Diverse voices: A brief account on the civil society spaces at the margins of the 8th BRICS Summit in India
BRICS ‘civilised’ and ‘popular’ spaces
by Laura Trajber Waisbich 
India has just hosted the 8th BRICS Summit. The country was proud to announce it had put together a series of more than 112 official events taking place in several different Indian cities, covering a broad range of policy areas, and bringing together a range of stakeholders from the BRICS; from presidents and prime ministers to trade and health ministers, to under-17 football players.
Indian civil society groups have also put a significant amount of energy in hosting a series of events and meetings for their peers in India. Many of them happened throughout the year, in the form of run up meetings, aiming at galvanizing Indian national civil society attention to this difficult creature that is (and continues to be) BRICS.
As October arrived, civil society groups in India and their counterparts in the remaining BRICS countries have gathered in two large events: the Civil Forum on BRICS (Delhi, October 3-4th, 2016) and the People’s Forum on BRICS (Goa, October 13-14th, 2016). In the pages that will follow, we will discuss these two main invited and claimed/created spaces for participation in regards to the BRICS, as well as the venues they open for citizen engagement with BRICS ideas, political projects, policies and actions.
As a first exercise, we will give a brief background to how social participation has been played out in the BRICS. After one full cycle of BRICS chairmanships, since South Africa joined the group in 2011, civil society engagement with the BRICS (both at the national level and internationally) has evolved significantly, albeit in a setting constantly full of obstacles. As recently argued by Pomeroy et al. (2016, 171):
“despite the apparently more promising engagement environment in the ‘democratic emerging powers’ [namely the IBSA countries (India, Brazil and South Africa)], even in these countries civil society efforts to achieve effective influence over the SSDC [South-South Development Cooperation] agendas of the BRICS collectively, or individual countries, face many obstacles. Nationally, the fact that SSDC is mainly seen as a foreign policy agenda traditionally closed to civil society engagement—and the restriction increasingly imposed on the domestic enabling environment for civil societies are critical stumbling blocks to engagement […]. Internationally, even under Indian, South African or Brazilian presidencies BRICS has certainly proved less open to civil society than to other sectors, such as academia or business, that have their own channels to reach government leaders. Within the IBSA countries, civil society’s lack of common diagnostics around BRICS potentialities and pitfalls contributes to a fragmented engagement agenda, which is compounded by the difficulty of building cross-BRICS links with CSOs from the very different contexts of Russia and China.”
Notwithstanding the diversity of actors, the plethora of agendas, the lack of clarity about what the BRICS project stands for, a series of gatherings of civil society actors from the BRICS countries and between those and BRICS leaders have taken place at least since the Indian 2011 Summit. Not only for the myriad of in-between Summits events, workshops and seminars held in virtually all BRICS countries, civil society groups across the BRICS were able to effectively mobilize and build spaces for dialogue at the margins of official summits in ‘people’s summit like’ events. First In Durban (2013), with the ‘BRICS-from-Below’, then in Fortaleza (2014) with the ‘Dialogues on development: The BRICS from the perspective of the people’. In 2015, Russians decided to go for another model- called the Civic BRICS. Belonging to a different species of event, the ‘civic space-like gathering’ in Russia got an unprecedented official recognition in the BRICS agenda, but was slammed by many social actors from the other BRICS countries as being a highly controlled space. As a result, many of the key actors that have hosted the previous peoples’ gathering in the IBSA countries did not attended the Civil BRICS Forum and/or have openly boycott it.
As a general feature one can say that Peoples’ forums have gathered both a range of national organisations and movements who have their causes more intimately connected to the BRICS, such as the case of the movement against mining or environmental groups fighting nuclear and coal plants, as well as a diverse set of local groups of the host city (groups affected by the South Durban Port in 2013, the World Coup Popular Committees in 2014, and a series of groups in Goa such as the groups against predatory tourism). Apparently, those groups take the opportunity of hosting a BRICS-event to amplify their struggles and find international solidarity, but do not take part in subsequent BRICS forum. But their presence has been key to give a concrete face to what exclusive or predatory developmental models can look like.
This short historical account quickly remind us to downplay power relations back in any account of spaces for participation, recalling those are never neutral, being themselves shaped by power relations, both surrounding and entering them. Most particularly in regards to the BRICS, South African scholar Patrick Bond and Brazilian scholar Ana Garcia also provide us with an interesting categorization frame to observe social actors in the BRICS and from the BRICS according to their ideological standpoint. The two authors list 10 different standpoints, which can be clustered into three major groups: BRICS from above (heads of state, corporate and elites allies), BRICS from the middle (BRICS Academic Forum, intellectuals, trade unions and NGOs) and BRICS from below (grassroots activists whose visions runs from the local to the global). In Bond’s views (2016), the first group is the co-dependent one, the second is co-opted and the third would be the one leading on the confrontational modes of engagement.
