The five major emerging economies ˇV Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) grouping ˇV ended their meeting on Monday, 4 June 2018, with a common voice on major issues on the international agenda.

From increased BRICS cooperation, security, economic, financial and sustainable development spheres, the groupingˇ¦s foreign affairs ministers, who were meeting in Pretoria, came out with a united equal voice.

A communiqué issued after their second formal meeting, which was chaired by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, first reflected on the importance of this year marking a decade of BRICS summits. She said it was a testimony to the fortitude of BRICS cooperation and reiterated the commitment to implement the outcomes and consensus of past BRICS summits.

ˇ§The ministers recalled the BRICS tradition of outreach to extend its cooperation to fellow developing and emerging economies,ˇ¨ read the communiqué, issued at the end of the meeting, which was attended by Minister Sisuluˇ¦s counterparts, China's Wang Yi, Russiaˇ¦s Sergey Lavrov, Indiaˇ¦s Sushma Swaraj and Brazilˇ¦s Marcos Galvão.

BRICS commitment to UN

The deliberations which Minister Sululu described as ˇ§fruitfulˇ¨ reaffirmed BRICS commitment to the United Nations (UN), as the universal multilateral organisation entrusted with the mandate for maintaining international peace and security, advancing global development and promoting and protecting human rights so as to build a brighter shared future for the global community.

They recalled the 2005 World Summit Outcome document and reaffirmed the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries. This, the grouping believes, will allow the union to adequately respond to global challenges.

This pushed the BRICS to commit to intensifying dialogue among the BRICS countries on the administration and budget of the UN, with a view to strengthening the organisation and preserving its member state-driven character. ˇ§We stand firm on the importance and promotion of multilateralism with the UN and its bodies, notwithstanding the reform thereof, at the centre,ˇ¨ Minister Sisulu explained.

In addition to this, the BRICS ministers reaffirmed their commitment to multilateralism and a rules-based international order and in this regard reaffirmed the centrality of UN, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and international law by pledging their support to efforts towards making global governance more representative with greater participation of emerging markets and developing countries.

Free trade

On trade, they underlined their firm commitment to free trade, and the centrality of a rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, multilateral trading system (MTS) as embodied in the WTO, by opposing the new wave of protectionism and the systematic impact of unilateral measures that are incompatible with WTO rules and undermine global trade and economic growth.

In this regard, they reiterated that the WTO Dispute Settlement System was a cornerstone of the MTS as it was designed to enhance security and predictability in international trade.

Global economic governance

ˇ§The ministers reaffirmed their resolve to foster a global economic governance architecture that is more effective and reflective of the current global economic landscape, increasing the voice and representation of emerging markets and developing economies. They reaffirmed their commitment to conclude the International Monetary Fund's 15th General Review of Quotas, including a new quota formula, by the 2019 Spring Meetings,ˇ¨ reads the communiqué.

2030 Agenda, climate change, global issues

With regard to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they reaffirmed their commitment to implement the tenets in an equitable, inclusive, open, all-around innovation-driven and sustainable development, in its three dimensions ˇV economic, social and environmental ˇV in a balanced and integrated manner.

They reaffirmed their commitment to tackling climate change. They welcomed the entry into force of the Paris Agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Turning to global issues on the agenda, the four ministers condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and went on to urge concerted efforts to counter terrorism under the UN auspices.

Furthermore, they recalled the responsibility of all states to prevent financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions from their territories.

They also raised the issue of the growing instability in the Middle East, among others, the Israel-Palestine situation, the crisis in Syria and Yemen, and the unfolding catastrophe in Afghanistan.

ˇ§Finding inclusive, peaceful, negotiated solutions to these conflicts is paramount. The same holds true for international terrorism. We recommitted ourselves to supporting the United Nations' central coordinating role in international counter-terrorism cooperation. We furthermore reaffirmed our commitment to an expeditious adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism,ˇ¨ Minister Sisulu added.

10th BRICS Summit

The meeting laid the foundation for the 10th BRICS Summit taking place in July under the theme ˇ§BRICS in Africa: Collaboration with Developing Countries for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolutionˇ¨.

The theme resonates with the core priorities of all BRICS members, notably to strive towards the creation of an inclusive society and global partnerships that will bring prosperity to all humankind.