RIO DE JANEIRO MINISTERIAL COMMUNIQUÉ

INDIA-BRAZIL-SOUTH AFRICA (IBSA) DIALOGUE FORUM ( 30 MARCH 2006 )

1.The Minister of State for External Affairs of India, H. E. Mr Anand Sharma, the Minister of External Relations of Brazil, H. E. Mr. Celso Amorim, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, H. E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, met in Rio de Janeiro on 30 March 2006 for the Third Meeting of the Trilateral Commission of the IBSA Dialogue Forum.

2. The Ministers discussed a wide range of critical global issues and reconfirmed their shared vision and determination to play a constructive role in international affairs and to maintain friendly relations with all countries. They reaffirmed the IBSA Dialogue Forum as an important mechanism for political consultation and co-ordination as well as for strengthening cooperation in sectoral areas and to improve economic relations among India, Brazil and South Africa.

3. They confirmed their support for a strong multilateral system as a means towards addressing issues of global concern, in particular the pre-eminent role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security and the promotion of sustainable development.

MILLENNIUM REVIEW SUMMIT

4. The Ministers recognized the successful conclusion of the Millennium Review Summit, which took place in September 2005. The Ministers expressed their hope that the UN reform processes continue to reflect a balance between development and security concerns and, in this regard, reiterated their perception that development matters remain an indispensable foundation for a new collective security system.

5. They reaffirmed their commitment to the goal of developing countries successfully achieving, at the minimum, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a core strategy in the international fight against underdevelopment, hunger and poverty. They reiterated their support for the Action against Hunger and Poverty initiative and, in particular, the Declaration issued by the promoters of the initiative on the occasion of the UN Millennium Review Summit. They reconfirmed the importance of obtaining new and additional financial and other resources for fighting poverty and financing development.

6. Within the framework of the Monterrey consensus, the Ministers acknowledged that the MDGs will not be achieved without also resorting to additional and innovative sources of financing for development. The Ministers confirmed their willingness to support and promote innovative financing mechanisms and in this regard reiterated their intention to take active part in the work by the Leading Group on Solidarity Levies, created at the Ministerial Conference on Innovative Financing, held in Paris in February/March 2006.

UN INSTITUTIONAL REFORM

7. The Ministers reiterated their continued support for the reform of the United Nations to make it more democratic and responsive to the priorities of its Member States, particularly those of developing countries that constitute the vast majority of its membership. In that regard, they welcomed the decisions taken in the September Summit in New York in 2005 and expressed their full support for the implementation of those decisions as contained in the “Summit Outcome Document”.

8. The Ministers emphasised that the Security Council must, in its composition, represent contemporary realities and not those of 1945. Keeping in view that the decisions of the Security Council should serve the interests of the larger United Nations Membership, they emphasised the need for the urgent reform of the Security Council that would include its expansion in both categories of membership, permanent and non-permanent, in order to render it more democratic, legitimate, representative and responsive. Towards this end, the representation of developing countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America, as permanent members of the Security Council, is essential. The IBSA countries agreed to continue to exchange views on this issue, which they feel is central to the process of the reform of the United Nations, and work towards this common purpose in the coming months, with the view to achieving concrete results by the end of the 60th General Assembly.

9. They welcomed the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission as an important intergovernmental advisory body through which international community could provide long term support to countries emerging from conflict, including capacity-building efforts. IBSA countries reiterated their commitment towards working for an early operationalisation of the Peacebuilding Commission.

10. They welcomed the creation of the Human Rights Council and expressed their commitment to ensuring that it fulfils the expectation of the international community. Now that the Peace Building Commission and the Human Rights Council have been created, the UN reform process must concentrate on the Security Council reform.

11. They voiced their full support for the capable manner in which the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, has been conducting the work of the organisation, and expressed confidence in his efforts to enhance the UN’s role in international relations.

12. They recommitted their respective delegations to the UN and its specialised agencies, as well as other multilateral bodies, to remain in close contact with each other and to consult on all issues of significance.

SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION

13. The Ministers reaffirmed that South-South cooperation is an essential and fundamental component of international cooperation for development, and stressed their support for mainstreaming of South-South cooperation and of the pursuit of the development of Technical Cooperation amongst Developing Countries (TCDC) to its full potential. In this regard, they recommitted themselves to work together for the enhancement of South-South cooperation and emphasized the establishment of the IBSA Fund as an example of cooperation among three developing countries for the benefit of the neediest nations of the South.

14. They noted with satisfaction the adoption of the Doha Plan of Action at the South Summit, held in Doha, between 12 and 16 June 2005. They emphasized the importance of strengthening South-South cooperation in order to promote growth and development.

