At the start of every month, the Global Observatory posts a list of key upcoming meetings and events that have implications for global affairs.
- June 1-3: Shangri-la Dialogue, Singapore
The 11th IISS Asia Security Summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue, opens in Singapore on June 1. The inter-governmental security forum is opened by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia, with a keynote address on “An Architecture for Durable Peace in the Asia-Pacific.” The United States is sending three top defense officials to the Dialogue, including Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who will give a major speech on the so-called “US pivot to Asia” on the morning of Saturday, June 2. Analysts say that the move is another step in Washington’s quiet campaign to strengthen security ties with Southeast Asia. Other speakers will include AK Antony, the Indian Defense Minister; Jean-Yves Drian, the recently appointed Defense Minister of France; and Dr Ng Eng Hen, Singapore’s Minister for Defense.
- June 13: US-India Strategic Dialogue, Washington, DC
In line with the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia, the US and India will hold the 3rd bilateral meeting under the framework of the Strategic Dialogue on June 13 in Washington, DC. Issues on the agenda to watch with regional and global significance are 1) the two countries’ actions to manage their interests in the Asia-Pacific region, and positioning vis-à-vis China in particular; 2) discussions on the Iran nuclear file since, while India agrees in principle to the UN sanctions regime against Iran, its economy is dependent on Iranian oil; 3) cooperation on Afghanistan; 4) cooperation on counterterrorism and bilaterally, issues of US immigration policy and Indian policy in the civil nuclear energy sector.
- June 20: Meeting of UN Peacekeeping Force Commanders, New York
UN peacekeeping force commanders will converge to New York for their annual meeting with the UN Security Council. A few will be invited to share their experiences with the Council’s members. Last year’s discussion in July featured presentations by force commanders of peace operations in Darfur (UNAMID), in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and in Liberia (UNMIL). This year, the briefing could include presentations by in force commanders in Sudan’s Abyei region (UNISFA) and in South Sudan (UNMISS).
- June 27: Renewal of Mandate of the UN Mission in the DRC
This month, the UN Security Council will again consider the renewal of the mandate of MONUSCO, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). MONUSCO was born in June 2010 as a result of President Kabila publicly calling at the end of 2009 for UN peacekeepers to start withdrawing, and the Security Council resisting this call based on the continuous need for protecting civilians in eastern DRC. An agreement was eventually reached to keep the UN mission in Congo under a completely reworked “stabilization” mandate. The protection of civilians is likely to remain the core of MONUSCO’s mandate. In April, France organized a Security Council Arria-formula meeting on Security Sector Reform (SSR) in the DRC. A comprehensive reform of the security sector would be critical for Congolese institutions effectively taking over MONUSCO’s security role. However, there is no indication of the necessary political will in Kinshasa for undertaking such an effort.
- June 10 and June 17: First and Second Round of National Assembly Elections in France
France, which held a presidential election last month, returns to the polls to choose members of the lower house of the French legislature, the National Assembly. The legislative elections in France are often described as the “third round” of the presidential election. The Socialist Party is seeking to confirm the result of the presidential election. By contrast, the Union for a Popular Movement, on the right, has asked the French citizens to vote for “a power balance.” The latest opinion polls see the Socialists ahead by a couple of points. French expatriates will elect their own MPs for the first time.
- June 16-17: Presidential Election Runoff in Egypt
With the runoff between the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi and the Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Shafik, many in Egypt consider that the country is back to the same power rivalry of the previous regime. Despite the disappointment of the revolutionary bloc, and given the result of the first round of the presidential elections in which the Muslim Brotherhood candidate won the greatest number of votes, Egypt appears increasingly to be on track for a stable transition, with the army playing the role of guarantor of the secular character of the state, in the style of Turkey. However, having beaten Shafik by just over one percent of votes in the first round, the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate is not guaranteed.
- June 17: Parliamentary Elections in Greece
Following the inconclusive May 6 elections, Greeks are called back to the ballots for a fresh round of elections, viewed as a de facto referendum on Greece’s future inside the euro zone. Recent opinion polls give the conservative pro-bailout New Democracy party in the lead, with 25% of intended votes, versus 22.7% for Syriza, the anti-bailout Coalition of the Radical Left party. The rise in support for New Democracy would enable it to form a government with Pasok, the Socialist party, which it didn’t have the backing to do following the May 6 elections.
- June 19: National Congress Elections in Libya
It is still unclear whether Libya is holding elections on June 19 to nominate a Constitutional Assembly that will replace the unelected National Transitional Council, following the Tunisian model. Last week, the NTC’s chairperson Mustafa Abdel Jalil told the press he thought the vote would be delayed by appeals from people who have been blocked from standing as candidates. Libya is in a very difficult transition, with the proliferation of militias that tend to exercise power in the absence of a functioning army. The challenge of the new Libyan authorities will be to establish effective national armed forces or face anarchy. This should also help them to bridge regional divide and placate those asking for a federal system, particularly in the east of the country.
- Also of interest:
• June 23: Parliamentary Elections in Papua New Guinea
• June 28: Parliamentary Elections in Mongolia
• June 30: Presidential Elections in Iceland
Other Multilateral Meetings
- June 4-6: World Economic Forum on the Middle East, North Africa and Eurasia 2012, Istanbul
Istanbul will host more than 1,000 leaders from governments, business, media, and non-profit organizations to discuss partnerships among Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, under the theme of the “Roadmaps for Reform, Pathways to Inclusive Growth.” This is the first time that the World Economic Forum will focus on more than one region. Main topics include: 1) new models to drive innovation and economic agility across this mega-region; 2) energy cooperation, trade, and investment in science and research; and 3) the impacts of new social dynamics unlocked by developments in the Middle East and North Africa.
- June 18-19: G20 Summit, Mexico
Mexico will host the seventh summit of the G20 heads of government, in Los Cabos, Baja California. Economic growth is likely to be a top priority. Indeed, the European Commission President Barroso and European Council President Van Rompuy sent a joint letter to EU member states communicating four priority areas: 1) growth and employment; 2) strengthen the international financial architecture; 3) financial market reform; and 4) food security and development. In particular, Mexico, as well as other states such as South Korea, is likely to put emphasis on narrowing the gap between rich and poor nations in achieving balanced growth. But Mexico will also seek to expand the scope of the G20’s development working group (created in Toronto in 2010) to go beyond assisting low-income countries, and include emerging economies that have large poor populations.
- June 20-22: Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio de Janeiro
This month, over 135 heads of state and government and up to 50,000 participants spanning public, private and civil society will gather in what Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called “one of the most important conferences in UN history.” The conference will focus on the three pillars of sustainable development (social, economic and environment) as well as the green economy. Hopes are tempered for an incremental outcome. A real win for this conference, however, would be a revitalization of the sustainable development agenda which has floundered in recent years as nations’ attentions is gripped by other challenges. It could also add momentum and help to create consensus on tangential areas such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
- Also of interest:
• June 18-July 6: Human Rights Council, 20th Session