The presidents and foreign ministers of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries met in Fortaleza, Brazil on July 15 and signed a formal agreement to create the BRICS-led bank called the New Development Bank (NDB). The NDB will focus its lending on infrastructure and sustainable development projects; however, these two priorities are at least partially incompatible. On the one hand, the heavy environmental costs of many infrastructure projects need more attention and cannot be offset by a separate set of sustainable development projects. On the other hand, international observers should recognize and reinforce the environmental progress BRICS countries have made. This policy brief, authored by Kathryn Hochstetler, outlines how the NDB could help coordinate finance partnerships that aim to extend their innovations in reducing deforestation and expanding renewable energy across the developing world, bringing real environmental improvements, including in reducing climate emissions. This policy brief draws heavily on a special section of the journal Global Policy, which was edited by the author of this publication. The special section is available online through this link.
Kathryn Hochstetler is CIGI chair of governance in the Americas at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and professor of political science at the University of Waterloo. Previously, she taught in the political science departments of the University of New Mexico and Colorado State University. She has held research positions at the Centre for Brazilian Studies at Oxford University and the Instituto de Desarrollo Economico y Social in Buenos Aires.