Key Global Events to Watch in October

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

      • October 1–November 1: Inspection of Syria’s Chemical Weapons Stockpile
        A day after United Nations inspectors departed Damascus on September 30, a team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) began examining and cataloging Syria’s stockpiles. This comes after a September 26 Security Council resolution to support the destruction of all Syrian chemical weapons. Despite working on a shorter than usual timeline and in a conflict zone, the team expects to finish its report by the end of the month. 

        The OPCW Executive Council will hold its 74th session partway through this process on October 8 -11. Furthermore, the Executive Council will meet again on November 15 to discuss what information is gathered this month and to set ambitious milestones for the complete elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014. 

        The trip includes a stop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the annual encounter between the members of the UN Security Council and the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, a gathering that has been taking place since 2007. On the agenda, the institutional relationship between the two Councils, as well as the regional crises of main concern, including Central African Republic, the Great Lakes, Mali and the Sahel, Somalia and Sudan/South Sudan.

      • October 8: 7th Joint Annual Consultative Meeting between the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) and the UN Security Council
        Bringing together the African ambassadors of the AUPSC and their counterparts in the UN Security Council, the consultation, which will take place in Addis Ababa, aims to enhance the strategic partnership between the two councils with a view to strengthening their peacemaking efforts on issues of common concern in Africa. 

        In addition to the two councils’ partnership, the meeting will discuss the situation in the Central African Republic and the UN’s contribution to an African-led international support mission in the country; the Great Lakes Region and the implementation of the February 2013 Framework Agreement for Peace, Security and Cooperation for the DRC and the region; the Sahel Region and the tension that surrounded the transfer from AFISMA to MINUSMA in July; Sudan and South Sudan and the issue of Abyei; and the situation in Somalia and the outcome of the joint AMISOM review and benchmarking exercise for a UN peacekeeping operation.

      • October 11-12: African Union Extraordinary Summit on the Relationship Between Africa and the International Criminal Court 
        African leaders will meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on October 11-12 to reflect on the relationship between Africa and the ICC and discuss whether or not to join Kenya’s planned pull out from the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the prosecution of its leaders, though only one country, Uganda, has signaled it is seriously considering it. Thirty-four African countries have ratified the Rome Statute, with 17 of them being original signatories, though recent remarks by the African Union have challenged the integrity of the ICC. The trial against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto, which began on September 10, 2013, and the pending trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta scheduled for November 12, 2013, are moving forward. 

      • October 15-16: Iran to Present Plan at P5+1 Meeting, Geneva
        Following a meeting last week with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran is set to present a nuclear development plan during the P5+1 talks in Geneva. The talks in Geneva, as well as further discussions with IAEA set for October 28, will seemingly focus on access to Tehran’s nuclear program and the lifting of international sanctions on Iran. 

        Since taking office in early August, President Hassan Rouhani has shown significant initiative to settle the decade-old dispute with the West over Iran’s nuclear development progress.

      • October 17: Security Council Elections, New York
        The five seats available for election this year will be distributed regionally for two-year terms. There are two seats reserved for Africa, with Chad, Gambia, and Nigeria in the running. With no contenders, the seats for Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean will go to, respectively, Saudi Arabia, Lithuania, and Chile. The two former states have never served on the Security Council.

      • October 18: Security Council Debate on Women, Peace and Security, New York
        This year, the Council’s annual debate follows a new resolution on women, peace, and security passed in June, which focused on sexual violence in conflict. The Secretary-General’s most recent report on women, peace, and security noted that though there has been increased attention to sexual violence against women during conflict, the number of leadership roles for women in peace and security implementation remains low. Thus, while the open debate will center on the rule of law and justice as they relate to women, there is also likely to be a focus on women’s participation. Special recommendations from the Secretary-General’s annual report could lead a presidential statement or to another resolution, according to the Security Council’s monthly forecast.   

      • October 28: Security Council Meeting on the UN and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation 
        This Security Council briefing focused on how to strengthen the partnership between the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is the first of its kind. The UN Secretary-General as well as the Secretary-General of the OIC will brief the Council on general cooperation as well as areas of common interest such as conflict prevention and counter-terrorism. A Presidential Statement is a likely outcome.   

      • Also of Interest:

        • October 13: The Security Council is likely to extend the authorization of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)  ahead of its October 13 expiration date.

        • October 14: Deadline for a first draft of the new Egyptian Constitution

        • MINUSTAH (Haiti)  is scheduled to renew its mandate before it expires on October 15.


      • October 8: Ethiopia Holds Presidential Election
        Elections for the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia’s third president will be held indirectly by parliament to serve a six-year term. Incumbent president Girma Wolde-Giorgis is barred from running because he has already served the maximum two-term limit. Haile Gebreselassie, an Olympic long-distance runner and businessman, is running as well as several other businessmen. 

      • October 25: Madagascar Holds First Round Presidential Elections (tentative)
        Having been postponed three times since this year, the first round of Madagascar’s presidential elections is scheduled for late this month. Andry Rajoelina, the interim president, ousted President Marc Ravalomanan with military backing in 2009.  In an attempt to stop years of unrest and delays, both men agreed to not run in the presidential election, originally set for May, 2013. However, after Ravalomanana’s wife announced her candidacy, Rajoelina jumped back into the race. 

        After violence leading up to a scheduled poll in July, the election commission banned all three candidates from the race and delayed the election until October 25. If all goes as scheduled, a second round of elections is set for December of this year. 

      • October 27: Georgia Holds Presidential Elections
        Twenty-three candidates compete for the presidency on October 27 for the next five-year term, the most candidates since Georgia held its first presidential election in 1990. In the lead is former Minister of Education Giorgi Margvelashvili. If no candidate gets 30 percent of the vote, a second runoff election is held between the leading candidates. 

      • Also of Interest:

        • October 25: Czech Republic, Parliamentary Elections

        • October 9: Azerbaijan Holds Presidential 

Additional Multilateral Meetings

      • October 3-4: High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development
        In a 2008 resolution, the General Assembly designated this meeting for the 68th session, coming seven years since the last high-level dialogue on the subject. The purpose of the dialogue is to identify measures to strengthen cooperation, “with a view to enhancing the benefits of international migration for migrants and countries alike and its important links to development, while reducing its negative implications,” according to the UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs.

        Years in the making, there have been many reports, briefs, and events leading up to this month’s dialogue. Materials and texts are available on the sites for the UN Office for Human Rights and Department of Social and Economic Affairs.

      • October 11–13: Annual World Bank–IMF Meetings, Washington D.C. 
        The annual meetings of the biggest global financial institutions will bring together finance and development specialists from government, academia, and private bankers to discuss poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness, among other topics. Amidst the many presentations on the four-day schedule are several items concerning the Middle East; aid packages to Lebanon, Jordan, and other states at the forefront of the Syrian refugee crisis are likely to be discussed. 

      • October 21- 24: Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting, Bangkok, Thailand
        The 37th meeting of the CND with the heads of national drug law enforcement agencies will be an operational rather than normative, treaty-based segment of the CND’s two-fold agenda. Held in Thailand, the law enforcement heads and UN officials will focus on Asia and the Pacific regions. The commission plans to review statistical analyses on drug trafficking trends in East, South-East and South Asia, Oceania; as well as review the plan of action on international cooperation to counter the world drug problem.