Hannah Ryder: Speech at the BRICS Economic Think-Tank ForumNov 6, 2014
By Hannah Ryder, Head of Policy and Partnerships, UNDP China
(N.B. Hannah Ryder was Head of Policy and Partnerships from August 2014- July 2016)
Ladies, Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests,
On behalf of UNDP China "Xie Xie" to the centre for China in the World Economy, Tsinghua University, the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee and the BRICS Economic Think Tank for hosting and organising the event and for inviting UNDP China to participate in such an important occasion.
There is now no doubt that the BRICS, the emerging economies, the new rising powers, are crucial to promote a more balanced and inclusive development agenda. But over the last ten years, this was not obvious to all. I have worked with many think tanks based in the UK, the US and other countries, and my observation is that many of them are only now recognising the importance of "looking out" and engaging with the economic issues in BRICS countries. Some are, to an extent, now playing catch-up.
We at UNDP China have been "looking out" towards the rising powers for a while now. In 2010, UNDP China realised that we needed to engage with the BRICS, and China's global role more generally. As part of this, in order to facilitate the understanding of the changing global environment and architecture, we partnered with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE) on a new global governance initiative, which started in 2012. As part of this flagship project, we held the second Global Governance Forum on October 22nd, just a month ago in this very venue here in Beijing. We invited a select group of senior leaders, prominent scholars, and other development stakeholders from twenty-five different countries.
We wanted to bring a special "looking out" focus to the discussions. Our key question for our participants was how can China and the BRICS support other countries to rise, develop and become the powers of the future. Through economics, finance, policy, and the institutions they create.
Among the key outcomes of the forum, I would like to share with you just a flavour of some of the ideas that our experts raised. One expert suggested that the UN and G20 should support each other - as they have differing mixes of representation, effectiveness and legitimacy; another expert suggested that the G20 should include in its agenda the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals; another expert suggested that the UN should be more focused on economic development and inclusive growth. And yet another expert suggested the international community should welcome the establishment of new institutions such as the New Development Bank and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank as meaningful instruments to achieve sustainable development.
These are all ideas we - and I hope you all - will be considering in the future. The role of BRICS countries is of crucial importance, and today's event is both timely and urgent for the development agenda and the reshaping of the global architecture. But I would encourage you all, as you plan your work, to learn from the think-tanks in the UK and elsewhere, to not only look in and focus on BRICs but look out and focus on how the BRICS can engage with others, especially the poorer countries in Africa and elsewhere that will be the rising powers of tomorrow.
UNDP China welcomes the BRICS Economic Think Tank Forum initiative, we look forward to collaboration in the future, and we wish all participants a fruitful day of discussion and action.