‘Rising powers’ in international development: Building an agenda for collaboration
Researchers and policy specialists from the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and beyond gathered together for a workshop earlier this month to mark the launch of IDS’ Rising Powers in International Development programme.
Poverty reduction in low-income countries is increasingly influenced by the ‘rising powers’, a category that includes the BRICS countries along with regional powers such as Mexico and Indonesia. The new IDS flagship programme, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), will examine the mutual benefits of collaboration between these countries, as well as the financial, ideological, knowledge, and development assistance footprints of the rising powers in international development.
The workshop aimed to develop an innovative, co-constructed agenda for work on the nature, scope and impact of the BRICS countries’ contribution to international development across three themes – research, teaching and policy engagement – in order to better understand and shape future development policy. Speaking at the workshop, IDS Director Lawrence Haddad highlighted the importance of collaboration saying, ‘We must work together to solve global issues in a globally constructed forum’.
From recipients to donors: How are the BRICS reshaping international development cooperation?
What do the BRICS think the principles of international development cooperation should be? How is the international aid architecture changing? How are practice, learning and teaching, and policy in international development cooperation affected by these changing paradigms? These were just some of the questions tackled by workshop participants in their discussions examining how the rising powers differ from established donors, and what impact this has on international development.
Participants discussed the new and emerging partnerships in, with, and amongst the BRICS and other rising power countries, exploring topics including:
- South-South Cooperation and how this has been framed by different actors;
- the aid-effectiveness versus development-effectiveness debate;
- agriculture, agri-business and the control of natural resources;
- the role of business and the private sector in development; and
- the role of the rising powers in sustaining global public goods, such as climate change mitigation.
Views from the BRICS
Presentations from researchers and policy specialists from the BRICS highlighted common issues across these countries, whether they are creating new relationships with low-income countries or reshaping existing ones. Participants were unanimous in voicing the need for more research on Southern-driven development cooperation. This includes collecting reliable data on the various financial flows not currently classified as development assistance, as well as understanding the new flows of ideas, policies and people.
Participants discussed the need to consider broader issues of social justice, while recognising that economic development is currently central to the BRICS development agenda. ‘China focuses more on economic collaborations because it realises the value of the BRICS countries and how their relationships can be mutually beneficial’, said Dr Huo Jianguo, President of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC).
Dr Sachin Chaturvedi, Senior Fellow at Research and Information Systems for Developing Countries (RIS) in India echoed this, ‘The BRICS have a larger concept of aid whereby they are not just giving hand-outs, but are also bringing and generating economic activities such as business. The bottom line of this development compact and South-South cooperation is that there is a mutual gain.’
The workshop identified potential collaborations in a number of fields, including agriculture, health, trade and investment, global public goods, private sector development and social policy. As an overarching theme, it also highlighted the value of learning from the BRICS’ successful policy innovations and exploring their potential contribution to low-income countries.
To find out more, visit the Rising Powers in International Development programme webpage or contact the team at email@example.com.
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