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2014 BRICS Fortaleza Summit
Compliance Report

July 6, 2015

This compliance report assesses the compliance of the BRICS members over the period of 15 July 2014 to 28 June 2015. It assesses eight priority commitments of the 68 made at the Fortaleza Summit hosted by Brazil in July 2014. This report was prepared by the BRICS Research Group led by the International Organisations Research Institute at National Research University Higher School of Economics and the Global Governance Program at Trinity College in the University of Toronto.

Download the full report here.
See also Уровень исполнения странами БРИКС решений саммита в Форталезе составил 70%.

We welcome feedback on this report! If you have any comment about our assessment, or if you know of any actions taken by a BRICS member between 15 July 2014 to 28 June 2015 that might affect that assessment, please contact us at and

Introduction and Summary

The 2014 BRICS Fortaleza Compliance Report, prepared by the BRICS Research Group (the University of Toronto and the International Organisations Research Institute of the National Research University Higher School of Economics (IORI HSE), analyses compliance performance by BRICS countries with a selection of priority commitments drawn from the total of 68 commitments made by the leaders at the Fortaleza Summit on 15-16 July 2014. The report covers actions on eight commitments taken by the BRICS countries during the period from 15 July 2014 to 28 June 2015. This timeframe allows for an assessment of compliance for the period between the 2014 Fortaleza Summit and the 2015 Ufa Summit, hosted by Russia on 8-9 July 2015.

The role of the BRICS in the global governance system is steadily increasing, as the countries have transformed a purely economic concept of the BRIC into a new global governance institution. Also, in spite of the recent economic slowdown, the BRICS countries collectively constitute almost a third of the global gross domestic product and are likely to outperform the G7 in several years.

However, to stay relevant in the global economy and retain its influence, the BRICS needs to further augment cooperation. In line with this idea, the five members have been broadening and deepening their coordination and collaboration in different areas and in different formats. Since the establishment of the format, the countries have held almost 110 meetings at different levels. Apart from the summits, these include the meetings of the foreign, finance, trade, agriculture and health ministers, as well as representatives of statistical offices, competition authorities and heads of development banks. These meetings resulted in the adoption of more than 40 documents and establishment of a growing number of working groups, contact groups and other mechanisms of coordination. The dynamics of BRICS cooperation has been positive, and the speed of its internationalization has been high. Most importantly, the leaders have agreed on 231 concrete decisions on the various areas of their agenda. At the summits between 2009 and 2014, BRICS leaders adopted 231 commitments and delegated 15 mandates to intra-BRICS institutions.[1] BRICS decisions refer to 12 broad policy areas, such as economy, finance, climate change and education. The Fortaleza Summit produced by far the largest number of commitments, most of which focused on reforming the International Monetary Fund, strengthening international cooperation and coordinating macroeconomic policy and finance.

BRICS cooperation has been further deepened and expanded during the Russian presidency. According to the Concept of the Russian Federation's Presidency in BRICS in 2015–2016, cooperation is expanded to include such new areas as parliamentary affairs, culture, and information and communications technologies. Strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation and engagement with other international institutions is a priority. Enhancing "the efficiency of BRICS by improving the reporting process for previous commitments assumed by member countries" is emphasized.[2] Given that collective commitments made at the BRICS summits reflect the members' shared goals, an increase in the number of commitments and compliance performance could indicate strengthened capability for collective action.


[1] A commitment is defined as a discrete, specific, publicly expressed, collectively agreed statement of intent; a promise by summit members that they will undertake future action to move toward, meet or adjust to an identified target. More details are contained in the G8 Commitment/Compliance Coding and Reference Manual (available at
[2] Concept of the Russian Federation's Presidency in BRICS in 2015-2016, Official Website of the Russia's Presidency in BRICS.

