India on Thursday convened the virtual 13th BRICS Summit.
Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa make up BRICS and they were all represented by their leaders Jair Bolsonaro, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, Xi Jinping, and Cyril Ramaphosa respectively.
In his opening address, South Africa’s Ramaphosa reminded the grouping of how working together as they have done during the Covid-19 pandemic they can achieve more.
“We are meeting in unprecedented times. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on human life, livelihoods,
economies and communities around the world,” said Ramaphosa
“As much as we have known sorrow and hardship, we have also known solidarity and cooperation.
“Our collective response has demonstrated what can be achieved when we work together.”
Ramaohosa said all tracks of “our BRICS cooperation” have been orientated towards concrete responses to the pandemic.
“As the BRICS countries, we must continue to safeguard people’s lives and livelihoods, support global economic recovery and enhance the resilience of all our public systems,” said Ramaphosa.
“We must ensure equal access to Covid-19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.
“We each need to contribute our fair share to the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator and support the TRIPS waiver at the WTO to ensure a rapid expansion of Covid-19 vaccine production across the world.
“We welcome the decision of our Ministers of Health to operationalise a virtual BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre.”
The South African president said the pandemic has “reinforced our belief” that representative multilateralism is key to a sustainable future for all.
Ramaphosa welcomed the joint statement on strengthening and reforming the multilateral system issued by BRICS foreign ministers in June.
“We call on BRICS to be equally bold and determined in seeking reform of the United Nations Security Council, among other things to enable Africa to take its rightful place among the collective of nations in this crucial body,” said Ramaphosa.
“We are now in the final decade towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We must remain focused on the attainment of better health outcomes, while also pursuing the goals of quality education, decent work, climate action, peace, and justice.”
The South Africa president also called for the strengthening of cooperation, deepening of partnerships.
Ramaphosa said BRICS must actively strive towards a world of better health, better opportunity, and shared prosperity for all.