Although Bond and Garcia’s typology is one that clearly brings power into the equation, and can be a very useful initial frame to understand those groups, one also needs to go beyond, since the mosaic is more complex (and sometimes more nuanced), mirroring not only the diversity and the divisions in each of the members in one point in time, but also the shifting and always evolving identities of those groups throughout the process of building BRICS.
Also, it is clear that those divisions are not playing out the same way in each of the BRICS summits and each international civil society space is profoundly shaped by the state of civil society in the host country, which ends up crystalizing some of those divisions, through the cantoning of specific marginalized groups to the popular confrontational field, but also – very concretely – through the chosen framings for the civil society events, as well as its driving narratives and networks of partners. Those gatherings are also deeply affected by the political economy (and political ecology) of what groups have been materially supporting – with resources – each of the spaces and what their network of partners are.
In the next sections, we will describe more in details how the citizen gatherings have played out in India, trying to lay down changes and continuities between the People’s Forum and the Civil BRICS Forum.
India 2016: The present and the absent
The Indian edition of the BRICS Civil Forum, held in Delhi in the first week of October, was the second attempt (after the 2015 C-BRICS in Moscow) of building an official space (agreed upon government representatives and civil society groups) for civil society engagement with the BRICS. This space was the result of an intense negotiation between three actors: the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the MEA-affiliated think-thank Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) and the Forum for India’s Development Cooperation (FIDC), a forum hosted by the RIS and comprised of representatives of the Indian Development Partnership Agency, academics and civil society representatives. FDIC was created in 2013 aiming at facilitating discussions across various subject streams and stakeholders on Indian South-South Development Cooperation. For some of its civil society representatives, co-hosting the BRICS Civil Forum has been an important achievement in terms of opening-up the black box of Indian foreign policy and development cooperation.
Participation in the Civil BRICS worked by invitation, with CSOs from FDIC reaching out to their partners and networks in the remaining BRICS countries and each Foreign Ministry having the possibility to invite whomever they felt appropriate in their country. In theory, each Foreign Ministry was supposed to validate all names in its ‘delegation’. But, in practice, both Brazil and South Africa informed they would not provide or censor any names. Hence, coming back to Cornwall and Gaventa’s typology of spaces, if the Civil BRICS in Russia was clearly an invited space (and sometimes perceived as a closed space), this one had a mixed feature of being partially an invited space and partially a created/claimed space. And to add complexity to the picture, this changed accordingly to the country, as well.
Ten days later, another set of civil society actors from the BRICS gathered in Goa. This year edition of the People’s Forum looked mostly like a small version of the World Social Forum, for IBSA countries activists. Organizers claim around 500 participants, in total.
In fact it was mostly a gathering of Indian activists – from people’s movements to non-governmental organizations – working on issues as diverse as environmental justice, women’s rights, financial accountability and international trade and coming from 27 different Indian states, according to the organizers. Interestingly, for the plenaries and in some of the 14 parallel workshops there were consecutive translations to Hindi, done by organizers and sometimes by participants themselves. In line with the preparatory meetings leading up to the October gathering, mentioned above, the presence of translation is an important indicator of organizers’ effort to further internalize the BRICS agenda in India and democratize access to this debate.
Participants outside India were not only a minority, but also fewer than in the previous years. Reasons from that can be multiple: from the current domestic turmoil both in South Africa and Brazil (which leads to BRICS agenda falling down in the priority list of many social groups), to the difficulties in obtaining visas to enter India (and even more so in the current state of affairs and if one plans to attend an international conference like the Peoples’ Forum), and most significantly to the fact that some of the usual suspects – present in previous editions of BRICS peoples’ forums (the one in Durban and the one of Fortaleza) divided themselves between the two other civil society-led spaces held in Delhi the week before: a prelude meeting organized by the umbrella association VANI and the official Civil BRICS.
Among the South Africans that attended the Goa Forum, one could mention some leading figures of the Durban BRICS-from-Below process, as well as representatives from the mining workers’ union in South Africa, from the students movement #FeesMustFall and Action Aid South Africa. A range of key South African NGOs and social movements – some of them old habitués of BRICS-related spaces – took part only in the civil BRICS in Delhi, instead.