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Methodology and Scoring System

This report traces BRICS compliance with selected commitments made at the 2014 Fortaleza Summit. It draws on the methodology developed by the G8 Research Group, which has been monitoring G8 compliance since 1996. Since 2008 the same methodology has been adopted for monitoring G20 performance. The use of this time-tested methodology builds cross-institutional, cross-member and cross-issue consistency and thus allows compatibility and comparability of the compliance performance by different summitry institutions and provides a foundation for evidence-based assessment of the effectiveness of these institutions.[3] The methodology uses a scale from −1 to +1, where +1 indicates full compliance with the stated commitment, −1 indicates a failure to comply or action taken that is directly opposite to the stated goal of the commitment, and 0 indicates partial compliance or work in progress, such as initiatives that have been launched but are not yet near completion and whose final results can therefore not be assessed. Each member receives a score of −1, 0 or +1 for each commitment. For convenience, the scientific scores reported in the tables in this summary have been converted to percentages, where −1 equals 0% and +1 equals 100%.[4]


[3] Informal summitry institutions are defined as international institutions with limited membership, relatively low bureaucracy and reliance on open, flexible and voluntary approaches. Regular meetings of the heads of states and governments who  engage on a wide range of international, regional and domestic politics stand at the pinnacle of such international arrangements, which involve many actors operating  according to established procedures on two levels: domestic and international.   Commitments contained in the collectively agreed documents are not legally-binding but their implementation is stimulated by peer pressure. Among such bodies engaged in global and regional governance are G7/G8, G20, BRICS, APEC and others.
[4]The formula to convert a score into a percentage is P=50×(S+1), where P is the percentage and S is the score.

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Breakdown of Commitments

The number of concrete commitments made by the BRICS leaders at their summits has increased steadily. There were 15 commitments in the 2009 Joint Statement of BRIC Leaders, with five in the area of energy and three related to overcoming the food crisis and establishing favourable conditions for agriculture development. At the 2010 summit, BRIC leaders made 31 commitments. As the agenda has expanded decisions have been made in new areas: nine commitments on energy, three on finance, five on development cooperation, three on trade, and two on global financial architecture reform and the institutionalization of intra-BRICS cooperation. There were 38 commitments made at the 2011 Sanya Summit: six on environmental protection and adaptation to climate change, and five each on macroeconomic issues, trade and international cooperation. For the first time the BRICS leaders made commitments on public health, human rights, accountability and combating terrorism. The 2012 Delhi Summit issued 32 commitments with a focus on trade (nine commitments), regional security (four commitments) and development assistance (three commitments), but none on financial regulation. The 2013 Durban Summit again produced no commitments on finance and was dominated by the South African presidency's priorities of development, regional security and international institutional reform.

At the Fortaleza Summit in 2014, the BRICS leaders agreed on 68 commitments, the highest number in the history of the institution. They covered all the priorities addressed by the previous presidencies. Moreover, the leaders reiterated their commitments on financial regulation, food and agriculture, science, information and communication, and cooperation in cultural area. They also made commitments in the new areas of environmental protection and anti-corruption.

The commitments of the BRICS, as a group of major emerging economies, fall mainly into the areas relevant for the five countries (see Table 1). In particular, members' priorities for stimulating domestic economic recovery are reflected in the large share of trade and development commitments. Decisions on international cooperation and the reform of international institutions, which remain at the core of the BRICS agenda, also constitute a substantial share at about 10% of the total. At the same time, each presidency strives to incorporate its own priorities in the agenda and can thus substantially influence the breakdown of commitments. For instance, decisions made during the Russian presidency in 2009 focused mainly on energy and agriculture. In 2010 Brasilia retained energy as a top priority and also added development issues to the agenda. The 2011 summit in China shifted toward climate change. The 2012 Indian and 2013 South African presidencies considered regional security as a priority, with the Durban Summit also addressing development issues including infrastructure development and regional integration.

Brazil's 2014-15 presidency retained the BRICS focus on trade, international cooperation, development and finance, while for the first time paying increased attention to socioeconomic issues.

