A changing global south? The emergence of the BASIC grouping

Master Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

The rapid economic advancement of emerging economies in the South has come to effect a change within the nature of the global South and within the traditional North-South relationship more broadly. One development representative of a change within the global South as a unit has been the emergence of smaller, ad hoc, issue specific South-South groupings comprising the exclusive membership of emerging economies. While rooted in a common historic agenda of enabling a more equitable distribution of power for the South with the North, such new groupings have been increasingly independent and detached from the rest of the developing world. As such, they represent the ambitions of its members to garner more economic and political power within international politics. The BASIC grouping consisting of Brazil, South Africa, India and China represents an example, formed at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen as a bloc opposition against the suggested implementation of binding emissions reduction obligations for emerging economies as part of the global South. BASIC argued that this was primarily an issue of equity, departing from the “Common but Differentiated Responsibilities” between developed and developing states as agreed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992. While ostensibly arguing on behalf of the broader South, the formation of the BASIC grouping represents a detachment from the rest of the developing world, inspired in large by the growing economic and political ambitions of emerging economies. Inspired by the vestiges of a North - South relationship rooted in inequity and marginalisation, the formation of BASIC signifies a new direction of multilateralism that has come to define the changing nature of the global South, enabled by its increasingly powerful members.

Includes bibliographical references.