Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: IBSA

India-Brazil-South Africa Dialoge (IBSA)

  • Recently, the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum received positive attention on two counts. The IBSA Fund, which extends assistance to developing countries, won the 2010 United Nations Millennium Development Goals award for South-South cooperation. A second maritime exercise, IBSAMAR II, was held in the Indian Ocean off the South African coast, involving 11 ships of three member-states.

  • IBSA's identity stems from its uniqueness, the ability of the three large countries all democracies, rising economies, proponents of inclusive development and multilateralism from three different continents to work together, despite their obvious differences. Its success lies in broadening its convergences and cooperation.

  • IBSA is an alliance not against anyone but in favour of peoples; it is also in favour of a multipolar world where democracy political, social, cultural prevails.

Key facets

IBSA needs to be assessed in terms of four important facets.

  • The first is coordination and articulation of common positions on international and regional issues. The joint declaration, issued at the last Summit in Brasilia in April 2010, reflects the member-states'perceptions of global governance, social dimensions of globalisation, climate change, disarmament and non-proliferation, among others. On UN Security Council reform, they have tried to speak with one voice, while keeping in view South Africa's dilemma (between an ardent desire for permanent membership and the anxiety not to stray from the joint African position). Regarding the Doha Round and climate change, IBSA prefers to speak after adequate internal coordination.

  • Secondly, the IBSA Fund, a facility for alleviation of poverty and hunger, has been a notable achievement.

  • So far, seven countries Burundi, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Laos, Cambodia and Palestine have benefited from it. If IBSA truly wants to make a difference, it should step up its assistance, expedite its decision-making and undertake more projects.

  • The third facet, trilateral cooperation, has been perceived from the outset as an important tool for promoting social and economic development.

  • At the Brasilia meeting in 2003, the Foreign Ministers identified five broad areas: Trade, investment, tourism, defence and science and technology (including IT and energy).

  • In this context, trade should receive a high priority as a complex structure is being put in place. The first two stages have been reached, with the signing of the Sacu-Mercosur Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and the coming into effect of the India-Mercosur PTA in April and June 2009. Efforts to finalise an India-Sacu PTA need to be expedited.

  • The way is being cleared for forging a Trilateral Trade Arrangement (TTA) involving Mercosur, Sacu and India. This is already being hailed as the largest trade agreement in the developing world of future.

  • Energy has often been cited as an ideal field where each country has special expertise which is of benefit to others: Brazil in biofuels, South Africa in coal-to-liquid (CTL) technology, and India in renewable sources of energy.

  • The fourth facet is a steady expansion of interaction beyond the executive wings and indeed beyond governments. Meetings have been arranged of parliamentarians and representatives of apex courts.

  • Business leaders, women activists, editors, academics and artistes have been engaged in frequent exchanges in order to provide a strong civil society underpinning to IBSA inter-governmental cooperation.

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India