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Selection of Commitments

Of the total of 68 commitments made at the 2014 Fortaleza Summit, the BRICS Research Group has selected eight priority commitments for its assessment (see Table 2). For each compliance cycle (that is, the period between summits), the research team selects commitments that reflect the breadth of the BRICS agenda and the priorities of the summit's host, while balancing the selection to allow for comparison with past and future summits.[5] The selection also takes into account the breakdown of issue areas and the proportion of commitments in each one. The primary criteria for selecting a priority commitment for assessment are the comprehensiveness and relevance to the summit, the BRICS and the world. Selected commitments must also meet the secondary criteria such as measurability and ability to commit within a year. The tertiary criteria include significance as identified by relevant stakeholders in the host country and scientific teams.


[5] Guidelines for choosing priority commitments, as well as other applicable considerations, are available in the G8 Commitment/Compliance Coding and Reference Manual.

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Compliance Scores

The overall compliance by commitment has been high, with all scores except the one for trade commitment distributed from 0 to +1. The highest scoring commitment was the one on implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity with an average score of +1.00 (100%), followed by those on attaining education-related Millennium Development Goals and combating corruption, with average scores reaching +0.80 (90%). An average BRICS score for compliance with the commitments on implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and ensuring sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights for all reached +0.60 (80%), followed by compliance performance on the commitments to provide support to the stabilization of Afghanistan and to address tax base erosion (+0.20 or 60%).

The score for the commitment on reforming the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) at the World Trade Organization (WTO) was the lowest at −1.00. International trade has always been a priority on the BRICS agenda. However, despite the group's longstanding support to the multilateral trading system goals and the WTO primacy therein, the members have failed to promote the discussion and advance negotiations on DSU reform during the monitoring period. The negotiations on the DSU clarification and improvement are taking place during special sessions of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body, as well as at informal consultations among interested participants. The report by the chair of the Dispute Settlement Body issued on 30 January 2015, the only publicly available source of information regarding the current status of negotiations, does not indicate either any significant progress taking place during the monitoring period or any initiatives by BRICS members. Further research is required to identify the causes for the BRICS countries' lack of compliance with the commitment on the DSU reform.

Thus, for the period from 15 July 2014 to 28 June 2015, the BRICS countries achieved an average final compliance score of +0.40, which translates into 70%. The final compliance scores by commitment are contained in Table 3.

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Compliance Trends

This is the fourth BRICS compliance report produced by the BRICS Research Group (see Table 4). The 2012 Delhi Summit, at +0.28 or 64%, was a dip between the 2011 Sanya and 2013 Durban summits both at +0.48 or 74%. The 2014 Fortaleza Summit achieved a score of +0.40 (70%), close to the average for all four summits assessed.

Although the time span is too short to draw strong conclusions on trends, preliminary patterns can be identified with the caveat that even in the issues with assessed commitments from more than one year the specific commitments in that issue area are not identical from one summit to the next.

Given this constraint, the analysis reveals that the BRICS countries complied well with the development commitments at the core of their agenda (with an average of +0.60 or 80% over all four summits). Performance on trade issues is uneven, with an overall average of +0.10 (55%).

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Future Research and Reports

The information contained in this report provides BRICS countries and other stakeholders with an indication of their compliance in the period between the Sanya and New Delhi summits. This report has been produced as an invitation for others to provide additional or more complete information on compliance. Feedback should be sent to and

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Table 1: Distribution of BRICS Commitments across Issue Areas, 2009-2014

Issue area Yekaterinburg 2009 Brasilia 2010 Sanya 2011 Delhi 2012 Durban 2013 Fortaleza 2014 Total

Share, %

Trade   3 5 9 4 4 25 10.82
International cooperation 1 2 5 3 6 8 25 10.82
Development 1 5 1 3 10 4 24 10.39
Reform of international financial institutions 1 2 1 2 9 8 23 9.96
Regional security 1   1 4 8 6 20 8.66
Macroeconomic policy   1 5 1 5 7 19 8.23
Energy 5 9 1 2     17 7.36
Socioeconomic 1 1 3 2   7 14 6.06
Climate change   1 6 3 1 1 12 5.19
Finance   3 1     6 10 4.33
Food and agriculture 3   1 1   1 6 2.60
Terrorism     1 1 2 2 6 2.60
Science and education 1 1 1     2 5 2.16
Human rights     1   1 2 4 1.73
Culture   1       3 4 1.73
Crime and corruption           4 4 1.73
Natural disasters 1 1 1       3 1.30
Information and commnications technologies     2     1 3 1.30
Health     1 1   1 3 1.30
Accountability     1       1 0.43
Sport   1         1 0.43
Nonproliferation         1   1 0.43
Environment           1 1 0.43
Total 15 31 38 32 47 68 231 100


