An annual business forum held in Saint Petersburg with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Federal Agency "Rossotrudnichestvo", and the Government of Saint Petersburg.
The purpose of the Forum is to promote the integration of positive international experience, local implementation of state tasks, development of social and economic well-being of municipal territories, introduction of information, digital and innovative technologies in the daily activities of major cities in developing countries.
The Forum was first held in September 2019 at the Lenexpo Exhibition Complex (Saint Petersburg, Russia) with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The Forum's business programme included 30 sessions. Representatives of municipalities from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa exchanged best practices in the development of territories, presented investment-attractive projects, and established new business contacts.
The Forum programme was aimed at discussing key issues in the fields of economy and investment, construction and real estate transactions, trade and development of small and medium-sized businesses, industry, agriculture, ecology, tourism, culture, education, and sports. More than 700 participants took part in the event. A sports programme was also held within the framework of the Forum, namely the International Municipal Rugby-7 Tournament among teams from the BRICS countries.
The delegates summed up the results of the work and developed a draft roadmap for cooperation between the BRICS municipalities.
The draft roadmap included proposals to strengthen cooperation between municipalities; transit to renewable environmentally friendly energy sources; separate collection and expedient recycling of waste; develop new tourist destinations; establish a work group to identify the basic needs of the BRICS municipalities in the context of cooperation and exchange of experience of state and municipal practices in BRICS countries and cities; develop cultural exchange; develop the sports industry, and more.
In 2020, the IMBRICS+ Forum was held under the auspices of the Russian chairmanship in BRICS and was included in the text of the Moscow Declaration of the XII BRICS Summit, approved by the leaders of the member states. The Forum's business programme was organised jointly by various ministries, federal services, universities, and public organisations of the Russian Federation. The total number of speakers at the Forum in 2020 was more than 170, and the number of connected users was 3,796.
A number of high-ranking officials of the BRICS countries made speeches during the business sessions of the Forum, including the Deputy Mayor of São Paulo (Brazil), Adviser to the Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to the Russian Federation, as well as the Consuls General of India and China. Apart from the five countries, speakers and listeners from Italy, Spain, Argentina, Mali, Peru, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Nigeria, Mongolia, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Denmark, Austria and other countries took part in the IMBRICS+ Forum.
The business programme included 29 sessions devoted to numerous topical issues in various fields. Work at the IMBRICS+ Forum began on November 5 with a discussion on the modernisation of passenger urban transport, urbanism and the creation of a comfortable urban environment, and the development of domestic tourism in the BRICS countries.
The agenda of the second day of the Forum included the topics of digitalisation and its impact on society, investment interaction, import and export, exchange of electoral practices, antimonopoly regulations, prevention of the spread of infectious diseases, inter-party interaction, work with young people, social protection of the population. The Forum programme also included a number of signing ceremonies of cooperation agreements, in particular, between the Brazilian city of Guarulhos and the Russian cities of Perm and Chelyabinsk.
On November 5-6, the III IMBRICS+ Forum took place in Saint Petersburg in an online format. The Forum was planned to be held in an offline format, however, due to the increase in the incidence of coronavirus infection in Saint Petersburg, the Forum has changed its format to online. The event was held via Zoom. The organisers were broadcasting from the Nevsky Town Hall.
Within the framework of the Forum, 24 sessions (videoconferences) were held, in which 235 speakers and moderators took part. The duration of each individual conference was 2 hours. All sessions were held live with broadcasts on the YouTube channel. Individual sessions were also broadcast in the official VKontakte group.
The business programme included the following thematic units: economy and business, artificial intelligence, digitalisation, urbanism, infrastructure development, development of distant territories, import-export relations, energy, ecology, cultural heritage, tourism, integrated development of territories, sustainable development, investment cooperation, healthcare, agriculture, industry, youth policy, sports, public diplomacy, and others. The sessions were attended by, among others: Mayor of Guarulhos, Vice Mayor of Recife (Brazil), President of the All India Association of Industries, Vice Mayor of Panzhou (China), Mayor of Palermo (Italy), Ambassador of the Argentine Republic to Russia, President of the Chamber of the European Council of Engineers (Austria), and others. Honorary President of the New Development Bank (BRICS Bank) Kundapur Vaman Kamath, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Head of Rossotrudnichestvo Evgeny Primakov, Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation Alexey Kudrin, Vice Mayor of Qingdao (China) Li Jiang, and others addressed the participants of the Forum in a video format.
The Forum hosted signing ceremonies of 11 agreements on international cooperation between regions and municipalities, in particular, between Krasnodar and the Chinese city of Jinhua, Gorodetsky district of Nizhny Novgorod region and the Brazilian city of Trinidad.