Pretoria - Recognising the pressing need for enhancing the flow of development finance, leaders of the five-nation Brics bloc have directed their finance ministers to work towards forming a Development Bank that would cater for the needs of developing countries.
In the declaration issued after their fourth summit, leaders of Brics - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - said the envisaged bank would mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in Brics and other emerging economies, and developing countries.
This, the leaders said, would "supplement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development".
To get the ball rolling, the five leaders have mandated their finance ministers to examine the feasibility and viability of such an initiative.
They have also been requested to set up a joint working group for further study, which would be reported back in the next summit.
A Brics-led development bank would not only reinforce the grouping's stature, but also encourage investment in a more sustainable and productive manner for the financing of infrastructure. The plan is also seen as a potential counterweight to other multilateral lenders such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
The declaration, issued in New Delhi, also included a range of international issues such as stability, security and prosperity.
The summit came at a critical time when economic recovery is still struggling against fragile financial systems, high public and private debt, unemployment, the rising price of oil and food; and economies have to adopt responsible macroeconomic and financial policies, avoid creating excessive global liquidity and undertake structural reforms to lift growth that create jobs.
"We call for further international financial regulatory oversight and reform, strengthening policy coordination and financial regulation and supervision cooperation, and promoting the sound development of global financial markets and banking systems," reads the declaration.
The leaders also called for a more open and merit-based process on the selection of heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.
"We therefore call for a more representative international financial architecture, with an increase in the voice and representation of developing countries and the establishment and improvement of a just international monetary system that can serve the interests of all countries and support the development of emerging and developing economies.
"Moreover, these economies having experienced broad-based growth are now significant contributors to global recovery," reads the declaration.
It also emphasized the role of the IMF to make its surveillance framework more integrated and even-handed.
The declaration also called on the World Bank to give greater priority to mobilising resources and meeting the needs of development finance while reducing lending costs and adopting innovative lending tools.
It also highlighted the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly Syria, Iran and Afghanistan.
"We agree that the period of transformation taking place in the Middle East and North Africa should not be used as a pretext to delay resolution of lasting conflicts but rather it should serve as an incentive to settle them, in particular the Arab-Israeli conflict."
On Syria, the declaration called for an immediate end to all violence and violations of human rights in that country, saying global interests would best be served by dealing with the crisis through peaceful means that encourage broad national dialogues that reflect the legitimate aspirations of all sections of Syrian society and respect Syrian independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.
With regard to Iran's right to peaceful use of nuclear energy, consistent with its international obligations, the bloc raised concerns about the situation that was emerging around the issue, saying the situation could be allowed to escalate into conflict.
They also reiterated strong commitment to multilateral diplomacy with the United Nations, the Millennium Development Goals, green economy and the alleviation of the humanitarian crisis that still affects millions of people in the Horn of Africa.