BRICS development bank should focus on boosting inclusive growth, decent work and sustainable development

The International Trade Union Confederation has welcomed the launch of the New Development Bank and the Contingency Reserve Agreement (CRA) announced by leaders of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) during their summit meeting in Fortaleza, Brazil on Tuesday.

The ITUC has called on the BRICS leaders to ensure that these new financial instruments contribute to a more equitable distribution of income, sustainable development, food security and decent work. In order to meet these goals, the New Development Bank should adopt social and environmental standards, including an obligation to respect workers’ fundamental rights in Bank-funded projects, and prioritize low-carbon investments. Both the Bank and CRA should ensure that their operations are fully transparent and be the object of regular consultations with civil society.

ITUC President João Antonio Felicio, who was in Fortaleza for the Third BRICS’ Trade Union Forum, stated: “The New Development Bank and the CRA could become effective tools towards transforming the current international economic architecture on condition that they reject the austerity and structural adjustment conditions applied by the international financial institutions in Europe and elsewhere, which have had disastrous consequences for workers. The new BRICS financial instruments must put forward real alternatives that bring benefits to working people and meet the challenge of climate change.”

Felicio reiterated the call made by the Trade Union Forum for strengthening the participatory social dimension of the BRICS: “Business and employers have a presence in the BRICS working groups so it is only normal that the BRICS governments recognize a Labour BRICS and provide for trade union representation in these groups and in the New Development Bank. The unions would bring in a strong voice emphasizing the important role that the new Bank and other BRICS instruments can play in promoting decent work, a universal social protection floor and the transition from the informal to the formal economy.”

Link to BRICS trade union declaration