THE NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICA´S DEVELOPMENT (NEPAD)

15. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for the socio-economic development programme of the African Union and committed the IBSA partnership to seeking practical and concrete measures to be pursued in support of the implementation of NEPAD. The three countries share a common experience in the struggle against poverty and underdevelopment, as well as complementary levels of development. There was therefore much to gain from sharing information and best practices in dealing with common challenges and in identifying areas of common concern, need and benefit.

SOUTH AMERICAN INTEGRATION

16. The Ministers welcomed the consolidation of the South American Community of Nations, which held its first Presidential Meeting in Brasilia, on 30 September, 2005, and recognized it as a major achievement in the process of strengthening the political coordination and economic, commercial and infrastructural integration among South American countries.

TERRORISM

17. The Ministers reaffirmed that international terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to peace and security and that acts of terrorism were criminal and unjustifiable whatever the considerations or factors that might be invoked to justify them. The Ministers emphasised the need for concerted and co-ordinated action by the international community, with the ultimate objective of eradicating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

18. They reaffirmed their full support for the implementation of all the measures to combat terrorism outlined in relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. They welcomed the Council’s efforts to increase cooperation and coordination in the fight against terrorism and called on the international community to work together in a spirit of cooperation and tolerance to eliminate terrorism. Recalling that the Outcome Document of the World Summit 2005 had called upon the member states to conclude a comprehensive convention on international terrorism during the current Session of the UN General Assembly, the Ministers stressed the importance of finalising the convention on international terrorism and called upon all States to cooperate in resolving the outstanding issues with the objective of an expeditious conclusion of negotiations and the adoption of this Convention.

19. They emphasised that international cooperation to combat terrorism should be conducted in conformity with the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and relevant international conventions, including international human rights, humanitarian and refugee instruments.

DISARMAMENT, NON-PROLIFERATION AND ARMS CONTROL

20. The Ministers reaffirmed the view that the primary focus on human development, the fight against poverty, and measures to promote a better quality of life, should underpin and provide for greater guarantees for international peace and stability. The three Ministers took stock of the global security situation concerning disarmament and non-proliferation, and expressed their concern over the lack of progress in multilateral fora related to the field, and voiced their hope that the international community will show the necessary resolve and political will to reinforce the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime by means of multilaterally-negotiated, transparent, balanced and effective measures. 

21. The Ministers expressed their conviction that multilateral institutions set up under multilateral disarmament agreements should remain the primary institutions and mechanisms, in the international community’s endeavour to achieve common objectives in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.

22. They took note of the positive continuing cooperation among their countries at the IAEA and other fora, with a view to ensuring the unimpeded growth and development of the peaceful use of atomic energy, through the supply of technology, equipment and material, under appropriate safeguards, and reaffirmed their will to intensify such cooperation. In this regard, the Ministers called for a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear programme within the context of the IAEA.

23. They highlighted that nuclear energy can play an important role in meeting growing global energy requirements while at the same time addressing concerns related to global warming. In this regard they agreed to consider further enhancing international civilian nuclear cooperation, with countries who share the objectives of non-proliferation and have contributed to them, as well as having concluded appropriate safeguard agreements with IAEA.

24. The Ministers expressed concern over the continuing impasse in the Conference on Disarmament and called upon member states to intensify efforts to reach an agreement on a programme of work. In this context, they reiterated that the Five Ambassadors proposal as revised in 2003 still remained a viable basis for a programme of work. 

25. They also expressed their commitment to the universalization of the Convention for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), as well as to the goal of ensuring its balanced, transparent and effective implementation.

26. They also agreed on the pressing need to adopt measures aimed at strengthening the Convention for the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons, in order to consolidate its role as a key disarmament instrument of the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime, and expressed their will to intensify the cooperation and consultations in relation to the Convention, in particular in the context of its 6th Review Conference, scheduled for November-December 2006.

27. They recalled the importance of cooperative and effective international action against the illicit trade in small arms, light weapons and ammunition, and the need for the 2006 Review Conference of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UN-PoA), adopted at the Conference on the Illicit Trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.

SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST

28. The Ministers welcomed the holding of transparent and free parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territories on 25 January 2006 and of general elections in Israel this very week. They welcomed the strengthening of the democratic process in Palestine and the peaceful nature of the polling. They expressed the hope that the newly formed government in Palestine and the newly formed government in Israel will continue to pursue peaceful negotiations as laid down by the Road Map for Peace and to abstain from taking any action or measure which might put in jeopardy the peace process in the region leading to the establishment of a viable, sovereign, independent State of Palestine living side by side in peaceful co-existence with the State of Israel.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

29. Considering the results of the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference, held in Hong Kong, in December 2005, the Ministers emphasized the necessity of renewed political commitment to advance negotiations so that the Hong Kong deadlines are met.

