S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister ( Courtesy: Facebook)
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New York:

IBSA – a forum comprising India, Brazil and South Africa, three large democracies and major economies from three different continents, facing similar challenges – voiced concern at the slow pace of Inter-Governmental negotiations on UN Security Council reform, which have not produced tangible progress in the UNGA.

At a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of IBSA – India’s S. Jaishankar, Brazil’s Ernesto Araujo and South Africa’s Naledi Pandor, held on Thursday, the forum urged “redoubling of efforts to achieve progress on early comprehensive reform of the Security Council”, with the onset of the 75th anniversary of the UN in 2020.

“The reform of the international economic governance architecture, including the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the international financial institutions, should also be a priority,” it said.

“IBSA countries have contributed meaningfully in making the international economic governance architecture more representative and democratic, and will continue to work together to advance an agenda that promotes sustainable development and inclusive growth,” the IBSA said, according to a MEA statement.

The process of WTO reform must keep development at its core, promote inclusiveness and non-discrimination, build trust and address the inequalities and asymmetries in existing agreements. It should take into account the diversity of interests and concerns of the whole membership, including developing members, in particular Least Developed Countries, the grouping said.

IBSA countries recognise the central role played by the WTO in promoting the interests of developing countries on issues such as agriculture.

Strengthening the global financial safety net, with a strong, quotaabased, and adequately resourced International Monetary Fund (IMF) at its centre, is essential, it said, adding: “We must work towards concluding the 15th General Review of Quotas, including a new quota formula at the Annual Meetings of 2019.”

IBSA also reiterated its commitment to working together on strengthening cooperation to prosecute persons sought for corruption and other economic crimes, including through international organisations and institutions such as the G20, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and others.

“We underscore the need for continuing consultations and exchange of views between the IBSA countries in order to build partnerships in multilateral fora.”

The forum also took note of the progress made by the IBSA Fund for the Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger (IBSA Fund), which provides financial support for South-owned, South-led, demand-driven, and transformational projects across the developing world, with a focus on Least Developed Countries. “We welcome the developmental impact created by the Fund on the ground.”

“We commit ourselves to promoting the reform of the multilateral system through cooperation and coordination in all relevant multilateral fora and international organizations including the WTO and groupings of G20, BRICS, BASIC, and G-77,” it said.

The IBSA grouping was formalized and named the IBSA Dialogue Forum when the Foreign Ministers of the three countries met in Brasilia on June 6, 2003 and issued the Brasilia Declaration.

Cooperation in IBSA is on three fronts: first, as a forum for consultation and coordination on global and regional political issues, such as, the reform of the global institutions of political and economic governance, WTO/Doha Development Agenda, climate change, terrorism etc.; second, trilateral collaboration on concrete areas/projects, through 14 working groups and six People-to-People Forums, for the common benefit of three countries; and third, assisting other developing countries by taking up projects in the latter through IBSA Fund.

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