In New York, IBSA Commits to Working Together on Global South Issues


India, Brazil, and South Africa (IBSA) have called for reformed multilateralism and are planning to add more substance to their trilateral grouping. The three countries, which recently found success at the G20 summit, have agreed to meet again for a stand-alone IBSA meeting in Brazil in early 2024. They are committed to principles such as reformed multilateralism, participatory democracy, and respect for human rights. They also expressed frustration with the slow progress of UN Security Council reform and called for concrete outcomes within a fixed time frame. Additionally, they emphasized the need to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and address debt vulnerabilities.

New York: Fresh off from the success of the G20 summit where the three countries worked together, India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) have given a fresh call for reformed multilateralism and decided to invest new energy and add more substance to their trilateral grouping.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar, Brazil’s foreign minister Mauro Vieira and South Africa’s foreign minister Grace Naledi Pandor met on Friday, the same day that Jaishankar also participated in a Quad ministerial, illustrating the range of India’s foreign policy partnerships. The three also agreed to meet again for a stand-alone IBSA meeting in Brazil in early 2024.

The joint communique after the meeting pointed out that the objectives of the group included coordination between three “large pluralistic, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic democracies of Asia, South America and Africa”, enhancing trilateral cooperation in sectoral areas, and providing a new framework to South-South Cooperation.

In terms of principles, the three countries reiterated their basic commitment to “reformed multilateralism, participatory democracy, respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, sovereign equality, territorial integrity, peaceful negotiation, diplomacy, freedom, the primacy of international law and sustainable development”. The three also said IBSA members upheld “independent foreign policies”, were a “bridge” between developing and developed countries, advanced the interest of the global south, and promoted south south cooperation, citing the example of the IBSA fund which has supported 42 projects in 37 countries.

On the agenda of multilateral reform, the group said that SC reform must remain “an urgent and top priority”. They expressed their frustration with the “paralysis” observed at the Inter-Governmental Negotiations process, stressed that the time has come to move towards a result-oriented process, and called for concrete outcomes within a fixed time frame through the commencement of text-based negotiations, based on a single comprehensive text, in a formal setting, during the 78th UNGA. The group reaffirmed its commitment to work for reforms to include representation from Africa, Asia and Latin America in both permanent and non permanent categories and supported India’s claim for a seat.

IBSA agreed to deepen counter-terrorism cooperation, reaffirmed the sole authority of the UNSC in imposing sanctions, and called for urgent reform of the working methods of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees to ensure their “effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency while avoiding politicization and double standards of any of their proceedings including listing proposals objectively on evidence-based criteria”. Given China’s efforts to block the listing of terrorists targeting India at the UN, this is a significant call from the global south countries.

IBSA also underlined the urgency to fully implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and reaffirmed their commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), its Kyoto Protocol and its Paris Agreement and highlighted the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, IBSA “regretted” that developed countries hadn’t mean the goal of providing $100 billion annually and supported Brazil’s decision to host COP30, in 2025.

On debt vulnerabilities, an issue that spans across countries, IBSA called for its resolution and spoke of how interest rate increases had resulted in a debt crisis and led to a “lost decade” in development. The group reaffirmed the centrality of “the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, fair, equitable, open and inclusive multilateral trading system (MTS), with the WTO at its core”.

From December 1 2023, the joint communique said, the three IBSA countries will comprise the G20 troika. “The sequence of four developing countries in the presidency of the group (Indonesia, 2022; India, 2023; Brazil, 2024; South Africa, 2025) constitutes a valuable opportunity to further integrate a developmental perspective in the G20 agenda.” They agreed to continue to amplify and further integrate the voice of the Global South in the G20 agenda under the Brazilian and South African presidencies in 2024 and 2025.