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
- July 1: MINUSMA to take over from African-led mission AFISMA in Mali
The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) will take over from the African-led International Support Mission (AFISMA) in the beginning of July, following Security Council resolution 2100, for an initial period of 12 months. MINUSMA will be comprised of 11,200 military forces and 1,440 police personnel, with a mandate to: stabilize key areas particularly in northern Mali to reestablish state authority; provide support for the transitional road map; protect civilians and UN personnel; promote and protect human rights; and support humanitarian assistance, cultural preservation, and justice.
- July 15: UN to hear China’s claim over islands in East China Sea
Tensions between China and Japan have risen steadily in recent years over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. Once controlled by the United States after World War II, the islands were returned to Japanese control in 1971. However, both China and Taiwan have made claims over the territory, which has been found to contain hydrocarbon resources and rich fishing grounds. In September 2012, a wave of anti-Japanese protests across China and a military standoff ensued when the government of Japan purchased the islands from a private Japanese owner. As Reuters reported this month, the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf plans to look into China’s claim that the East China Sea’s continental shelf is a natural prolongation of China’s land territory, which includes the disputed islands.
- July (day TBD): US Secretary of State John Kerry to preside over high-level debate on the DRC and Great Lakes Region
This month’s Security Council presidency will be lead by the United States. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to chair a debate over the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Africa’s Great Lakes region. In June, Kerry appointed former Senator Russ Feingold as special representative for the region, referring to the region as “a high level priority” for the US in a press conference.
Also of Interest:
- July 15: The UN Mission in South Sudan is expected to be renewed. Special Representative and Head of UNMISS Hilde Johnson will brief the Council on the Secretary-General’s UNMISS report.
- July 31: The UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus is expected to be renewed.
- July 31: The UN operation in Côte d’Ivoire is expected to be renewed.
- July 1: Croatia joins the European Union
This month, Croatia will become the EU’s 28th member country, following the additions of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007. After years of a bloody civil war, the country won independence in 1991 from the former Yugoslavia. With a population of 4.2 million people, the small nation faces a number of challenges including a poor economy, political corruption, and declining living standards. Croatia is the third-poorest country to join the EU.
- July 1: Tunisian Parliament to debate draft of new constitution
For the first time, the Tunisian National Assembly will debate on the draft of the new constitution two-and-a-half years following the uprising which ousted long-time President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. The final draft of the constitution, released at the end of April, has already faced fierce criticism by opponents of the ruling Ennahda party and civil society over controversial articles relating to women and minority rights, issues of equality, and religious freedom. The adoption of the constitution requires a two-thirds majority of the assembly before a date can be set for new elections, which are to be held before the end of 2013. (For more info, read the report, “Equal Citizenship in Tunisia: Constitutional Guarantees for Equality between Citizens,” produced by IPI’s Arab Forum for Citizenship in Transition.)
Also of Interest:
- July 1: Launch of MDG Report 2013, Geneva
- July 21: Parliamentary Elections in Japan
After a landslide election in December of last year which saw the return of power to Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc is expected to win a large majority vote in July’s Upper House elections. Last month, all 59 candidates of the ruling LDP won seats in the 127-member Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, indicating a similar favorable outcome in the elections in July. Prime Minister Abe, who led Japan in 2006-07, has pledged to revive Japan’s economy, which has recently fallen back into a recession, and revise Japan’s pacifist constitution for a stronger defense posture.
- July 27: Parliamentary Elections in Kuwait
After annulling the results of the December 2012 elections, which were boycotted by Kuwait’s opposition because it was deemed unconstitutional, the Kuwaiti government has decided to hold early parliamentary elections at the end of July. In June, opposition supporters lost a legal battle against the government’s amendment to the voting system which they claimed favors pro-government candidates, causing more political tensions. Because political parties are banned in Kuwait, candidates run as individuals. Currently, 179 candidates are vying for the 50 green Parliament seats; four are women.
- July 28: Presidential Elections in Mali
Amid the deployment of the UN’s stabilization mission and France’s continuing security presence, Mali’s interim government will proceed with fresh presidential elections. However, doubts have been raised by the election commission over its ability to stage proper voting in a short period of time, as 500,000 people have been displaced by conflict. Tuareg separatists in the town of Kidal have also contributed to instability in the north, although a peace deal with the government has established a ceasefire and an agreement to continue with the elections. Mali’s political parties have begun to submit their candidates for the presidential ballot.
- July 28: Parliamentary Elections in Cambodia
Cambodia will hold general elections for the 123-seat National Assembly. Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has held onto power since 1979 and will seek a fourth term, facing opposition leader Sam Rainsy, leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), who fled Cambodia in 2009 on a self-imposed exile to avoid what he called a politically motivated jail sentence. Rainsy has warned about the risk of violence in July’s elections because of the possibly of fraud. Although the CNRP has seen an increase in support because of government corruption and controversies over land rights, among other issues, as TIME reports, Sen and the ruling CPP controls every aspect of political, judicial, and social life, and has hold onto power through voter irregularities, partisan media, and intimidation.
- July 31: Presidential Elections in Zimbabwe
The people of Zimbabwe will take to the polls on July 31 to elect their next president, after the country’s new constitution was approved by a large majority in a referendum held in March. The new constitution introduced a number of key changes including a limit of presidential terms to two five-year terms, devolution of power, a bill of rights, and the establishment of a peace and reconciliation commission. President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power for 33 years with the Zanu-PF party, will run, once again facing Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change and current prime minister. After the disputed 2008 elections which were marred by violence, the two entered into a power-sharing agreement. The other presidential candidates are Dumiso Dabengwa of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union and Welshman Ncube of the Movement for Democratic Change–Mutambara.
Other Multilateral Meetings
- July 15-24: Trans-Pacific Partnership Talks, Malaysia
The 18th round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral trade agreement between the United States, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei Darussalam, will begin on July 15th. The agreement aims to enhance trade and investment among partner countries, promote economic growth, and support job creation. However, the partnership has faces criticism for its lack of transparency in releasing negotiation positions to the public, issues with its clauses on intellectual property, and the board scope of the agreement.
Also of Interest:
- July 1-25: ECOSOC Substantive Sessions
- July 23: WTO discusses legal disputes among members, Geneva