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BRICS must go for a 'Rio Consensus'(2)

2014-07-15 08:53 China Daily Web Editor: Wang Fan

Now BRICS countries are taking matters into their own hands. Their governments have been diligently putting together two new institutions that hold great promise - a new development bank and a new reserve pooling arrangement. The development bank would provide financing to BRICS and other emerging and developing economies for infrastructure, industrialization and productive development. And the reserve pool would allow BRICS and other economies to draw on pooled reserves in the event of balance of payment crises or threats to their currencies.

If these institutions are announced in Fortaleza this week, BRICS could and should forge a "Rio Consensus" - provided the BRICS member states do not make the same mistakes of other, mostly Western-inspired "models" of the past. The key is to make it a model for global economic governance in the 21st century.

The key elements of a "Rio Consensus" are a definite step in that direction. At its core is a commitment to financial stability and productive development in a manner that is inclusive, honors human rights and is environmentally sustainable.

Organizations carrying out such a mission should also have a more equitable organizational structure with open and transparent rules. This crucially includes the mechanism for picking leaders and a more equal voting system for existing and new members.

Not only will such a framework and structure enable more appropriate financing for development and stability, it can also serve as a moral model of reform that can someday be achieved in the two Washington-based institutions. This will give BRICS more leverage - and an opt-out choice if the industrialized countries stay set in their ways.

The author, Kevin P. Gallagher, is a professor of international relations at Boston University.

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