GIBSA Quadrilogue

Aims of the GIBSA Quadrilogue

In 2007, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP) together with think tanks from Brazil, India and South Africa launched a strategic »GIBSA Quadrilogue«. The forum is supposed to facilitate exchanges of ideas between these countries with regard to their respective perceptions and analyses of international relations, as well as regional issues. Its ultimate goal is to encourage cooperation through the identification of common positions, ideas and mutual interests.

The subjects discussed in the GIBSA Quadrilogue cover a wide range of issues, such as matters of international security, climate and energy policy, as well as international financial and trade policy.

Our partners in this project are the Centro Brasileiro de Relações Internacionais (CEBRI) in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), the Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies (IPCS) in New Delhi (India) and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria (South Africa).

These four think tanks did not team up for a strategic dialogue at random. In fact, all four countries – Brazil, Germany, India and South Africa – have repeatedly been described as regional powers, anchor countries or agenda setters within their respective region. Moreover, in 2003 the three partner countries Brazil, India and South Africa already established a South-South initiative named »IBSA«. Since then, the trilateral forum has played an important role in communicating the interests of emerging and developing countries in international negotiations, for instance in the WTO's trade rounds or in the Human Rights Council. The G8 »Heiligendamm-Process«, initiated amongst others by the German government in 2007, was one of the first attempts to reflect the changing international political landscape, culminating in the establishment of the G20 as an agenda setting institution. While the »old« powers have not lost their importance, the multitude of global problems, ranging from climate change to cyber attacks, from debt crises to natural disasters, cannot be tackled without the participation of the new emerging powers.

The individual agendas of the four GIBSA countries concerning these issues are anything but homogeneous. But there is a list of common criteria, goals and interests that they share. All GIBSA countries are democratic, yet they are not aggressive exporters of their own respective model of democracy to others. They are all multilateralists, indulge in public-private partnerships within their states, are in favor of the freedom of seas and generally support free trade. Though they clearly have very different perspectives on the matter, with India being a de-facto nuclear power and the others not, all four GIBSA members support non-proliferation and, more generally, prefer diplomatic over military means and peacekeeping over military peace enforcement. Moreover, the four countries are all involved in the process of more regional integration in their respective regions and have an interest in the further development of emerging markets.

Since its establishment in 2007, conferences of the GIBSA Quadrilogue have been held once a year and are now in their second cycle of meetings. Originating in Berlin in 2007, conferences thereafter took place in Rio de Janeiro (2008), Johannesburg (2009), New Delhi (2010), and, again, Berlin (2011). A second meeting in Rio de Janeiro was held in 2012. In April 2013 South Africa hosted the GIBSA conference for the second time since its implementation. The conference returned to India in 2014. This year the Quadrilogue was held in Brasilia from 25th to 27th of September 2016.

Project Partners and Funding

GIBSA 2011 in Berlin was sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office.
Since 2012, the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung supports the GIBSA Quadrilogue as a project partner.

Latest Conferences (second cycle of talks, since 2011)

GIBSA Quadrilogue in Brasilia, September 25–27, 2016

The conference in Brasilia in September 2016 discussed the ongoing political challenges in Brazil following the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. Further topics included the repercussions of the UK’s Brexit referendum, the global economic situation, migration, and the prospects for international political cooperation after the US presidential elections. Amidst largely pessimistic expectations, the participants underlined the importance of the Quadrilogue as a forum for open exchange and political discussions.

GIBSA Quadrilogue in Berlin, June 28–30, 2015

Under the title “Principles, Challenges, Projects”, the GIBSA Quadrilogue in Berlin in June 2015 discussed fundamental issues in international relations, including the current state of global governance, the challenges presented by a multitude of international crises, and joint projects of the GIBSA states. The erosion of the international order, it was noted, proceeds simultaneously at the national, regional and global levels: shifts in the global distribution of economic and political power are symptomatic for this process. The need to initiate joint initiatives on questions of income distribution, social inequality and sustainability of economic development was repeatedly emphasised. In particular parliamentary cooperation between the GIBSA members should be intensified.

GIBSA Quadrilogue in New Delhi, March 2–4, 2014

The GIBSA Quadrilogue in March 2014 in New Delhi took the title “Af-Pak, Global Economy and Maritime Security”. One priority was the future of Afghanistan after the reduction of the international military presence. Against the backdrop of the global recession, the meeting also discussed the economic development perspectives of the major emerging powers in view of a declining international willingness for cooperation. The reform of major international organisations like the United Nations and the World Bank were also discussed.

GIBSA Quadrilogue in Pretoria, April 24-26, 2013

The topic of this year's conference in Pretoria was "Networking against Transnational Crime and Terrorism". The focus lay on transnational crime in Africa, especially in Southern Africa and the Horn of Africa. In this region it is especially difficult to undertake concerted action against crimes such as narcotics trade or the illicit trafficking of precious natural resources due to complex political structures. Moreover, criminal networks in these regions have strong ties to Asia, Latin America, and Western Europe. Representatives of the four GIBSA countries and from other regions of the world shared their experiences in dealing with transnational crime and discussed existing and possible global initiatives against this type of cime.

GIBSA Quadrilogue in Rio de Janeiro, June 26-27, 2012

Brazil hosted the 6th annual conference of the GIBSA Quadrilogue earlier this year. As the Rio+20 UNCSD meeting was also held in Brazil in June 2012, the key focus of the GIBSA conference was appositely directed towards the international climate and energy policy. Furthermore, the importance of South America for the global security architecture was discussed by the participants. In addition to the researchers from the GIBSA partner institutes, economic experts, as well as experts from politics, science, and political foundations attended the conference.

GIBSA Quadrilogue in Berlin, May 18-19, 2011

Since all four GIBSA countries were non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in 2011, the conference centered on the opportunities and challenges of this constellation. Brazil, India and South Africa, which see themselves as regional powers with increasing political and economic leverage, intend to build a counterbalance to the permanent five members of the Security Council (»P5«). Ultimately, the three countries also strive for a permanent seat within the institution. Thus, their current or recent membership in the Council can be regarded as a test run for a possibility to acquire permanent membership in the medium term. Thereby, special attention is being paid to their memberships' impact on the effectiveness of the institution's decision making processes. Also, their membership might offer valuable clues for the solution of the long-term argument of achieving a better global representation within the Council. Furthermore, the GIBSA Quadrilogue also included a session on the »Relevance and Importance of the UN Security Council in the 21st Century«, and sessions on the agenda-setting strategies and country-specific agendas of the GIBSA partners Germany, India, Brazil and South Africa. Representatives of SWP and its partner organizations attended the conference along with guests from politics, industry, research institutions, and political organizations.

Project reports

Networking against Transnational Crime and Terrorism
Report on the GIBSA Roundtable Meeting Held in Pretoria
GIBSA Policy Report, August 2013, 23 Seiten

Energy Security in a Sustainable World
An Outlook from GIBSA countries
GIBSA Policy Report, June 2012, 15 pages

Hannah Petersen / Sonja Thielges
The 2011 GIBSA Conference on the United Nations Security Council - Positions, Demands, Shared Interests
GIBSA Policy Report, July 2011, 10 pages

Meeting reports as of 2013 are for internal circulation only.


Melanie Müller
e-mail: melanie.mueller(at)

SWP Research Papers