At the start of every month, the Global Observatory posts a list of key upcoming meetings and events that have implications for global affairs.
Peace & Security
- November 1: Iraqi Prime Minister Visits Washington to Talk Security in the Region
As the conflict in Syria spills over surrounding borders, the threat from al-Qaeda-linked militias is increasing in western Iraq. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will meet with President Obama on November 1 to discuss the issue.
Officials from the Obama administration have said the US will sell military machinery, including Apache helicopters, and share information to assist with the growing threat. The meeting of heads of state prompted a letter to Mr. Obama from a number of US senators that claims Prime Minister Maliki’s “mismanagement” of affairs directly contributed to the increasing violence.
- November 1: Demolition of Chemical Weapons in Syria Enters Final Phase
The 100-member team charged with monitoring and destroying Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons enters into the third stage of its work this month. Now that the deadline for destroying production facilities has been met, the next charge is to begin retrieval and destruction of the weapons. The Syrian government and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons must agree on a detailed plan of destruction by November 15. The work is scheduled to conclude in June next year. President Assad’s administration has seemingly cooperated thus far, but the next phase is likely to be a lot more challenging. Meanwhile, peace talks slated for November 23-24 look tentative at best (see below).
- November 6-8: Meeting of the Working Group on Trafficking in Persons, Vienna
As part of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, this is the fifth session of the working group on trafficking in persons will cover topics such as how to reduce demand by fostering public-private partnerships and identifying factors that drive trafficking in persons, and forms of exploitation not normally associated with human trafficking.
- November 7-8: Meeting on Iran’s Nuclear Program with P5+1 and Iran, Geneva
Diplomacy between the foreign ministers of P5+1 countries and Iran in the last weeks may foreshadow the end to a decade-long dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. However, recent reports indicate Iran as yet continues its most controversial activity: uranium enrichment to a level close to that needed for bombs. Diplomats in Geneva will try to get Iran to cease its uranium enrichment program in exchange for a slackening of sanctions on Tehran.
- November 11-13: Meeting of the Working Group on the Smuggling of Migrants, Vienna
Supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air is the basis of this working group’s second session. As recent tragedies underline the need to address this issue, this working group is focused on how to investigate the factors unique to smuggling of migrants while maintaining rights of the migrants themselves. Meeting topics include multilateral, cross-border information sharing, investigative techniques, and the establishment of multi-agency centers.
- November 23 (tentative): Geneva II Peace Talks, Geneva
Conflicts between Washington and Moscow over Syrian opposition representation could delay the start of peace negotiations for up to a month, according to Arab and Western officials. The talks were slated to begin in Geneva on November 23, aiming to resolve two and a half years of civil war that has claimed 100,000 lives and displaced millions. President Assad has said that no political solution would be possible as long as international powers continue to support rebel fighters. In the meantime, Amnesty International reports that hundreds fleeing the violence are being turned back at the borders of surrounding countries.
- November 20- 28: Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC, The Hague
This regular meeting of states parties to the Rome Statute will cover many issues related to the International Criminal Court, not least state cooperation and the court’s relationship with Africa following Kenya’s threat to withdraw in September. (The ICC recently pushed Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial back to February, 2014). At the meeting, a by-election will also be held for one of the eighteen regular judges of the court, to replace Anthony Carmona, who was elected president of Trinidad and Tobago last March.
- Also of Interest:
• November 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
- November 9: Maldives Presidential
After the original September 7 presidential elections ended, with former president Mohamed Nasheed winning the vote but not with the 50 percent needed to win outright, allegations of fraud led to the Supreme Court’s annulment of the outcome and rescheduling of the elections for October 19. However, the poll was delayed again when the police prevented the elections from going ahead on voting day. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has accused the Maldives Supreme Court of interfering excessively in the elections. The new polling schedule sets elections for November 9, with a second round on November 16 if necessary, though the Maldivian Constitution necessitates presidential elections by November 11.
- November 17: Chile Presidential and Legislative
Michelle Bachelet, who resigned as the head of UN Women last March to run for president in Chile, is a strong favorite in the upcoming polls. Running on a Socialist Party ticket, Ms. Bachelet was the president from 2006-2010.
- November 24: Mali National Assembly
After over a year of instability—including fighting with militant groups, a coup by rebels, and then a French military intervention—the new government of Mali held presidential elections in July and August this year without major incident. In fact, voter turnout for the election was high. Now, the country will hold elections for the National Assembly as the peace talks with militant groups in the north continue.
- November 24: Guinea-Bissau President and Legislative
After much turmoil since the military coup last year, the interim president announced elections to be held a little more than a month before his temporary presidential term would expire at the end of the year. Transitional President Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo said during his remarks at the UN General Assembly in September that his country has been caught in the poverty and instability cycle for some time, and finding funds to hold effective and transparent elections could be problematic.
- Also of Interest:
• November 6: Tajikistan Presidential
• November 19: Nepal Constituent Assembly
• November 24: Honduras Presidential
Additional Multilateral Meetings
- November 15-17: Commonwealth Summit, Sri Lanka
The 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in Colombo, Sri Lanka this year, a location that has caused much controversy. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has refused to attend because of controversy surrounding Sri Lankan government’s human rights record, especially the abuses committed during the civil war. There have been many calls on other heads of state to boycott, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Other reports rebuke the claim, saying that Sri Lanka has made substantial progress since independence.
- November 25: Special Meeting of CEIRPP, New York
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) regularly holds a special meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This year, the meeting comes on the heels of a confirmation by the Israeli government that 1,500 new apartments are scheduled to be built in East Jerusalem, a contested area. Many political leaders, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have denounced Israel’s latest planned settlement. The confirmation of the settlement comes shortly after Israel marked the recently restarted peace negotiations with the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners.
- November 28-29: Eastern Partnership Summit, Vilnius
The question that hangs over this year’s biannual meeting of the European Union and its Eastern bloc neighbors is whether the Ukraine will join the EU. French government officials have said it is likely to happen, but there is still ambiguity as to whether former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko will be released from prison, which EU member states have demanded be done before the summit.
- Also of Interest:
• November 11-22: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference, Warsaw, Poland