the Civil BRICS Peoples’ Forum on 25-27 June 2018 in Johannesburg. The aim of the forum was to present diverse Civil Society voices, including those of communities to the South African government to feed into the deliberations at this 10th Heads of State BRICS Summit. The Civil BRICS put forward policy proposals in areas such as Land, Mining, Agriculture; Inclusive Economic Development, Climate Change, Gender and Inequality, Peace and Security, Youth as well as the New Development Bank – with an emphasis on the everyday realities and challenges faced by the ordinary community members at grassroots level in all the BRICS countries.
The 2020 Engagement will seek to achieve the following goals:
- Consolidation of a permanent platform of the civil society within BRICS in order to entrench the past achievements and to promote BRICS values and principles;
- Large-scale involvement of the civil society representatives from the member and outreach states into BRICS civil process;
- Generation of the civil society result-oriented consensus-based recommendations on the agenda of the Forum and their submission to the leaders of the BRICS countries;
- Providing constructive dialogue between the civil society organizations and the expert community, businesses and governments within the BRICS activities.
Civil BRICS interaction formats will include:
- civilbrics.ru The website will provide information and news on Civil BRICS’s activities in Russian and English languages;
- On-line consultations within the international working groups moderated both by the Russian co-chair and national co-chairs;
- Face-to-face consultations for national representatives of the working groups in round tables, workshops, and international teleconferences;
- Civil BRICS Forum. The BRICS Civil Forum will bring together up to 200 representatives of the civil society of the BRICS member states and guest countries. The Forum will accommodate an exhibition of civil initiatives, open discussion forums, working groups meetings, expert panel discussions and plenary sessions.