Key Global Events to Watch in September

At the start of every month, the Global Observatory posts a list of key upcoming meetings and events that have implications for global affairs.




  • September 10 – 28: Human Rights Council, 21st Session, Geneva, Switzerland
    During this 21st session of the Human Rights Council Syria will once again dominate the Council’s agenda as a key priority. At this session the commission of inquiry lead by Paulo Sergio Pinheiro and Karen AbuZayd will report on their findings over the last six months. This will be the final Human Rights Council session with the current membership. Elections are set to take place on November 12th at the UN General Assembly to elect new members to a three year term. Most groups have a clean slate except for WEOG where Germany, Sweden, Ireland, the United States, and Greece are competing for three slots.
  • September 11-12: Commemorative Session and 4th Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), Astana, Kazakhstan
    The commemorative session will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), which was founded on the initiative of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1992. CICA has 24 members, covering approximately three-quarters of the population and territory of Asia. Earlier this year, President Nazarbayev has called for a strengthening of the conference, transforming it into an international organization. These issues, including the question of succession in chairmanship, will certainly be discussed in Astana.
  • September 17: Security Council meeting on Peace and Security in Africa (Sahel), New York 
    Council Members will discuss a proposed integrated strategy for security, governance, development, human rights, and humanitarian issues in the Sahel region. Council members had requested the Secretary-General to develop such a strategy in Security Council resolution 2056 on 5 July 2012. 

    The integrated strategy will need to consider the spillover risks of the Malian crisis in the region, and how to harmonize the seemingly diverse positions of the Malian authorities, core countries such as Algeria, Mauritania, and Niger, as well as the Economic Community of West African States. The leaders of the regional bloc are still considering a military intervention to ensure the effective return to constitutional order in Mali and to eradicate the terrorist threat in the northern part of the country.

  • September 24: General Assembly High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law, New York
    In line with General Assembly Resolution A/RES/66/102 of January 2012, there will be a high-level meeting debating the “rule of law at national and international levels.” Beyond member states delegations, expected speakers include the Secretary-General and senior representatives of relevant UN bodies as well as some NGO representative s from the rule of law field. 

    It is expected that an outcome document will be endorsed by member states upon the conclusion of the meeting. Negotiations over the outcome document have been contentious and were characterized by a gradual scaling back of ambitions and expectations. The report of the Secretary General, which provided the substantive background for the deliberations, had established four goals: 1) the adoption of a program of action on the rule of law; 2) agreement on a process to develop rule of law goals, benchmarks, and indicators; 3) adoption of mechanisms to enhance dialogue on the rule of law; and 4) individual pledges by member states related to the rule of law.

    There was no support for a program of action on the rule of law and member states expressed serious reservations over the length of the document, the suggested definition of the rule of law, and, especially, the prescriptive follow-up provisions. A final round of consultations is expected to take place on September 12, on the basis of a new draft version to be circulated shortly.

  • September 25: Opening of the Annual High-level General Debate of the General Assembly, New York 
    From 10:00am onwards, the annual general debate of Heads of state and Ministers from the 193 member states of the UN will begin and continue for about a week. Opened by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, with the exception of occasional inflammatory speeches, the debate generally passes uneventfully. Side events and bilateral meetings are generally more fruitful. The debate will be presided over by the new GA President, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Vuk Jeremic.
  • September 26: High-level Event on the Situation in the Sahel, New York
    A second meeting on the Sahel (on the sidelines of the General Assembly) highlights just how serious the concern of the international community with this region suffering from multiple crises is. The meeting will look at all key challenges facing the region in an integrated manner, including the security, political, human rights, development, and humanitarian situations.
  • September 26: High-level Meeting of the Security Council on Recent Developments in the Arab World, New York
    Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, as president of the Security Council during the month of September, will host a high-level meeting on recent developments in the Arab world. The relationship of the United Nations and the Security Council with the League of Arab States has come into sharp focus during the Arab uprisings—and the conflicts in Libya and Syria in particular—and will be the key issue during this meeting. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Nabil El Araby are expected to attend.
  • Also of Interest:
    • September 5: Fourth Informal Interactive Dialogue on the Report of the Secretary-General on the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P), New York, United States (more information

    • September 17 – 21:  IAEA General Conference, Vienna, Austria (more information)

    • September 19: Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, New York 

    • September 26: High-level side event, “The New Deal: Perspectives of the g7+” (more information)

    • September 26: Summit on Somalia, New York

    • September 27: High-level Meeting on Countering Nuclear Terrorism

    • September 27: Ministerial Meeting to Promote Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.


  • September 12: General Election, Netherlands
    Voters in the Netherlands will head to the polls to elect a new government after the minority government of the liberal and the Christian democratic parties led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte collapsed in April this year. The future of the Euro, the role of the Netherlands in the European Union, and austerity measures to reign in public debt and meet the Maastricht criteria of the Euro zone are core issues at stake in the elections.

    According to recent polls, the liberal and socialist parties are neck and neck. Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Liberal Party is running on a pro-austerity and pro-Euro platform, while the Socialist Party led by Emile Roemer is using Euro-skeptical rhetoric. The freedom party of Geert Wilders is promoting a return to the guilder and exit from the EU and is otherwise known for anti-Islamic rhetoric. Finally, besides a number of smaller parties likely to enter the parliament, the labor party led by Diederik Samson might be a factor in the formation of the next government.

  • Also of interest:
    • September 3 – 6: Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, NC (more information)

    • September 9: Hong Kong, Legislative Elections (more information)

    • September 23: Belarus, Parliamentary Elections (more information).

Other Multilateral Meetings

  • September 8 – 9: Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Summit, Vladivostok, Russia
    Russia, as chair of APEC, will be convening the APEC Economic Leader’s Meeting in Vladivostok. Key issues on the agenda are trade and investment liberalization, regional economic integration, strengthening food security, establishing reliable supply chains, and cooperation to foster innovative growth. The goal is to adopt a final declaration upon the conclusion of the meeting, which will “include the outcome of APEC work in 2012 and outline prospects for the development of the region in the future.”

    Russia is interested in promoting regional trade and more investments in Russia at this meeting which will feature high-level delegations from around the world including Chinese President Hu Jintao, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

  • September 12: Annual Coordination Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the sidelines of the UN-GA in New York
    In the wake of the Arab Spring, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has gained renewed importance as many member states recognized the potential of an organization comprised of 1.5 billion Muslims. Because there was no OIC annual meeting (which is usually held in June, where the chairmanship of the organization is passed on), this meeting of foreign ministers, to be held on the sidelines of the UN-GA, is particularly important, and recent developments in Syria and the region make it extremely relevant. At a recent extraordinary OIC summit in Makkah, Syria’s membership was suspended; this issue will be certainly discussed further.
  • Also of interest:

    • September 1 – 7: Sixth World Urban Forum, Naples, Italy (more information)

    • September 3 – 7: Global Conference on Agriculture and Food Security, Hanoi, Vietnam (more information)

    • September 11 – 14: Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 5th Session, New York (more information)

    • September 13 – 14: Meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, Mexico (more information)

    • September 17 – 28: Trade and Development Board, 59th Session (UNCTAD), Geneva, Switzerland (more information)

    • September 25: First Meeting of the High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (more information)

    • September 27: Ministerial Meeting on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United Nations, New York.