Brazilians in Goa where 6 in total, mostly coming from civil society organizations already working on BRICS, such as the organisations that form REBRIP – one of the key organisers of the Fortaleza Peoples’ Forum in 2014 – and Action Aid Brasil, but also representatives from the Brazilian landless movement, MST. Nonetheless, a similar number of other Brazilians attended the events in Delhi (the Civil BRICS, the VANI’s prelude meeting and the BRICS Feminist Watch gathering). One REBRIP representative, for instance, even came to VANI’s BRICS prelude meeting, but did not attended the Civil BRICS, in line with the networks’ stance to keep struggling for a participatory body within the BRICS, one that would respect what the network believes to be a set of the minimum principles for meaningful participation, including among others autonomy, diversity of voices and governmental funding.
In Goa one saw the radicalizing previous years’ tendency of very few activists from Russia and China to an extreme of zero representatives from Russia and apparently no one publicly identifying itself as Chinese, although there where rumors about the presence of one or two Chinese activist in the room. There were representatives of other Asians countries that spoke on China (mostly in terms of China’s ‘going out policy’ and its impact in the region). China in Africa was also a subject. But Russia was virtually absent, both as a topic and as a presence in Goa. Alternatively, there were Chinese and Russian representatives taking part in the Civil Forum on BRICS. From the Russian side there were mostly scholars, some of whom have led the Russian C-BRICS in 2015. Oxfam Russia was also present. From the Chinese side, there were also a series of scholars, representatives of the United Nations Association of China, Oxfam Hong Kong and some environmental groups.
Civil BRICS framed its debates as wanting to expand the growth-led agenda from the BRICS and bring in the human development perspective to the table, as a key component to what the BRICS have been calling “global justice”. Most of the event was divided into parallel sessions that covered topics such as healthcare, food security, human security, poverty, as well as sustainable development, urbanisation, and financial issues, including the New Development Bank. Panels tended to be fully representative of the BRICS countries. To the organizers the main spirit of the event was ‘to ensure a constructive dialogue between civil society and decision makers’ in a range of social spheres.
A final Civil BRICS declaration has came out of the 2-day debates, negotiated mostly among what the organisers called ‘chiefs of delegations’ and left a few days open for comments from other participants after the event. Yet, Civil Forum declaration was not mentioned in the official heads-of states’ Goa Declaration (unlike other events, such as the Academic Forum, the Business Council or the Film Festival and the BRICS Under-17 Football Tournament, all recognized in the main declaration body text). At the time of the official coming out of the Goa Declaration, the Civil experiment only figured in a separate annex list with all the events held during the Indian chairmanship of the BRICS. But it is completely absent from the picture, if, for instance, one would look for it at the official website of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs  or event at the 8th BRICS Summit official documents webpage.
In the case of the Peoples’ Forum, organizers framed the gathering not as to build an ‘alternative agenda to the BRICS’, but as having going beyond what the BRICS frame sets-for as to be able to touch upon the issues that really matter to the peoples, in terms of social, economic and environmental justice, including: rescuing democracy for corporate power and deepening it, fighting environmental degradation, fighting ‘patriarchy and sexual violence, racism, communalism, caste discrimination, xenophobia and homophobia’.
On this last point, is important to underscore that gender, sexuality and human rights were highly emphasized in Goa, with a strong emphasis to intersectoriality in marginalisation and violations in all three IBSA countries (and most certainly in all BRICS countries). It was also emphasized that sexuality issues need more universal support from peoples’ movements across the BRICS. As one participant put it in a social justice parallel panel, not only there is no Hindi translation for LGBTI, but ‘if we scratch underneath the skins of every activist in this Goa People’s Forum we will find a lot of people who are still resistant to this issue. So justice also begun here, with us’. A similar frustration in regards to sexism, was expressed by one black women, leader of the #FeesMustFall movement in South Africa, Omhle Ntshingila, as she said: ‘it was [and is] hard to participate in the movement I created’.
The anti-neoliberal (and anti-imperialist) discourse was very much present in Goa, echoing more the Durban 2013 tone than the Fortaleza one. Here again, local struggles remained the outstanding feature in most of the participants’ speeches. Comparative perspectives on social injustice were clearly visible, with “many BRICS in this same [social injustice] wall”, as putted by one Indian video-activist, still the so-called ‘BRICS connection’ was not easily made.
