Projects Concerning Politics of the BRICS-Platform
Exploration Main Objectives of the BRICS Platform from a Social Quality Perspective
From the side of Eurispes, the Italian Institute for Economic, Political and Cultural Research in Rome, the BRICS-platform is followed with great attention. This platform is composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. This work by Eurispes happens from its ‘BRICS Laboratory’. Decided was in collaboration with the International Association on Social Quality (IASQ) to start a project of a workgroup, with which to apply the social quality theory and approach (SQT and SQA) as compilation of five analytical frameworks to get a view on particularly significant and emblematic programs of activities of this platform. This is an intriguing challenge, because the members of this platform explained that its main objective is to contribute to the quality of global development. How to understand the reality behind this objective? A first common project of Eurispes and the IASQ is to explore this question. This exploration is therefore important, because this objective of the BRICS-platform is directly linked to seeking an affiliation with the Sustainability Goals of the United Nations.
This project is also of interest, because the decisions by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences to assist the elaboration and dissemination of the SQA. Essential of this project is to apply the fourfold dimensional approach, as alternative of the traditional tripartite approach (economic, social and environmental dimensions) as happens in the traditional global ‘sustainability discourse’. From the point of view of the SQA, the idea of the ‘social dimension’ of the overall sustainability does not go beyond a black box. It supposes, this dimension concerns everything what is not economic or environmental. This project analyses the activities of the BRICS-platform in the past ten years on the basis of processes in the (1) socio-economic/financial dimension, (2) the socio-political/legal dimension, (3) the socio-cultural/welfare dimension, and (4) the socio-environmental dimension as explained in a new way in Working Paper nr. 17.
The project-study of the first decade of this BRICS-platform is devoted to the presentation of the state of the art about views and starting points regarding these four dimensions and their operationalization in three fields, namely (1) the multitude of policy areas, (2) the contemporary forms of urbanization and (3) the nature of eco-systems. This presentation is connected with the politics for strengthening the overall sustainability and is published in the International Journal of Social Quality. In the conclusions, referred is to the BRICS-summit of 2018. Decided is to put at the center of the BRICS-strategy for strengthening the overall development of sustainability the factor of scientific and technological innovation. The purpose to better address the related challenges, the heads of state and government decided to launch a new permanent partnership between the five states, namely the ‘BRICS partnership on New Industrial Revolution’. The supposition of the fundamental shift of living conditions in the near future strengthens the content of the various theoretical considerations as presented in this study. Supposed is, that in the near future some extra steps should be made. First to create a global accepted conceptual and hereupon analytical framework for combatting the existing Babylonian confusion in this platform. Second, to really connect BRICS’ main objective to develop the quality of global development with the 2015 UN report on sustainability goals. Therefore, all member states should stimulate an explication of the applied normative framework as basis for understanding what quality in this context really means. Of interest may be to connect this framework with the conceptual and analytical framework as proposed in the SQA. A possible option is to continue this project in collaboration with the BRICS-laboratory of Eurispes and the five ‘think tanks’ of the BRICS-platform.
The Exploration of the Field of Rural and Urban Circumstances and the BRICS Platform
A second common project of Eurispes and the IASQ is to pay scientific based attention to especially contemporary urban questions of the BRICS member states and the rural implications. In other words, to explore the current scenario of urban agglomerations, drawing attention to the growth of population and the process of unruled urbanization that endangers the delicate balance between human settlements and the surrounding environment. Because the project’s attention for the intentions of the BRICS-platform, this project may be appreciated as a specific exploration of earlier urban-projects of the IASQ (see the 'project urban development’). The question of increasing slums is one of the outcomes of this process. Expectations of international institutions are, that very soon more than 27% of the urban population all over the world will live in such slums. This project focuses on the heritage values as fundamental elements for a correct urban development and highlights the impacts that metropolises and megacities have on climate change and the effects on them produced by COVID-19. It also looks at the role that minor cities and towns play and the coming opportunity to revamp them using new technologies and connectivity corridors and to mitigate urbanization. It concludes by observing how complex urban problems must be faced with a comprehensive vision that is driven by the social quality approach (SQA) and the engagement with BRICS countries. For some decades now, in those urban settlements, atmospheric pollution and water shortages have been on the rise with no clearly defined intervention strategies. This has been accompanied by unrestricted land use without any respect for the existing peculiarities of territories and cities or their natural environments.
Accepting that an extensive urbanization process is now unavoidable, in as much as weak or late attempts to stop it have failed, there are still measures possible to mitigate the ongoing trend that must be evaluated and implemented as soon as possible to reduce negative effects of pollution, environmental damage, disruptive land-use, and natural resource shortages by taking actions oriented toward revamping the rural territories and retaining or resettling their inhabitants. BRICS member states, in particular, have, since their creation and in their declarations at every yearly summit from 2013 to 2019, declared their intention to play an active role in the implementation of a new overall development, which will include tackling the issues related to urbanization, and for this purpose they created in 2010 a specific ‘BRICS Urbanization Forum.‘ Also, the New Development Bank, the BRICS countries’ operational instrument, includes the urban sector. To date, these statements have not found relevant application; instead the BRICS member states can make their the declared principles a reality and become the promoters of an innovative vision of urban development on their respective continents, striving to accurately assess problems and creatively find solutions. The first outcomes of this project resulted into the study, published in the International Journal of Social Quality. The study refers to on politics and policies how to mitigate the current ostentative negative effects for citizens and how to rebalance the unequal rural–urban equation in any way and wherever possible. This is important in order to save local heritage, specific peculiarities of place, tangible and intangible patrimony, and other necessary elements to assure smaller cities and towns can undergo permanent, integrated development. Modern technologies can provide effective tools in favoring territorial re-use through compatible mobility infrastructures, communication networks, renewable energies, together conceived of as “smart corridors,” as a way to enhance human settlements and the social cohesion of their inhabitants, and to protect the environment, heritage, patrimony, and local economies. A comprehensive approach, as is currently being argued for by SQA, is still not only a promising way to manage complex urbanization issues and to assure a urban–rural territorial rebalance, but it also a promising tool to fight climate change and other future emergency events.