In anticipation of the 5th BRICS meeting, peoples’ organisations, NGOs and academics from BRICS countries will gather in Durban, South Africa in March 22-27 to foster ‘brics-from-below’: rebuilding BRICS, bottom up. At this counter summit, civil society aims to play two major critical roles: firstly, acting as a watchdog of the claims, processes and outcomes of the actual BRICS summit, and secondly, providing a platform for civil society organisations in these countries to share experiences and create networks.
Participants of the counter summit will refine their understanding of the challenges within BRICS countries. They will focus on internal development models and the drivers of poverty as well as how to address these issues within their home countries. Participants will explore BRICS’s actual agenda, discuss BRICS’s responsibility in reducing the climate calamity, as well as the proposed BRICS bank.
The extractive agenda in the regions around BRICS is big. And in the case of the South African government, it even plays the role of the ‘gateway for investment on the continent’ facilitating extraction of resources in all of Africa. Another example is Mozambique where all BRICS countries come together in one form or another: South Africa with its interest in water and gas, India with coal fired power stations, Brazil for coal mining, China for logging and major infrastructure development, and Russia around debt cancelation.
Educating ‘brics-from-below’ visitors about adverse conditions in South African communities and to get visitors to share their struggles with South Africans is the second objective of the summit. They will be presented a direct example as the people of south Durban stand to lose their land over the next decades as major infrastructural development such as ports and new chemical industry is planned for black residential areas. Visitors will also join the Reality and Toxic Tours of Durban for an even more acute picture of the South African struggle for environmental justice.