The world is witnessing the emergence of geopolitical shifts and novel political economic and ideological formations, foremost amongst which are the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and Ibsa (India, Brazil and South Africa) blocks. The presence and influence of these ‘rising’ powers are rapidly increasing, politically and economically, in various regions of the Global South. Ibsa and Brics now inhabit the political imagination of states, of the private sector and also of civil society actors, South and North of the Equator. In all these quarters, questions are being raised about the meaning of these shifts in terms of development patterns, bilateral and multilateral arenas and cooperation systems.
Among civil society actors, expectations and questions are also emerging in regard to how these trends intersect with the ongoing global and national politics of gender, sexuality and rights. However, these domains of social, political and personal life are not being addressed in the academic debates devoted to understanding and intervening in the dynamics of the Ibsa and Brics formations, much less in conversations and agreements emanating from the interactions of these new blocks.This absence inspired Sexuality Policy Watch, a global forum of researchers and activists, to invite partners based in the Global South to initiate a cross-country effort aimed at better understanding this gap and, eventually, expanding the visibility of these topics in ongoing debates on emerging powers, development and geopolitics.
This article shares ideas discussed in the project first round of conversation, which was held in Rio in July 2013, and includes an analysis – originally presented at a panel at Conectas’ 13th International Human Rights Colloquium, held in São Paulo in the same year – on the way rising powers, since their emergence, have behaved in multilateral debates around human rights, gender and sexuality. It has been originally published in the 10th Anniversary commemorative edition of SUR Journal (Edition V.11-N.20- Jun/2014).
Richard Parker and Sonia Corrêa