The third edition of the BRICS Youth Forum, an annual conference to engage young people from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - the five countries that make up the group - took place in Beijing, China, from 24 to 28 July.
A total of 50 young delegates from many different backgrounds including politicians, experts, business leaders and students from the BRICS countries attended the three-day event hosted by the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF). The final goal of the forum was to prepare a document that provides the youth contribution for cooperation agreements in areas identified by youngsters as priorities, which will be submitted to the preparatory committee of the 9th BRICS Summit.
The event discussed global governance and policies of the countries members from the perspective of young people, strengthening and recognizing the voice and the participation of youth in international affairs and policy making. The debates circled around three topics: key points and characteristics of BRICS youth policy, BRICS youth innovation and entrepreneurship, and BRICS youth participation in global governance.
At the opening ceremony, members from international organizations highlighted the commitment of the group on the promotion of sustainable development. Once it is composed by developing countries the BRICS can play a pivotal leadership role towards the implementation of a new model of development. For that, the narrative of the group must be endorsed with actions. Mr. Patrick Haverman, Deputy director from UNDP China pointed out that we cannot forget that nations are made of people and for this people development must be addressed.
Mr. Sergio Suchodolski, director general of the Department of Strategy and Partnerships in the New Development Bank (NDB), spoke of the role of the youth in introducing new mechanisms recognizing youngness potential to bring new ideas to solve challenges. The NDB will also keep its strategy to support initiatives in coherence with sustainable development.
Acknowledging the perspective of youth as a dynamic force to improve development Ms. Wang Hongyan, vice president of ACYF called for “expanding consensus, promoting innovation and increasing cooperation among the youth delegates of the BRICS countries so that the world can better hear the voice of the youth”.
Huang Yiyang, counselor of the Department of International Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from China, emphasized that “The BRICS countries should work together to construct a more open world economy, strengthen cultural exchanges and promote effective mechanisms among the bloc".
The main recommendations
The young delegates recommendations on public policies calls for the guarantee of an open space for youth participation in the processes of formulation, implementation and evaluation of public policies, the protection of youth rights and the guarantee of opportunities for the development of the young people.
The young delegates proposed the creation of a business incubator that would be developed especially for the countries of the bloc. The incubator should encourage small and medium businesses within the countries to advance innovation and entrepreneurism. It was also suggested the facilitation of visas between the five countries for cultural and educational exchanges.
Regarding global governance, the recommendations were pointed out to foster the creation of effective channels to facilitate a broader participation on policy making processes and knowledge exchange among citizens, especially youth, of the BRICS countries.
The Brazilian delegation present at the event highlighted the importance of the commitment with the SDGs as states Ms. Keila Cândido, one of the Brazilian delegates: “The BRICS mechanism was created to establish a more egalitarian, inclusive and open system in the world, so we tried to take up guidelines that reflected this, for example on the issue of gender and wage discrepancy. Many issues are sensitive, making international trading more complex. However, our proposals were in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and we were able to put that into the final document”.
At the final document the youth representatives appeals from their countries to “Reaffirm the need to uphold the Sustainable Development Goals as the guiding framework for BRICS countries; and Emphasize that development goes beyond the economic sphere and incorporates social, cultural and political dimensions”.
The Action Plan signed by all parties give guidelines for cooperation among members, highlighting the role of youth in the future of the bloc. The document composes a series of technical documents which will be delivered to the chiefs of state of the countries at the meeting in Xiamem next September.
Photos by All-China Youth Federation