30. As agriculture is central to development and the Doha Round, the Ministers expressed their conviction that Hong Kong consolidated the G-20 as an element of systemic relevance in WTO Agriculture negotiations.

31. The Ministers emphasised the need to consolidate unity on the development content of the Round. This is supported by increased activity, in the form of consultations, held in Geneva by Indian, Brazilian and South African delegations, in order to co-ordinate positions and strengthen Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA), as well as the establishment of the NAMA -11 whose two main principles are supporting flexibilities for developing countries and balance between NAMA and other areas under negotiation.

32. They recognized the importance of incorporating the development dimension in international discussions concerning intellectual property, as a means to preserve the policy space that countries enjoy in ensuring access to knowledge, health, culture and a sustainable environment. In this context, they welcomed the launching of a “Development Agenda in the World Intellectual Property Organization” and reaffirmed their hope that the aforementioned Organization incorporates effectively the development dimension in all its bodies.

33. The Ministers took note of the broader objectives of the European Union proposed Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) Legislation, in respect of the protection of human health and the environment. The Ministers reiterated their support for the commitments made on chemical safety at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002.

34. The ministers expressed their concern for the unintended consequences that REACH will have on developing economies exporting to the EU. Such consequences will negatively affect the attainment of development goals in the South, including the MDGs . The Ministers recognised the efforts, commitments and determination of leaders of developing economies to effectively address the challenges of poverty, underdevelopment, marginalisation social exclusion and economic disparities. 

35. The Ministers urged the EU to give due consideration to the grave consequences for developing economies should REACH be adopted in its current form. The Ministers urged the EU to ensure that REACH will not become a Technical Barrier to Trade (TBT). The high costs for compliance, the possibilities for substituting commodities and the lack of technological and human resource capacity to comply may render the EU markets inaccessible for exports from developing countries. The Ministers expressed their desire that REACH should be consistent with the WTO laws and provide for adequate flexibility to developing countries. 

36. The Ministers undertook to work together and jointly to address the challenges posed by REACH. The Ministers resolved to make all efforts to cooperate in coordinated manner regarding REACH.

INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM

37. The Ministers underlined the convergence of views regarding the need for enhancing the governance of the international financial system and, in this respect, reiterated their commitment to coordinate efforts on this issue. They further stressed that progress in this field will lead to improvements in crisis prevention and the increase of resources to finance development.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT


38. The Ministers reaffirmed the validity of the principles contained in the Rio Declaration, particularly on common but differentiated responsibilities, the Programme of Action contained in Agenda 21, and the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg. IBSA would continue its efforts to mobilise new and additional financial resources and the transfer of environmentally-sound technologies within an agreed time-frame in order to implement the outcomes of these conferences.

39. They stressed that an international environment supportive of development would be critical to this process. They also called for a specific focus on capacity-building as well as on the transfer of financial resources and technology to developing countries.

40. They noted with appreciation the stage of the TRIPS Council negotiations on the relationship between the TRIPS Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity and reaffirmed the urgent need that Members reach a prompt solution for the problem raised by the granting of intellectual property rights concerning or making use of genetic resources and/or associated traditional knowledge without compliance of relevant provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity. In this respect, they underscored the wide support for the proposal of amending TRIPS with a view to require intellectual property applications to disclose the country of origin of the subject matter as well as the compliance with the requirements of fair and equitable benefit-sharing and prior informed consent, in accordance with the legislation of the country of origin.

41. They expressed, in this context, their positive expectations about the results of the VIII Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-8/CBD), which is being held in Curitiba, Brazil (March, 20th-31st). They concurred on that COP-8 constitutes an opportunity to advance the effective implementation of CBD.

42. They also called for expediting negotiation and conclusion of the international regime on access and benefit sharing, as an instrument for protecting intellectual property rights concerning traditional and indigenous knowledge. India, Brazil and South Africa, as the founding members of the Group of Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries, agreed to strengthen cooperation and co-ordination, with an emphasis on multilateral negotiations and in fostering activities related to South-South Cooperation.

43. They recalled that Brazil, India and South Africa will jointly participate in the Capacity Building Committee of the Group on Earth Observation (GEO), an intergovernmental partnership entrusted with implementing the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). The participation in the Capacity Building Committee provides a unique opportunity for the three countries to cooperate in enhancing the capabilities of developing countries, especially less developed ones, in the use, analysis, interpretation and modelling of Earth Observation data, for applications in the nine societal benefit areas of GEOSS, which comprise Agriculture, Health, Disasters, Water, Ecosystems, Climate, Meteorology, Energy and Biodiversity.