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Table 2: 2014 BRICS Fortaleza Summit Priority Commitments

Priority Area Commitment
Trade: WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding We strongly support the WTO dispute settlement system as a cornerstone of the security and predictability of the multilateral trading system and we will enhance our ongoing dialogue on substantive and practical matters relating to it, including in the ongoing negotiations on WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding reform.
Regional Security: Afghanistan We also reaffirm our commitment to support Afghanistan's emergence as a peaceful, stable and democratic state, free of terrorism and extremism, and underscore the need for more effective regional and international cooperation for the stabilization of Afghanistan, including by combating terrorism.
Environment We reiterate our commitment to the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Protocols, with special attention to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Targets.
Development: Education-Related MDGs [We reaffirm our commitment to accelerating progress in attaining the] education-related Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Financial Regulation: BEPS [We, therefore, affirm our commitment to] enhance cooperation in the international forums targeting tax base erosion and information exchange for tax purposes.
Human Rights we reaffirm our determination to ensure sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights for all
Terrorism [We believe that the UN has a central role in coordinating international action against terrorism, which must be conducted in accordance with international law, including the UN Charter, and with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms.] In this context, we reaffirm our commitment to the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
Crime and Corruption [We are committed to combat domestic and foreign bribery, and] strengthen international cooperation, including law enforcement cooperation, in accordance with multilaterally established principles and norms, especially the UN Convention Against Corruption

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Table 3: 2014 BRICS Fortaleza Summit Compliance Scores

  Brazil Russia India China South Africa Average
Trade: WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding −1 −1 −1 −1 −1 −1.00 0%
Regional Security: Afghanistan −1 +1 +1 +1 −1 +0.20 60%
Environment +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1.00 100%
Development: Education-Related MDGs 0 +1 +1 +1 +1 +0.80 90%
Financial Regulation: BEPS 0 0 0 +1 0 +0.20 60%
Human Rights +1 +1 0 0 +1 +0.60 80%
Terrorism 0 +1 +1 +1 0 +0.60 80%
Crime and Corruption +1 +1 0 +1 +1 +0.80 90%


+0.13 +0.63 +0.38 +0.63 +0.25 +0.40 70%
56% 81% 69% 81% 63%

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Table 4: BRICS Compliance Scores, 2011-2014

  Sanya 2011 Delhi 2012 Durban 2013 Fortaleza 2014 Average
Trade +0.40 0 +1.00 −1.00 +0.10 55%
Development +0.60 +0.40 +0.60 +0.80 +0.60 80%
Macroeconomic policies     +0.20   +0.20 60%
Financial regulation +0.40     +0.20 +0.30 65%
Climate change +0.80 +0.20     +0.50 75%
Reform of international financial institutions +0.20 +0.20     +0.20 60%
Energy   +0.60     +0.60 80%
Regional security     +0.20 +0.20 +0.20 60%
Terrorism     +0.40 +0.60 +0.50 75%
Environment       +1.00 +1.00 100%
Human rights       +0.60 +0.60 80%
Crime and corruption       +0.80 +0.80 90%


+0.48 +0.28 +0.48 +0.40 +0.41  
74% 64% 74% 70% 71%

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Research Team

Professor Marina Larionova, Co-director, BRICS Research Group; Head, HSE International Organizations Research Institute
Professor John Kirton, Co-director, BRICS Research Group

Georgy Babayan
Caroline Bracht
Filipe Carvalho
Joannie Fu
Nancy Kanwal
Nadezhda Lomteva
Vitaly Nagornov
Victoria Pavlyushina
Mark Rakhmangulov
Andrei Sakharov
Sarah Scott
Andrey Shelepov
Alissa Wang

See also the International Organizations Research Institute at the National Research University Higher School of Economics

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