in: Third World Quarterly 35 (10), 1829-1844
The economic rise of China, India, South Africa, and Brazil has turned these countries into important providers of development assistance. While they seem increasingly comfortable in their bilateral relations with other developing countries, they are struggling to adapt their position within global institutions such as the United Nations. Do they turn their increased weight into a greater influence at the UN, and if not, why not? This article analyses financial contributions and political positioning at the UN in the area of development. Despite small changes, the four countries mostly insist on keeping their traditional status as recipients and ‘ordinary’ developing countries. This reservation can be explained in two ways: first, a more explicit leadership creates political and material costs that outweigh the potential benefits. Second, their shared experiences as developing countries make it hard to break ranks at the UN.