A Meeting of the Culture, Sports, and Tourism Working Group under the BRICS Civil Forum Took Place on April 26

On April 26, the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation hosted a meeting of the Culture, Sports, Tourism Working group under the BRICS Civil Forum. During the meeting, participants discussed the content and procedure for preparing the proposals to be included in the stance document of the upcoming forum. Proposals were made to ensure the integration of new members into the Working group's agenda. Experts highlighted the crucial role of interaction between civil society members of the BRICS nations in fostering integration and building non-governmental contacts between member states.

Andrey Maksimov, Chair of the Civic Chamber Commission on Spatial Development, Urban Environment, and Infrastructure, who moderated the meeting, mentioned that proposals had been received from almost every group member and a draft document had already been prepared. However, the Forum Secretariat requested that the proposed project be supplemented with the basic principles and values that should underpin cooperation between the BRICS nations.

“We must identify the basic principles and interests that we defend. Our group needs a stance document, with a preamble outlining our tasks, goals, and the key values we stand for. To strengthen integration, we need to highlight projects that our partners are already successfully implementing but in which Russia is not yet involved,” Andrey Maksimov explained.

He also reminded that the declaration should clearly indicate whether an initiative requires government participation or if it is a public integration initiative to be implemented with private funds or on a voluntary basis.
“To achieve this, we need to find international partners, whereas any activities involving the government require separate coordination,” said the Member of the Russian Civic Chamber.

Morality is the most potent unifying principle, according to Lyudmila Sekacheva, President of the “BRICS: The World of Traditions” Regional Public Organization and Head of the "BRICS Peoples Choose Life" Programme.

“The topic of morality has a consolidating significance and is understandable to all peoples. We have already proposed projects such as the Anthem of the BRICS Peoples and the cultural-themed youth tourist route ‘In the Footsteps of the Great BRICS Teachers’. Great teachers like Confucius, Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela have left the world a legacy of moral instruction, a moral vaccine to cure society of violence. We can focus on projects and domains that will support spiritual and moral well-being, human health, and a sense of patriotism. Without a harmonious state—in words, ideas, thoughts, and actions—we are bound to fail everywhere. I suggest taking the quote 'From the ecology of the soul and body to the ecology of the world' as the motto for our cultural track,” Lyudmila Sekacheva proposed.

Andrey Maksimov supported this idea and added that BRICS is a global group of countries and peoples with a prevailing emphasis on localization.

“Our goal is to maintain the distinct local, national, and ethnic flavours. We place a great importance on cultural diversity. We refuse to let this cultural diversity be overshadowed by globalisation. And this must be designated as our core principle,” he proposed.

The experts agreed that the document's introduction should mention that the goals of the socio-cultural programmes within the BRICS cooperation framework are based on the principles of justice, mutual respect, mutual assistance, and the desire to preserve and enhance cultural, spiritual, and moral heritage. They also concurred that the proclamation should indicate that socio-cultural initiatives seek to provide access to all cultural accomplishments, promote the growth of member nations, and support the aspirations of the BRICS peoples for equitable development without barriers.
Natalia Bondarenko, Co-Chair of the Public Health and Well-Being Working group, highlighted potential areas of collaboration between two working groups of the upcoming forum. She suggested that the topics of public health, human well-being, and tourism could intersect effectively, particularly through cooperation between twin towns across the BRICS countries. Another proposal concerned the medical tourism initiative, the so-called BRICS Holiday Package.

“If the medical tourism alliance of the BRICS nations is integrated with cultural and tourism projects, it could yield fascinating results,” she stated.

The idea to improve twin town collaboration amongst the BRICS nations was endorsed by the experts. They proposed that the goals and objectives of this initiative should include increasing the importance of contacts between nations and municipalities in modern political context, preserving the high social significance of this movement, and demonstrating readiness to develop further cooperation.

Among other fundamental principles and values underpinning cooperation in culture, tourism, and sports within the BRICS framework, the participants highlighted linguistic and cultural diversity, commitment to social justice, and prioritizing spiritual potential and genuine cultural wisdom over materialistic pursuits.

The experts also suggested including the creation of a unified information portal on BRICS in the recommendations.