BRICS Parliamentary Forum Addresses Key Issues to Strengthen Cooperation Among Member Parliaments

On the second and final day of the BRICS Parliamentary Forum (BRICS PF) Assembly, yesterday delegates broke into four discussion groups or commissions, each of which focused their discussions on different areas: the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), energy, climate change, and peace and security.

South African MP Mr Floyd Shivambu and the Brazilian Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, Mr Sόstenes Cavalcante, presented recommendations on behalf of the commission that discussed BRICS and Africa Partnership – Promotion and Acceleration of Regional Integration through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The recommendations and observations included:

* The current state of inter-African trade is low, and it is mostly with countries outside of the continent.
* A favourable visa regime and custom system that benefits Africa is required;
* Current infrastructure is not beneficial for trade within the continent;
* A single African air transport market, stock market, development bank and monetary fund are desirable.
* Quotas on exports, particularly for minerals, are needed.
* Illicit financial flows and aggressive tax avoidance must be prevented.
* Hydro-electric power and natural gas must become part of the continent’s power generation plan; and
* African countries should abolish visa requirements relating to trade and business.

The second commission focused on BRICS Energy Production: Just Transition from Coal to Hydrogen Energy and Renewable Energy. South African MP Mr Lusizo Makhubela-Mashele presented its recommendations.

* Parliaments should work towards a fair transition built on social and economic factors. For example, partnerships for power generation through renewables, should include a broad framework to include such things as skills transfer.
* There should be a balance between fossil, green and clean energies.
* The private sector should not be the only one that aids communities.
* There needs to be a clear roadmap for using hydrogen for renewables.
* The cost of job losses due to the move away from coal powered stations needs to be factored into the value chain.
* A broad framework for the move to renewables must be development for the continent.
* Member parliaments must recognise the reality of climate change and must work with the World Trade Organisation to mitigate its challenges.
* Member parliaments must draw lessons from China on how to develop technologies to support the transitional status of many African nations.

The third commission, represented by South African MP Mr Mkhuleko Hlengwa, discussed climate change and legislative responses to it in BRICS countries. In his presentation on the group’s discussion he said that climate change is a major challenge, but it is worse in developing countries that lack the resources to deal with its impacts. Legislative frameworks are needed to address its affects, he said, and the BRICS PF could in future share resources, both human and financial.

In addition, commission three called on all BRICS countries to harmonise their environmental laws and move from policy to implementation. The group also called on business to play a role in reducing emissions.

The rapporteur for commission four was a delegate from the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China. The question before them was: BRICS Peace and Security: Can Multilateralism Restore Peace and Security?

The commission reported that the current system of global governance is not working well and thus has failed to prevent turbulence around the world. The commission claimed that western countries manipulate developing countries and use sanctions as a tool for that manipulation. Meanwhile, BRICS countries present a vision for transforming the global order, through multilateralism, as a cornerstone to develop peace.

Currently, there is only one international order responsible for governing international relations, the United Nations. This unilateralism is concerning. BRICS PF must promote agile, representative, effective, efficient, democratic and accountable systems that represent the interests of the majority. “We are concerned about global conflicts, but they should be addressed in a peaceful and consultative manner.”

After all the commissions had made their reports, leaders of delegations from all member parliaments signed a memorandum of understanding. The Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation will host the 10th BRICS PF.

28 September 2023

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