CLIMATE CHANGE

44. The Ministers expressed their satisfaction with the results of the Montreal meetings (COP-11, COP/MOP-1), particularly with the adoption of the Marrakech Accords and the establishment of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex 1 Parties under the Kyoto Protocol to consider such commitments for the period beyond 2012. They further urged developed countries to meet their own commitments and undertakings under the Protocol not only in terms of complying with current targets for Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emission reduction, but also in terms of their commitment in respect of technology transfer, capacity building and financial support to developing countries. They also welcomed the dialogue on long term co-operative action to address climate change by enhancing implementation of the Convention.

45. They also agreed on the need for continued consultations within IBSA Forum on the environment and climate change issues.

IBSA FACILITY FUND FOR ALLEVIATION OF POVERTY AND HUNGER

46. The Ministers reiterated the fundamental character of the IBSA Fund as a means to disseminate the best practices in the alleviation of poverty and hunger. They emphasized the importance of the participation of institutions of IBSA countries (Governmental and Non-Governmental) in the projects financed by the Fund and recommended that the UNDP, as administrator of the Fund, find means to make that participation possible. 

47. The Ministers received the report of the visit of the Technical Monitoring Committee (TMC) to Guinea Bissau and accepted the recommendations made by the TMC, especially concerning the management of the project, and urged the UNDP Office in Bissau to work more closely with the UNDP Special Unit for South-South Cooperation in New York, the Coordinator of the project and the Guinean Bissau national authorities. They accepted the Committee´s recommendation that an additional agreement be signed with UNDP in order to clarify rights and obligations of both parties.

48. The Ministers reiterated their commitment to move forward with other projects in the scope of the Fund. They welcomed the finalisation of the concept paper of the project on waste collection in Haiti (Carrefour Feuille) and called upon speedy appointment of a project coordinator so that the project can be implemented as soon as possible.. They underlined the importance of making progresses in the drawing up of the projects benefiting Palestine and Laos. 

49. The IBSA countries recommitted themselves to allocate at least US$ 1 million a year to the Fund.

IBSA SECTORAL COOPERATION

50. The Ministers reviewed the work of the sectoral working groups and adopted their reports. 

51. Reference was made to the two Workshops on Information Society and E-Government, held in South Africa and India, and to the commitment of the three delegations to actively participate in the last event of the series, to take place in Brazil, in June 2006.

52. The Ministers welcomed the agreement reached by the Working Group on the Information Society, on the content of the “IBSA Framework for Cooperation on Information Society”, setting up the basis and defining modes of cooperation in the fields of Information Society and Communication Technologies, and took note with satisfaction of the Joint Action Program for 2006-2007, prescribing specific initiatives in all fields of cooperation covered by the Framework. The Ministers also welcomed the development of the IBSA website (www.ibsa-trilateral.org), maintained by South Africa, and invite the various working groups of the IBSA Forum to provide content and make full use of this channel of communication.

53. The Ministers recognized with pleasure the high level of coordination between the three delegations during the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in Tunis, in November 2005, and its preparatory works. In this regard, the three countries reiterated their commitment to keep working together during the WSIS follow-up process, as well as in other international fora related to the issue, to promote the use of Information and Communication Technologies as a tool for development and to build multilateral, democratic and transparent global Internet governance mechanisms.

54. The Ministers decided to formalise the establishment of an additional sectoral working group on Social Issues, as a follow-up to the International Seminar on Economic Development and Social Equity, held in Rio de Janeiro, on 3rd and 4th August, 2005. They also expressed their intention of establishing as soon as possible a working group on Public Administration. 

55. The member countries reiterated their commitment to further promote the production and use of Biofuels as environmentally friendly and sustainable fuels which promote socio - economic development, taking into consideration their global importance. Progress is being made, on exchange of information on Renewable Energy and the Biofuels value chain. 

56. More emphasis will be placed on exchange of information into the areas of energy efficiency and conservation, and hydrogen energy. India will host the second technical meeting of the Energy Working Group, to which other stakeholders including private sector players may be invited for the enhancement of implementation of IBSA initiatives. 

57. The Ministers agreed on the importance of new initiatives aimed at strengthening economic and trade relations among developing countries, as a means to generate business opportunities and contribute to an international trade scenario more suitable to their development projects. In that regard, they took note with great satisfaction that Mercosul will be proposing to SACU and India the creation of a Working Group to explore the modalities of a Trilateral Free Trade Agreement (T-FTA) among them. They underlined the significance of this exercise and expressed their full support to the initiative.

