The foreign ministers of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) held a meeting on Tuesday and stressed the need to promote initiatives aimed at ensuring timely, affordable, and equitable access to, as well as the distribution of diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines.
In October last year, India and South Africa, along with 57 members of WTO proposed a waiver from certain provisions of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement for prevention, containment, and treatment of COVID-19.
The WTO Agreement on TRIPS is a comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property.
The meeting was chaired by External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar through video conferencing.
“The Ministers reaffirmed the need to use all relevant measures during the pandemic, including supporting ongoing consideration in WTO on a COVID-19 vaccine Intellectual Property Rights waiver and the use of flexibilities of the TRIPS agreement and the Doha Declaration on TRIPS Agreement and Public Health,” the BRICS foreign ministers said in a joint statement.
The meeting was attended by Brazil Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Alberto Franco Franca, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor.
Following the meeting, the ministers issued a 28-point joint statement on strengthening and reforming the multilateral system.
In the joint statement, the ministers noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has, over the past year and a half, manifested itself as one of the most serious global challenges in recent history and truly “effective and representative” a multilateralism is an essential tool for ensuring successful governance of matters of everyday life and promoting the well-being of people and a sustainable future for the planet.
Acknowledging the many achievements of the UN and its associated architecture, the ministers, however, noted that the world body’s continued success and relevance would be determined by its ability to adapt to the realities of today’s world.
They also acknowledged that the current interconnected international challenges should be addressed through a “reinvigorated and reformed” multilateral system.
The ministers emphasised the urgency of the revitalisation of the UN General Assembly so as to enhance its role and authority in accordance with the UN Charter.
The member countries also called for continued efforts to strengthen the system of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and agreements and to preserve its integrity for maintaining global stability and international peace and security.
They also stressed further the need to maintain the effectiveness and efficiency as well as the consensus-based nature of the relevant multilateral instruments in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control.
The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to broadening and strengthening the participation of emerging markets and developing countries (EMDCs) in the international economic decision-making and norm-setting processes, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They also reaffirmed that multilateralism should promote international law, democracy, equity and justice, mutual respect, right to development and non-interference in internal affairs of any country without double standards.
BRICS ministers also commended India and South Africa for their respective present and recent terms served in the UN Security Council and as well as recognised the candidacy of Brazil as a UN Security Council member for the 2022-2023 biennium.