In 2001, Goldman Sachs first proposed the concept of BRICs, using the acronyms of the English names of Brazil, Russia, India, and China to form an acronym. In 2011, South Africa officially joined the BRICS, and the English name was set as BRICS.

In 2006, the foreign ministers of the BRICS countries held their first meeting, which opened the prelude to the cooperation among the BRICS countries. In June 2009, BRICS leaders held their first meeting in Yekaterinburg, Russia. In November 2011, BRICS leaders held their first informal meeting on the eve of the G20 summit in Cannes, France. BRICS leaders have held 12 meetings and 9 informal meetings so far.

Since the establishment of the BRICS cooperation mechanism, the foundation of cooperation has been increasingly consolidated, and the fields of cooperation have gradually expanded. A multi-level structure for pragmatic cooperation has been formed, led by leaders' meetings and supported by ministerial meetings such as the High Representatives' Meeting on Security Affairs, and the Foreign Ministers' Meeting. That structure facilitates cooperation among dozens of fields such as agriculture, culture, education, health, think tanks, and sister cities. The influence of BRICS cooperation has gone beyond the scope of the five countries, and has become a constructive force to promote world economic growth, improve global governance, and promote the democratization of international relations.

The BRICS countries account for 26.46% of the world's total territory and 41.87% of the world's population. It is estimated that in 2020, the total economic volume of the five countries accounted for about 24.42% of the world's total, and the trade volume accounted for 16.98% of the world's total. In July 2021, the five countries' voting rights in the World Bank was 13.46%, and their total shares in the International Monetary Fund was 14.82%.

China is the chair of the BRICS countries in 2017. The ninth BRICS leaders' meeting was held in Xiamen, Fujian from September 3rd to 5th. At the Xiamen meeting, the leaders of the five countries exchanged in-depth views on the global political and economic situation, BRICS cooperation, and international and regional hot topics under the theme of "deepening the BRICS partnership and creating a brighter future". The "Xiamen Declaration" was issued at the meeting, sending a positive signal on strengthening the BRICS partnership, improving global governance and promoting common development, The leaders decided to jointly build the second "Golden Decade" of BRICS cooperation. During the meeting, there were also discussions focused on emerging market countries and developing countries. Leaders of the BRICS countries and five other countries including Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand attended and discussed the topic of "deepening mutually beneficial cooperation and promoting common development". A presidential statement was published during the discussion.

In November 2020, the 12th BRICS Leaders' Meeting was held by a live video conference. The "Moscow Declaration" was issued at the meeting, which expressed the common goal of the BRICS on strengthening cooperation in the fight against the epidemic, supporting multilateralism and the multilateral trading system, and opposing unilateralism and protectionism.

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