Debating Development Cooperation: The Future International Cooperation Policy Network Rio de Janeiro 2014

29 April 2014

In the events surrounding the BRICS academic forum in Rio de Janeiro March 2014, the Rising Powers in International Development (RPID) team at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) hosted the Future International Cooperation Policy Network, presenting key research findings on the BRICS and development cooperation. RPID and partners presented the recent BRICS country studies and thematic cross-cutting studies, engaging with partners and representatives across North and South to discuss the future of development cooperation policy.

The Future International Cooperation Policy Network took place from 17-21 March in Rio de Janeiro, gathering researchers and policy experts from the IDS and around the globe. The IDS Rising Powers in International Development programme co-hosted the programme of events with partners Articulação SUL, BRICS Policy centre and the Rio+ World Centre for Sustainable Development.

Organisations and institutes from around the world gathered to participate in a series of workshops, meetings and discussions centred around ‘The State of the Debate in the Rising Powers and the changing face of international development cooperation’.

The Partner Event on the 17th was hosted by the BRICS Policy Center, Botafogo. 'Beyond North and South: the BRICS and the future of development cooperation' brought together representatives from ‘traditional’ and ‘emerging’ donor countries in a series of roundtables to explore the changing landscape of development cooperation, and examine the role of aid and private investment in development.

The RPID hosted a series of research meetings on the 18th and 19th, which synthesised the main findings and results from five 'State of the Debate' country studies conducted by IDS and partners in the BRICS, evaluating the modalities and the discourse surrounding development cooperation in the five BRICS states. Other panel events also joined authors of the cross-country thematic studies with international partners and experts to debate topics including the role of civil society in the BRICSeconomic engagement with Africathe role of Business in development, and the climate change and sustainability. The Future International Cooperation Policy Network (FICPN) dialogue debated the implications of these findings for global development cooperation policy.

Other events focused on the Green Transformation and the role of mutual learning in sustainability in the BRICS; China and Brazil in African Agriculture, and on the role of Civil Society in development policy, co-hosted with partners in the Rio+ Centre for Sustainable Development and with Articulação SUL. 

“We generated some fantastic, in-depth research through the five State of the Debate studies,” says Alex Shankland, who contributed to the Brazil country studies and led research in the BRICS civil society study.

“This was an opportunity to present our findings, to share discussion and research on the Rising Powers with partners in the BRICS. We think of the BRICS as a bloc, but there are vast differences in the nature and in the discourse surrounding development cooperation in the five countries.”

“What we saw at Rio was that despite common threads and ideals of South-South cooperation, there is still a lot of mutual learning to be generated between the BRICS, and they are keen to learn from each others’ experiences. The next question is what can we from the North learn from the BRICS?”