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The BRICS lead by example in global governance reforms

Two major multilateral agencies have elected BRICS candidates (that is, candidates from Brazil, Russia, India, China or South Africa) as their Directors-General in the last two months. Are we seeing signs of increased leadership in global governance from the BRICS countries ?

The significance of these two recent developments could go well beyond the WTO and UNIDO. It might be too far to argue that these are coordinated moves by the BRICS countries to replace the existing powers by inheriting the responsibilities in global governance, but one could certainly infer their intentions from their respective policy-makers’ statements.
The BRICS have long been very strong advocates of global governance reform. At their Durban summit in March, the leaders made a clear statement that the reform of the IMF should reflect the growing weight of their economies. Nevertheless, apart from campaigning for a fairer share of voting rights, it remains unclear how they want to reform global governance or to make their contribution to global public-goods provision.

Looking forward, it is encouraging to see some of BRICS countries proactively taking a leadership role in the provision of global public goods. The incoming Directors-General of WTO and UNIDO are also a ‘good fit’ in these organisations, providing balance between the global responsibility required, and the home country’s self-interests : Brazil being a ‘new Quad’ member in the WTO negotiations, and China being one of the most successful late industrialising economies. Questions remain, however, about whether the rest of the BRICS can continue to find their niche in providing global public goods, and therefore become constructive in global governance that both serves their domestic constituency and interests abroad.

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Publié le 6 août 2013