India and four other members of the BRICS grouping on Thursday sought a "comprehensive reform" of the United Nations, including the Security Council, to make it more democratic and efficient, to adequately respond to pressing global challenges and meet the aspirations of developing countries.
"We stress our commitment to multilateralism and to the central role of the United Nations which are prerequisites to maintain peace and security," the five-nation bloc comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa said in a joint declaration after the conclusion of the 15th BRICS summit here.
The countries said they support a "comprehensive reform" of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to make it "more democratic, representative, effective and efficient".
The reform, the bloc said, will increase the representation of developing countries in the Council’s memberships so that it can adequately respond to prevailing global challenges and support the legitimate aspirations of emerging and developing countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America, including Brazil, India and South Africa, to play a greater role in international affairs, in particular in the United Nations, including its Security Council.
"True to the BRICS Spirit and commitment to inclusive multilateralism, BRICS countries reached consensus on the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures of the BRICS expansion process," the Johannesburg Declaration said.
During the summit, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were invited to become full members of BRICS from January 1, 2024.
The BRICS grouping called on the international community to support countries in working together towards post-pandemic economic recovery.
It emphasised the importance of contributing to post-conflict countries’ reconstruction and development and called upon the international community to assist countries in meeting their development goals.
"We stress the imperative of refraining from any coercive measures not based on international law and the UN Charter," the declaration said.
The BRICS nations appreciated the efforts of various global forums for a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine conflict through dialogue and diplomacy.
"We recall our national positions concerning the conflict in and around Ukraine as expressed at the appropriate fora, including the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly," the declaration said without blaming Russia, a member of the grouping, for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine that has significantly impacted the world.
We note with appreciation relevant proposals of mediation and good offices aimed at peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy, including the African Leaders Peace Mission and the proposed path for peace," they said.
The bloc also reiterated the need to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through peaceful and diplomatic means in accordance with international law.
The BRICS members agreed to address the challenges posed by climate change while also ensuring a just, affordable and sustainable transition to a low-carbon and low-emission economy.
The five nations called on developed countries to lead by example and support developing countries towards such transitions.
They stressed the need for support of developed countries to developing countries for access to existing and emerging low-emission technologies and solutions that avoid, abate and remove greenhouse gas emissions and enhance adaptation action to address climate change.
The BRICS nations opposed the trade barriers, including those under the pretext of tackling climate change imposed by certain developed countries.
"We underline that measures taken to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss must be WTO-consistent and must not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade and should not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade," they said.
The five nations expressed their concern at any WTO inconsistent discriminatory measure that will distort international trade, risk new trade barriers and shift the burden of addressing climate change and biodiversity loss to BRICS members and developing countries.
The BRICS nations said they are committed to intensifying the efforts towards improving their collective capacity for global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response, and strengthening their ability to fight back any such pandemics in the future collectively, and therefore, "consider it important to continue our support to the BRICS Virtual Vaccine Research and Development Centre".
The bloc reiterated the importance of further enhancing BRICS solidarity and cooperation based on mutual interests and key priorities, to further strengthen their strategic partnership.
Brazil, India, China and South Africa also extended their full support to Russia for its BRICS Chairship in 2024 and the holding of the 16th BRICS Summit in the Russian city of Kazan.
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