BRICS nations powwow in Sanya

Updated: 2011-12-04 07:30

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)

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SANYA, Hainan - Delegates to the First BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Friendship Cities and Local Governments Cooperation Forum reached a series of agreements in China's southern beach city of Sanya on Saturday.

"On the principles of openness, solidarity and mutual respect, it is of great importance to promote common development of friendship cities and local governments of BRICS by introducing a long-term cooperative mechanism," said Li Xiaolin, president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

The two-day forum, which is an important supporting activity of the BRICS Leaders Meeting, included some key issues such as food safety, urban development and environmental protection, financial crisis, energy strategy and intercultural communication among BRICS sister cities.

The forum, which will be convened annually by the hosting country of the BRICS Leaders Meeting, will give special attention to cooperation and collaboration and share experiences and practices to tackle challenges of urbanization of BRICS cities, Li said.

The second forum will be convened in India next year.

"The forum will strengthen dialogue and cooperation in the fields of provincial and local partnership, including infrastructure, community development initiatives, human settlements, green economy, educational exchange programs, culture, friendship cities and transfer of appropriate technologies," Li said.

So far, 94 Chinese autonomous regions, provinces and cities have established ties of friendship with their Russian counterparts, and 48 with Brazil and 25 with South Africa.

"Indian delegates have expressed strong willingness to work closely with China to share experiences and cooperate in the fields of economic and cultural development," Li said.

Sergey Razov, Russian ambassador to China, said authorities in Russia are determined to develop closer cooperation with BRICS counterparts as his country is a major center of agriculture, new energy and industry.

"The forum this time offers a very good chance for all BRICS members to share their experiences and skills in tackling problems that our cities are facing. We will do more next to learn from each other and better prepare for the next forum in India," he told China Daily.

Razov said with rapid growth in trade and economic cooperation, more efforts should be put into expanding direct links between cities and regions to better achieve common goals in development.

Albert Kleiman, chief of the International Advisory under Secretariat of Federal Affairs of the Secretariat of Institutional Relations of the Presidency of Brazil, said all BRICS nations are facing challenges from rapid urbanization, migration, food security and other issues, which needed joint efforts for resolution.

"Local governments are responsible for better implementing central government's policies to improve people's well-beings," he told Xinhua News Agency.