BRICS remains quite abstract to most groups, with BRICS effects and impacts still conceived more in theoretical stances than practical ones. Resistance and denunciation is frame ante facto, based on activists’ first-hand experience in each of the countries (for instance, fighting against environmental degradation, exclusion and marginality, discrimination against women, social displacement in mega infra-structure projects), as well as some emerging transnational shared experiences in bilateral relations: Chinese, Brazilian or Indian investments in Africa. Interestingly, this blurry BRICS connection was also a feature present in the Civil BRICS, where most of the panels featured academics and NGO representatives discussing the current landscape in their own country (in issues ranging from health and malnutrition, quality of economic growth, youth, sustainable urbanization, among others) with few linkages to what could be the avenues for intra-BRICS cooperation or how does BRICS, as an international player, is coordinating itself to influence global negotiations around those topics.
A clear exception, both in debates in Delhi and Goa, is the New Development Bank (NDB). This should come as a surprise, since the NDB is the first and the most concrete common creation of the BRICS adventure, and still not quite concrete yet. Also, in the case of NDB, most of BRICS countries have some experience with the development banks and the impact of their projects. India, for instance, has a vibrant people’s movement engaging with Institutional Financial Institutions, mostly to the country dramatic history with big-infrastructure projects, such as in the context of the World Bank-funded Narmada dam project in the late 1980s. Groups in South Africa, Brazil and China have also a long history with the topic, in a series of different topics such as environmental degradation and forced displacement, so their combined expertise can be of great value when it comes to future NDB projects. One can also point to the fact that, as long as governments keep pushing institutionalization further, civil society from the BRICS will have much more clear and concrete entry-doors for engaging with the group, notwithstanding their tactical divergences, from boycott and defund strategies to advocacy with key-ranked NDB officials.
At the People’s Forum, few international crises were object of sustained debate. Syria and Palestine figured openly as topics in parallel panels, while crisis in West Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti were mentioned in the final declaration, but were not deeply debated during the Forum. International solidarity, however, did not reach out to Kashmir, despite having the Indian chirurgical-strikes in Pakistan taking place that same particular week of October. Civil BRICS was virtually silent on all international crises.
During the debates in Goa, despite the common international solidarity frame, ideological proximity of most of the participants and the highly federating conversations, there was a general sense of little collective memory about the previous Peoples’ gatherings, and very few mentions to what happened (and what was agreed on, or built upon) in the two previous editions. Interestingly, at the discursive level, the opposite trend was observed at the Civil BRICS, when the organizers kept expressly mentioning the Russian experience both to create some sense of continuity and also to point some of the advancements of the Indian civil experiment. Also, debates gathered less consensual panellists and reserved little time for constructive debate among them.
Finally, in spite of the obvious differences between the spaces, there were as well a range of common topic and trends across them, with obviously particular tones and narratives specific to each encounter. First, the meta-discussion about participation in the BRICS itself, and its limits. Second, both spaces emphasized those ‘left behinds’ from the BRICS projects, either emphasizing the inequalities frame, or one from social justice and marginalization. Third, the promises and, most notably, the pitfalls of the New Development Bank were also a common debate in both spaces. Thus, if the dual model is to remain, those issues could be entry-doors for future bridges among those spaces.
Beyond 2016: what can the next cycle offer us?
The 2016 BRICS Summit in India marks the end of the first cycle of official summits with all five members, recalling that South Africa took part for the first time in 2011, in Sanya (China). This full-cycle allows us to throw some initial thoughts on how the grouping has built itself, what have been governmental led agendas, how have civil society groups responded to those, and what are the remaining missing spots.
Coming back to some of the main questions raised by the SPW project on Emerging Powers, Sexuality and Human Rights on the mosaic of all the dynamics and impacts created by the emerging powers, notably the BRICS, in a range of social agendas, it is clear that the metaphor of the blind people fumbling around the elephant and guessing what it might be is giving place to another image, this time from the tale The Emperor’s New Clothes: The King is undress.
Cautiously observing the ongoing myriad of shifting pieces in moving sands, this question of whether the “BRICS have the potential to influence transnational processes that could re-articulate the political economy towards justice, rather than becoming an impediment or a South-based road towards new levels of capital accumulation” remains valid, but appeared more divisive of civil society actors and social movements than before. What seemed to be ‘parallel potentialities’ of the BRICS projects are increasingly seen with less optimistic eyes. Notwithstanding this common diagnosis, civil society in the BRICS are not only very diverse, but also are choosing different tactics to engage with the group; as the occurrence of both a Civil BRICS and Peoples’ BRICS in India this year clearly shows.
