NANJING, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- The BRICS sherpas on Friday agreed that the five countries need to enhance cooperation in areas including security, economy and people-to-people exchanges.
The pledge came as the First BRICS Sherpa Meeting was held from Thursday to Friday in Nanjing, capital of eastern China's Jiangsu Province.
BRICS groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The meeting was to prepare for the 2017 BRICS Summit to be held Sept. 3-5 in the coastal city of Xiamen, Fujian. The theme of the event is "BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future."
Participants at the meeting agreed that BRICS cooperation faced new challenges and opportunities as it entered a new decade amid a complex and changing international political and economic situation, according to a press release from the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday.
"BRICS needs to make full use of its existing mechanism such as foreign ministers' meeting to enhance coordination on international and regional issues and further implement BRICS economic partners' strategy and deepen cooperation on trade, investment and finance," it said. "The five countries need also enhance cultural and people-to-people exchanges through holding culture festivals, film festivals, sports games and high-level meetings on traditional medicine to consolidate the foundation of public support."
According to the IMF, BRICS countries and other developing countries contributed 80 percent of global growth in 2016.
Russian BRICS Sherpa and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Xinhua that "a number of very important documents" would be signed at the Xiamen Summit, including deals on cultural and sports programs.
Brazilian Sherpa Ary Norton De Muart Quintella said they had a "fruitful" meeting and discussed important issues such as the role of the BRICS New Development Bank, money laundering, counter-terrorism and how to promote better understanding among the five members on economic policy.
South African Sherpa Anil Sooklal said BRICS could show leadership in stimulating the global economy and tackling issues of peace and security and that it "has an important role to ensure that we create a stable, peaceful and progressive global environment."
"It is important that China is at the forefront of BRICS leadership this year," Sooklal said.
"Each BRICS presidency brings its flavor and imprint to BRICS. We are looking forward to a very innovative and exciting Chinese imprint on the BRICS chairmanship," said Alok Dimri, Indian deputy sherpa.
The meeting attracted more than 100 participants, including sherpas, foreign diplomats and representatives of BRICS new development banks. Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi attended the opening ceremony Thursday and delivered a speech.