BRICS ASTRONOMY WORKING GROUP (BAWG) MEETING

BRICS ASTRONOMY WORKING GROUP (BAWG) MEETING

WHY IN NEWS?
 Recently, India virtually hosted the 7th meeting of the BRICS Astronomy Working Group (BAWG) under the Science, Technology, and Innovation track of the BRICS 2021.
 The Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, and Department of Science and Technology (DST) coordinated the meeting.

BRICS:
 BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
 In 2001, the British Economist Jim O’Neill coined the term BRIC to describe the four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
 The grouping was formalised during the first meeting of BRIC Foreign Ministers’ in 2006.
 South Africa was invited to join BRIC in December 2010, after which the group adopted the acronym BRICS.
 India has assumed the BRICS Presidency from January 2021.

STRUCTURE:
 BRICS does not exist in the form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.
 The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.
 Cooperation Mechanism: Cooperation among members is achieved through:
 Track I: Formal diplomatic engagement between the national governments.
 Track II: Engagement through government-affiliated institutions, e.g. state-owned enterprises and business councils.
 Track III: Civil society and People-to-People engagement.

AREAS OF COOPERATION:
ECONOMIC COOPERATION:
 Agreements have been concluded in the areas of Economic and Trade Cooperation; Innovation Cooperation, Customs Cooperation; strategic cooperation between the BRICS Business Council, Contingent Reserve Agreement and the New Development Bank.

PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE EXCHANGE:
 This seeks to forge new friendships; deepen relations and mutual understanding between BRICS peoples in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness, diversity and mutual learning.
 Such People to people exchanges include the Young Diplomats Forum, Parliamentarian Forum, Trade Union Forum, Civil BRICS as well as the Media Forum.

POLITICAL AND SECURITY COOPERATION:
 This is aimed at achieving peace, security, development and cooperation for a more equitable and fair world.
 BRICS is utilised as a driver for South Africa’s foreign policy priorities including the pursuit of the African Agenda and South-South Cooperation.

ABOUT BRICS ASTRONOMY WORKING GROUP:
 It provides a platform for BRICS member countries to collaborate in the field of astronomy, recommending that the focal points in each country should present the scientific results of the work being carried out in each country.
 This will help seek funding support to realize the flagship project whenever funding opportunities are announced by BRICS funding agencies.

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