Away from the mutual accusations of ‘co-opted’ and ‘non-believers in institutions’, but without denying this diversity and the role it plays in fueling collective thinking and collective action, there can be any room for increasing dialogue among civil society actors from the BRICS as to keep forming the necessary critical mass for engaging with the several challenges and opportunities this formation brings to their own societies and to the world?
Here we risk saying yes. By resonating local issues and struggles those spaces have been generating mechanisms that create meanings and produce new emerging visibilities in terms of social issues in BRICS countries. And although the two spaces have obviously appealed and attract different audiences this time, there is a range of actors that went to the Civil BRICS but could definitely appreciated to have a say and a voice in a People’s-like event, but for obvious reasons – the not accidental divisive logistics mainly – had to choose one or the other.
Also, those events were, albeit all the challenges, able to galvanize attention to the BRICS domestically and to create a space for building (if not synergies and solidarity) at least common spaces for building international linkages and asking common questions. If bridges might seem very fragile in face of the uncertainty about the BRICS political agenda, the durable social challenges as well as the rampant multiple crisis most of the BRICS members face at home, the fact that so many groups have been mobilizing and gathering (domestically and internationally) year after year shows that this agenda is here to stay.
Finally, what could be recommended to increase the bridges among the ‘civilised’ Civil BRICS forum or the ‘popular’ Peoples’ BRICS forum, and surely among them? First, for civil society from the IBSA countries invest in creating deeper connections with Russian and Chinese partners. Issue-based approaches, such as the NDB, environmental degradation or gender-based violence, can be entry-doors for those encounters to happen and those synergies to emerge. Second, to make use of the range of existing participatory social tools and methodologies as to create the right opportunities for this diverse voices to come together, at least to gather simultaneously in a large, and plural, space. Civil society groups might continue to choose to spaces that appear as more legitimate or strategic, but would have been interesting to have one or two representatives from the entities that took part in the VANI prelude meeting or the Civil BRICS to share and report back on what were the other spaces to a larger group gathered in the People’s Forum, that is exactly what representatives from the emerging BRICS Feminist Watch attempted to do in Goa, for instance. This could level-up information and create more synergies. BRICS is a very complex issue, with already a limited number of actors willing to engage with, without a critical mass coming from a broad spectrum of civil society groups in all the five countries it will be difficult to impact on the overall process. Finally, for BRICS civil society to invest in systematizing the processes, outcomes and eventual critical reflection on those civil society-led spaces as to facilitate building a collective memory round them. If natural host country ends up attracting more national groups and having the bulk of people changing every year it is not necessarily discouraging, since it would progressively extend the outreach of BRICS – related discussions to larger constituencies in each of the BRICS countries.
 Brazilian political scientist and international relations analyst. Researcher at the Brazilian Centre for Analysis and Planning (Cebrap) and the South-South Research and Policy Centre (Articulação Sul). The author took part in different civil society spaces at the margins of three BRICS Summits (Durban, 2013; Fortaleza, 2014; and Delhi/Goa, 2016) and also member of the SPW Emerging Powers, Sexuality and Human Rights project. This article is based on the authors’ past and current research on the BRICS, as well as on observant participation in a series of BRICS-related meetings.
 Spreading events throughout India has been, apparently, an express guideline from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs as to be able to “connect more people”.
 The official list of events can be seen at: http://brics2016.gov.in/upload/files/document/580389cbe5ed3GoaActionPlan.pdf
 Here we make use of Andrea Cornwall (2002) and John Gaventa (2006) work in conceptualizing spaces for citizen engagement in policy processes, as closed spaces, invited spaces and claimed/created spaces. See Cornwall, Andrea. 2002. ‘Making spaces, changing places: situating participation in development’, IDS Working Paper 173, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies. Gaventa, John 2006. ‘Finding the spaces for change: a power analysis’. IDS Bulletin, 37: 23–33.
 We will also briefly touch upon two smaller international gatherings that took place at the margins of the Civil BRICS in Delhi: the 2nd BRICS Feminist Watch meeting, the VANI (Voluntary Action Network India), FDIC (Forum for Indian Development Cooperation) and Heinrich Boll Foundation India Prelude International BRICS Meeting.
