BRICS Informal Meetings

2008 Hokkaido meeting: Documents

BRICS informal meetings Index

BRICS Informal Meeting Hokkaido, Japan, July 9, 2008

The BRICS Informal Meeting in Hokkaido, Japan on July 9, 2008, marked a landmark moment as it was one of the earliest high-profile gatherings of the emerging economies that would later be recognized collectively as the BRICS group. This informal meeting took place on the sidelines of the Group of Eight (G8) Summit in Hokkaido, extending an opportunity for the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, and China to discuss issues of mutual interest in an intimate setting. At that time, South Africa had not yet been included in the grouping; the acronym was still BRIC, without the ‘S’.

Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and China’s President Hu Jintao represented the four nations. This meeting was instrumental as it helped to solidify the sense of common purpose and camaraderie among these nations, even though each had unique domestic and international challenges and objectives.

While this informal gathering did not have the same weight or formality as the annual BRICS Summits that would follow, its significance is underscored by the conversations it catalyzed around key global issues such as:

1. **Economic Cooperation:** Discussions likely centered on how the four countries could collaborate to strengthen their economic ties and protect their interests amidst the backdrop of the 2008 global financial crisis which underscored the interconnectedness and vulnerabilities of international financial systems.

2. Reform of Global Institutions: The BRIC countries emphasized the need for a multipolar world order and a more representative international financial system. They called for changes in institutions like the IMF and the World Bank to better reflect the growing economic might and perspectives of emerging economies.

3. Financial Stability and Sustainable Development: These nations acknowledged that they played a pivotal role in driving global economic growth and showed a commitment to working on strategies for stability and sustainable development, principles which would become a recurring theme in future BRICS engagements.

4. Political Dialogue: The leaders used the opportunity for an informal political dialogue to coordinate their positions on various international issues in the context of changing global dynamics. They sought to influence global governance with a unified approach that could help in balancing the influence of more established Western powers.

The 2008 informal meeting was fundamental in setting the stage for the formalization of BRICS cooperation and dialogue mechanisms. It was a stepping stone that led to the first official BRICS summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia, the following year. The collaboration begun in Hokkaido continued to progress, with South Africa joining the group in 2010, thus transitioning BRIC into BRICS. The meeting was emblematic of the shifting global economic landscape, signalling the ascent of emerging economies in global affairs and the beginning of an institutionalized dialogue among nations that would collectively represent a substantial share of world population, geography, and economic power.

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