Since 2008, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China — the BRIC countries — have met annually to discuss issues of global significance. At their third summit in China in 2011, the leaders invited South Africa to join, thus becoming the BRICS.
The four foreign ministers met on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly in the fall of 2006.
Their leaders’ first meeting was held in Sapporo on the eve of the G8 Toyako-Hokkaido Summit in 2008, and their first standalone summit was the following year in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
Since then, the BRICs ministers responsible for foreign affairs, finance and the economy, trade, agriculture and health have met. At the officials level, there have been meetings held to discuss science and technology, national security, competition and statistics.
While the concept “BRICS” was first created by Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs to refer to the investment opportunities of the rising emerging economies, the leaders’ meetings transcend the financial context to embrace a wide range of summit-level issues relating to global governance, such as development, peace and security, energy and climate change, and social issues.
Now BRICS countries together represent about 42% of the population, 23% of GDP, 30% of the territory and 18% of the global trade, according to the 2019 Brazilian Presidency official site.
Throughout its first decade, BRICS has developed sectorial cooperations in different areas, such as science and technology, trade promotion, energy, health, education, innovation and fight against transnational crime. Currently, sectorial cooperation, which covers more than 30 subject areas, brings important concrete benefits to the populations of the five countries.
In addition to presidential meetings (summit and the informal meeting in the margins of the G20), BRICS organizes, through its rotating chairship, nearly 100 annual meetings, including about 15 ministerial meetings and dozens of gatherings with official seniors, technical events, as well as meetings on culture, education and sport areas.