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BRICS 2014 BRASILBRICS 2014 Brasil – Fortaleza – Brazil
Heads of State (left to right) of Russia, India, Brazil, China, and South Africa
Photo Credit: Marcelo Camargo, Agência Brasil


The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is over. Brazil did not win the coveted cup. Their humiliating loss of seven to one goals in their semi-final match against Germany is a clear indication of the need for profound changes in Brazilian football. Changing heads will make no difference. As Otto Scharmer, a senior lecturer at MIT, said in his article on the Huffington Post Sports Blog, the Brazilian team needs to shift its focus to a shared awareness of the evolving whole. As Scharmer points out, it’s a challenge that we face in all sectors of society.

The day after watching the German team take away the World Cup, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff headed northeast to Fortaleza, Ceará, for the Sixth Summit of Heads of State of the BRICS group: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Since their inaugural summit in Russia on 16 June 2009, BRICS leaders have met annually to pursue their common goals for peace, security, development, and cooperation. Working within the framework of the United Nations, they continue to push for financial stability, sustainable growth, and quality jobs – globally and nationally.

The BRICS leaders expressed concern about tax evasion, transnational corporate fraud, failure of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to implement agreed reforms, and the World Bank Group’s lack of “international financial architecture.”

They also called for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations. With greater representation on the Security Council, they seek to ensure better response to global threats.

In my view, the greatest accomplishment at this Summit is their signed agreement establishing the New Development Bank, “with the purpose of mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging and developing economies.” This is good news for struggling Caribbean nations (see article by Sir Ronald Saunders). Will this move bring about needed reforms in the IMF and World Bank? We shall see.

Another important development is the signed Treaty for the establishment of the BRICS Contingency Reserve Arrangement. With an initial US$100 billion, this reserve fund aims to strengthen the existing global financial safety net. Will the casino-style, transnational financial institutions infiltrate or undermine this new support system?

After signing the Fortaleza Declaration and Action Plan on 15 July 2014, the five Heads of State and their teams headed for Brasília for a closed-door plenary session on July 16 with the Heads of State of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). As a member nation, Guyana’s President was also in attendance.

When you cannot play in the big league, you have to align yourself with other outsiders to build your own competitive team. The team holding the most trophies does not always win the tournament. A unified team, in which all players have equal weight and shared awareness of the evolving whole, makes all the difference for success. Here’s hoping that the BRICS team is just not another team with new heads, playing by the same failed rules and strategies.