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I am very glad to attend, for the first time, the meeting of BRICS Foreign Ministers, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

May I start by congratulating India for the organization of the upcoming BRICS Summit in Goa, next October. We expect some very positive outcomes this year, including the strengthening of our intra-BRICS cooperation and the deepening of our economic partnership.

Next year I am confident that China will guide us with the same sense of solidarity and cooperation and will host another successful BRICS Summit. You can count on Brazil’s support.

As we move forward in the second cycle of BRICS Summits, our assessment is that we have managed to carefully balance ambition and realism.

The exercises of "outreach" engagement on the sidelines of the BRICS Summits can be an adequate alternative to maintain and even increase interaction with other countries.

As for possible accession to the New Development Bank, it is noteworthy that the bank has its own legal personality and its constitutive instrument already provides for possible accession of new states.

The BRICS leaders concurred, in the last G20 Summit in Hangzhou, that the global economic recovery remains uneven with significant downside risks. In this regard, they underlined the significance of macroeconomic policy coordination among G20 member countries, in order to avoid negative spillovers and to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth.

We congratulate China for emphasizing the subject of economic growth during its presidency of the G20. The work of the G20 to support innovation and the digital economy validates the relevance of finding new sources of economic dynamism that can promote sustainable development at the national and international levels.

Eight years after the 2008 financial crisis, there are signs of recovery of the global economy. At the same time, sustained and universal resumption of growth is not ensured, as new challenges such as the potential impacts of Brexit add uncertainty to the global scenario.

The BRICS countries have common interests on the reform of international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, as well as the construction of an international financial system capable of providing adequate levels of funding for long-term sustainable development.

In these and in other topics of the international financial agenda, we can and should strengthen our cooperation. The cooperation among the BRICS will be more effective the more solid the economic fundamentals of each of its members are.

The BRICS countries shall contribute to enhancing international cooperation in the health area, including the universal and equitable access to health services.

This issue, as you may know, is very dear to me, given my background as former Minister of Health of Brazil, from 1998 to 2002. I have actively campaigned for the issuing of compulsory licenses for fundamental medicines and I still believe this is an important tool for governments in the fight against high prices and short supply of medicines.

That is why I was personally involved in the negotiations of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health of 2001. We were successful in avoiding that patent rules might restrict access to affordable medicines for populations in developing countries in their efforts to control diseases, such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. In Brazil we managed to implement a very successful program of public and universal access to AIDS medicines.

I believe there is a worrisome mismatch between supply and demand of medicines in developing countries. Potential demand is much higher than the availability of medicines. For instance, according to the WHO, in 2014 an estimated 1,7 billion people in 185 countries needed mass and/or individual treatment and care for tropical and neglected diseases.

An important area of cooperation is related to the financing of joint research and development of medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tools, aimed at providing increased access to prevention and treatment of communicable diseases. I think that our development banks should play a role in financing public health institutions in our countries.

I also think we should examine ways to provide access to more affordable medicines to our populations, in the prevention and cure of such serious diseases as Hepatitis C, including the possibility of issuing compulsory licenses. 

There are huge challenges in the area of health. I firmly believe we will all benefit from concerted action among ourselves.

Thank you.

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