 Pomeroy, Melissa; Shankland, Alex; Poskitt, Adele; Bandyopadhyay, Kaustuv; Tandon, Rasesh 2016. “Civil society, BRICS and international development cooperation. In. Gu, Jing; Shankland, Alex; Chenoy, Anuradha (eds) The BRICS in International Development. International Political Economy Series. Palgrave Macmillan. London, p. 169-206
 See for example, Salles de Carvalho, Janine, and Beghin, Nathalie 2015. For an Inclusive, Democratic Social Participation Space in the BRICS. BRICS Voices (Vasudha Foundation), September: 1–4. Available at: http://www.inesc.org.br/news/2015-1/september/bricss-civil-society-voices-to-be-heardquarterly-to-promote-inclusion-and-accountability
 Gaventa, John 2006. ‘Finding the spaces for change’, p. 26
 Bond, Patrick 2016. “Co-dependent BRICS from above, co-opted BRICS from the middle, and confrontational BRICS from below “In. Bond, Patrick & Garcia, Ana. BRICS: An Anti-Capitalist Critique. AAKR Books: Delhi, 286-300
 The outputs from the SPW Emerging Powers, Sexuality and Human Rights project can be of great value in adding to the panorama a rich and diverse set of reflections and voices from civil society actors that attended BRICS-related events, as well as from academics studying the issue. All this material is available at https://sxpolitics.org/strategic-analysis/package-new-products-resulting-project-sexuality-politics-regional-dialogues
 Among the key entities that have been actively mobilizing funds to host meetings and bring civil society representatives to each of the BRICS Summits, one could mention international development organizations such as Oxfam and Action Aid, as well as the German foundations Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Heinrich Böll Foundation.
 Among the civil society organisations represented taking part in the discussions there is PRIA (Participatory Research in Asia), National Foundation for India, Oxfam India and the VANI. See: http://fidc.ris.org.in/
 This figure is the one that appears in the final Goa declaration of the Peoples’ Forum , available at: https://peoplesbrics.org/2016/10/24/goa-declaration-of-the-peoples-forum-on-brics/
 List of entities comprising the National Organizing Committee of the Peoples’ Forum can be seen at: https://peoplesbrics.org/about-the-forum/
 Among the presents from India one can mention, the National Alliance for People’s Movements (with one of its key historical leaders Medha Patkar), the Indian Social Action Forum, a range of environmental groups (such as Beyond Copenhagen, the Centre for Financial Accountability and anti-nuclear energy groups), several movements working on corporate power and finance, investment & trade (such as the Transnational Institute or the Third World Network) Dalit movements, as well as the Muslim Women Movement (Bharatiya Muslim Mahila), among other groups such as the Indian NGO Video Volunteers or Action Aid India.
 For instance, three representatives of the Brazilian network REBRIP (one of the key organizers of the Peoples’ Forum in Brazil) came to India, one attended VANI’s meeting and two came to the Peoples’ Forum. The South African rights-group HURISA, present in People’s BRICS in Durban and Fortaleza, only attended the Civil BRICS this time.
 Such as the scholars Patrick Bond and Travor Ngwane.
 Among them, one could mention the rights-group HURISA, the Legal Resources Centre, Oxfam South Africa, Economic Justice Network, the Studies on Poverty and Inequality Institute, and representatives from women’s small-scale farmers associations in the country.
 Namely the representatives of the feminist organization Equit Institute and from one traditional Rio de Janeiro-based organization IBASE.
 For instance, Conectas Human Rights, GIP (Public Interest Management), Oxfam Brasil, Action Aid Brasil, as well a researcher from the BRICS Policy Centre, and one scholar from UnB.
 See REBRIP position paper on participation (in Portuguese) at: http://www.rebrip.org.br/noticias/rebrip-lanca-sua-proposta-de-criacao-do-forum-da-sociedade-civil-dos-brics-cc57/
 For instance, from the National Committee on BRICS Research
 Greenpeace China and the Social Resources Institute, for instance.
 See RIS press release on the first day of event at: http://ris.org.in/press_release/Press_Release_Civic_BRICS.pdf
 See: http://brics2016.gov.in/content/document.php
 This exact sentence figures in the final Goa Peoples’ Forum Declaration.
 Possibly because Brazilian civil society, and the key organizers of the Peoples’ BRICS, at the time of the Fortaleza Summit had a peculiar good connections to the then Workers Party government and wanted to explore more a tone of critical engagement than open confrontation. In Fortaleza, for instance, one key diplomat negotiating the New Development Bank (NDB) at the time was actually invited to deliver a speech and have a dialogue with the peoples’ forum participants.
 See khanna, a & Corrêa, S. Emerging Powers, Sexuality and Human Rights: “Fumbling around the elephant?” , Sexuality Policy Watch, Rio de Janeiro: 2015. Available at : https://sxpolitics.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/workingpaper-11.pdf