58. Further the Ministers supported the initiative of a renewable source of energy seminar and the proposals to assist Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises through the proposed study on how to make business in the IBSA countries, and the proposals on sharing of experiences and training opportunities.

59. The Ministers also laid emphasis on the need to conclude the bilateral customs cooperation agreements expeditiously.

60. The member countries decided that, in taking forward the renewed approach to IBSA deliverables, South Africa should host a meeting on civil aviation and maritime transport in April 2006. This meeting will focus on the finalization of the trilateral on maritime transport agreement and also review implementation of air transport agreement. It should be noted, in addition, that during the present meeting of the working group in Rio, which also included the presence of representatives of Air India, VARIG and SAA, tremendous progress has been made and concrete projects have been identified for cooperation. To this end cooperation will be fostered in areas of airlink expansions, training and knowledge sharing in airports and airspace management, port management, operational and infrastructural systems, including capacity building in shipbuilding, environmental management and navigational systems. 

61. The development of transshipment facilities will also be made a priority in order to support the IBSA trade strategy which advocates for the creation of South-South shipping highway that integrate subregional connection between MERCOSUL, SACU and Indian regions. 

62. The Ministers noted progress on the establishment of a framework to strengthen cooperation in the field of agriculture. Specific areas of cooperation that have been identified are: research and capacity building, agricultural trade, rural development and poverty alleviation, and other allied areas as may be agreed.

63. Following the successful meeting of the health working group held in Brazil from 6th to 10th February 2006 in which broad areas of cooperation were discussed, the South African Minister of Health invited her counterparts for a meeting in March 2006. However, this meeting will now take place on the margins of the WHO meeting in Geneva, in May 2006.

IBSA TRADE AND INVESTMENT FORUM

64. The Ministers noted with satisfaction the results of the Trade and Investment Forum. The forum was divided into four panels: a) Trilateral trade analysis; b) implementation of the preferential trade agreements between Mercosul, India and Southern African Customs Union (SACU); c) challenges to the growth of the trilateral trade (barriers, logistics and financing); and d) organization of the trilateral business meeting on the occasion of the IBSA Meeting of Heads of Government and State in September 2006.The delegations of India, Brazil and South Africa presented data and facts concerning trade issues that thrusted fruitful discussions among the businessmen attending the meeting. 

65. It was presented an evaluation of the current aspects of the negotiations involving Mercosul, Sacu and India. All delegations concluded that there must be an expansion on acting positions to fit the ever growing market of the three countries. The importance of solid links between the three countries was mentioned several times and also the necessity of a stronger South-South union. The possible substitution of imports from northern countries by imports from southern countries was considered a possible solution to enforce this new commercial agreement.

66. Brazilian businessmen pointed out that among the main barriers to be eliminated to foster trilateral trade are: a) logistics, b) customs procedures, c) lack of information and d) distances. The logistic problem was tackled by the suggestion of a study (previously discussed in the IBSA work group for trade and investment (on march 28th) to further address the issue. The private sector also emphasized the necessity of creating flights uniting Brazil-South Africa-India. The measure would help to narrow the distances both physical and cultural between IBSA partners.

67. In what concerns customs procedures, it was suggested more cooperation in the area by the specific government institutions, in order to simplify many of the regulations and turn the customs process into a more unified process. 

68. The study suggested in the work group of trade and investment, as well as the magazine “Brazil Brand of Excellence”, the Brazilian website “Brazil Trade Net” and the creation of the IBSA site, were solutions proposed to help ease the gap of information, and bring businessmen from the three countries closer.

69. A great deal of possible solutions were suggested to help strengthen the IBSA economic area: more aggressive free trade agreements, closer relations between businesses and industries from the three countries, enhancing contact between the automobile industries of IBSA. 

70. Some sectors were also given special attention: the renewable energy sector and ethanol industry. The WG on trade and investment decided to create a seminar that will happen in South Africa before the Summit in September. 

71. The meeting was praised and considered by the attendants as highly productive. It is expected new steps towards a more united and stronger IBSA by all.

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72. The Ministers of India and South Africa confirmed the participation of Prime Minister Singh and President Mbeki in the IBSA Summit to be convened by Brazil on 13th September 2006.

73. The Ministers welcomed the announcement by Brazil of the II Conference of Intellectuals from the Africa and the Diaspora, which will take place in Salvador, on 12th-14th July 2006. Representatives from India will also be extended an invitation to attend this meeting as observers.

74. The Ministers of India and South Africa expressed their deep gratitude to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil for convening the Third Meeting of the Trilateral Commission.

75. The Ministers agreed that the next meeting will be hosted by India in the first quarter of 2007.