The BRICS Summit


David Adams | Transition to a Culture of Peace – TRANSCEND Media Service

1 Sep 2023 – The global divide between North and South widened this month at the summit of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) that took place in Johannesburg:

The complete BRICS Declaration, a major historic document, is published in full by media in South Africa, Brazil, China, South Africa, Russia, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, India, Nicaragua, Peru, and Colombia. But in Europe and North America, only alternative media and no major media has published the full text, as of a search in Google as of August 28.

Worse than that, the reports about the Summit by the major media of the North distorted its message with regard to the war in the Ukraine, in a way that continues to justify the actions of NATO.

Here is the paragraph of the BRICS declaration in this regard:

“9. We recall our national positions concerning the conflict in and around Ukraine as expressed at the appropriate fora, including the UNSC and UNGA. We note with appreciation relevant proposals of mediation and good offices aimed at peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy, including the African Leaders Peace Mission and the Chinese proposed path for peace.”

The BRICS approach to the war is correctly reported by media in India, Turkey and Brazil as follows:

The Print, India: BRICS countries to continue support efforts to end Russia-Ukraine conflict through dialogue: Ramaphosa

Anadolu Ajansi, Turkey: BRICS countries support mediation proposals to end Russia-Ukraine conflict

Government of Brazil: Speech by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during the Brics Summit open plenary session including the following: “The war in Ukraine highlights Security Council limitations. BRICS must act as a force towards understanding and cooperation. Our willingness is expressed in the contributions of China, South Africa and my own country to the efforts to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.”

The opposite approach is taken by the major media of the North:

Putting the words “BRICS” and “Ukraine” into the Google search engine for the dates of the conference and two days after, August 22-26, we find the following articles in media of the North which concentrate on Putin’s remarks instead of the Summit declaration.

New York Times: In Speech to BRICS Nations, Putin Again Blames West for Ukraine War

BBC: Putin blames West for Ukraine war after drone attacks on Russia

Radio France International: Sommet des Brics à Johannesburg: Vladimir Poutine justifie sa guerre en Ukraine

The question of the war in the Ukraine was a only a minor issue at the BRICS summit. In addition to the paragraph quoted above, there are 94 paragraphs in the Declaration, covering most of the major political and economic issues of our times.

The Declaration places BRICS initiatives in the context of the United Nations, include a paragraph calling for its reform to to increase the representation of developing countries in the membership of the Security Council. There are also references to the SDGs (Strategic Development Goals) of the UN and to its specialized agencies, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.

There is no mention of UNESCO, despite reference to its domains of education, science, culture and communication. For example, there is a reference to proposals made during the 10th Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Education, the BRICS Network University, the BRICS Science Technology and Innovation Steering Committee and the BRICS Working Group on Culture. Curiously, there is no reference to the communication initiative, reported recently in a CPNN article, at the Shanghai meeting of media organizations including representatives from Press TV,TeleSUR, RT and CGTN, and members of progressive media organizations such as Pan African TV, ArgMedios, and Brasil de Fato, and over 100 researchers and media professionals from China, Ghana, Zambia, South Africa, Brazil, and Russia seeking to develop an alternative to American and European dominance of the media.

Although the Declaration places BRICS within the existing context of the United Nations System, it also makes reference to many independent parallel initiatives such as the following:

BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group
BRICS Working Group on security in the use of ICTs
Action Plan 2021-2024 for Agricultural Cooperation of BRICS Countries
BRICS Digital Economy Working Group
BRICS Framework for Cooperation on Trade in Service
BRICS Alliance for Green Tourism
BRICS Intellectual Property Rights cooperation mechanism
BRICS Payment Task Force
BRICS Think Tank Network for Finance
BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement
BRICS Virtual Vaccine Research and Development Center
BRICS High-Level Forum on the Traditional Medicine
BRICS Working Group on Nuclear Medicine
BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation agreement
BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform
BRICS Youth Energy Summit
BRICS Youth Summit
BRICS Business Forum
BRICS Business Council
BRICS Women’s Business Alliance
BRICS Academic Forum
BRICS Think Tanks Council
BRICS Political Parties Dialogue
BRICS Sport Cooperation Framework
the BRICS Games
BRICS Urbanisation forum

As the BRICS expands and the American/European Empire begins to crumble, what will be the relation between the many BRICS initiatives and those of the United Nations? Will the United Nations be able to reform itself so that the Global South gains equality, or will the United Nations continue to be dominated by the US and Europe to the point that a new global organization will emerge to replace it?

This tension is most evident on the questions of war, peace and the global economy The United Nations, controlled by its Security Council, is unable to resolve the questions of war and peace, most recently, in the case of the War in the Ukraine. And the World Bank is unable to help the countries of the South. Can they be reformed or must they be replaced? Already the New Development Bank of BRICS begins to replace the World Bank.

The gulf between North and South is likely to increase even more next year when six more countries join the BRICS (Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran,Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), and the BRICS Summit is scheduled to take place in Russia.


Dr. David Adams is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment and coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. He retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the Director of the Unit for the UN International Year for the Culture of Peace.  Previously, at Yale and Wesleyan Universities, he was a specialist on the brain mechanisms of aggressive behavior, the history of the culture of war, and the psychology of peace activists, and he helped to develop and publicize the Seville Statement on Violence. Send him an email.

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