From February 10 to 11, 2014, the First BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Ministerial Meeting was held in Cape Town, South Africa. In line with the eThekwini Declaration adopted by BRICS leaders at the Fifth BRICS Summit held in South Africa in March, 2013, the Meeting was convened under the theme: “A Strategic Partnership for Equitable Growth and Sustainable Development”.
Minister Wan led the MOST delegation to the Meeting, updated the representatives on China’s innovation-driven development strategy, and advised on STI cooperation among BRICS.
The Cape Town Declaration issued after the Meeting reaffirmed the commitment to strengthen pragmatic cooperation and to take concrete actions for closer STI cooperation as confirmed at previous BRICS Summits. The Declaration determined priority areas under the BRICS STI framework and agreed to recognize the following as thematic areas of implementing BRICS STI: climate change and natural disaster mitigation, water pollution and pollution treatment, geospatial technology and its applications, new & renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as astronomy. It also proposed that the BRICS MOU on STI cooperation be signed on the occasion of the 6th BRICS Summit in Brazil 2014.
During his visit to South Africa, Minister Wan met with Minister of South African Department of Science and Technology, Minister of Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, and Vice Minister of Russian Ministry of Education and Science, with the view to promoting bilateral STI cooperation.
Minister Wan and other ministers were also invited by their South African counterpart to visit SKA site.
BRICS is an important collaborative mechanism for emerging countries. As BRICS cooperation deepened constantly in recent years, a wide-ranging and multi-tiered collaborative mechanism has been established. Under the mechanism, BRICS Summit will be the major instrument, while high-level inter-department conference covering various fields will be a supplement.
According to the action plan of Sanya Declaration released at the 3rd BRICS Summit in 2011, MOST took the lead to hold the 1st BRICS Senior Officials Meeting on STI Cooperation, when over 10 priority areas for cooperation were determined, such as exchange on STI policies, new & renewable energy and energy-saving technology, medicine and biotechnology, hi-tech zone/enterprise-university-research institute cooperation/technology transfer, astronomy and earth observation, climate change and natural disaster mitigation, basic research and food security as well as sustainable agriculture. The 2nd and 3rd BRICS Senior Officials Meeting on STI Cooperation were held in South Africa 2012 and India 2013 respectively.