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 1: Mali, northern rebels resume peace talks after two-week delay, Algiers

Representatives from the Malian government and northern Tuareg tribes are due to meet in Algiers beginning September 1 to initiate a second round of peace talks that implement the roadmap agreed upon by the parties in July. The first round of talks took place from July 16-24, and in late August, Tuareg members and Arab militias met in Burkina Faso to agree on common principles prior to the meeting in Algiers. A third round of talks is slated for October.

September 1: Iranian foreign minister meets EU foreign policy chief, Brussels 

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will discuss a framework for renewed nuclear talks in Brussels on September 1. The meeting was announced late August, after the expiration of an August 25 deadline for Iran to abide by an International Atomic Energy Agency’s nuclear probe. A November 2013 interim nuclear agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany was set to expire on July 20, 2014, but the parties extended the talks until November 24 hoping to clinch a final, long-term deal. The P5+1 are seeking assurances that Iran’s nuclear program is not being used to develop nuclear warheads, a claim the Iranian government has denied, insisting that the program is for peaceful purposes. 

September 1: Newly elected Turkish President Erdoğan visits Northern Cyprus, North Nicosia

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will pay his first official visit as president of Turkey to the territories of Northern Cyprus on September 1, where he is expected to reiterate Turkey’s support for the Cyprus peace negotiations. The island has been partitioned since 1974, with Greece and Turkey controlling the south and north, respectively. In February this year, the leaders of the island’s two communities resumed peace negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations for the sixth time since the island’s division 40 years ago. 

September 1-4: Third UN Conference on Small Island Developing States, Apia 

The annual conference on small island developing states aims to focus international attention on a group of countries that experience particular challenges in achieving sustainable development due to their small and often isolated status and their vulnerability to rising sea levels. This year’s conference in Samoa will examine potential new partnerships for the island nations.

September 2: Africa summit on combating terrorism, Nairobi

Heads of state from across Africa will gather in the Kenyan capital to devise strategies to fight terrorism. The summit will be at the initiative of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, which recently expressed concern over attacks by the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram as well as groups in northern Mali.

September 3: Obama visits Estonia in effort to reassure Baltic allies, Tallinn

On his way to a NATO summit meeting in the United Kingdom, US President Barack Obama will make a stop in Tallinn on September 3 to reassure Baltic allies of continued US and NATO support to the region. Mr. Obama’s stop in the Estonian capital is a chance to reaffirm the United States’ “ironclad commitment to Article V as the foundation of NATO.”

September 4-5: 2014 NATO Summit, Wales

The government of the United Kingdom will host the 2014 NATO summit in the cities of Cardiff and Newport, Wales. This is the first time that the UK has held the event since Margaret Thatcher welcomed NATO leaders in 1990 as the Cold War came to an end. This year, the situation in Ukraine is expected to take center stage. The Russian government was not invited to the summit, despite the fact that it has previously attended similar events.

September 10: Iraqi premier-designate faces deadline to form list of cabinet members, Baghdad

Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s premier-designate, has until September 10 to submit a list of Cabinet members to Parliament. Mr. al-Abadi, previously a spokesman for the Islamic Dawa Party, was nominated on August 11 to take the helm of the violence-stricken country after former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki failed to create an inclusive and stable government in the country and was accused of alienating the country’s Sunni population. Taking concrete steps to reconcile the country’s Kurds and Sunni Arabs will be a significant challenge for the new administration.

September 11-12: Shanghai Cooperation Organization heads of state meet, Dushanbe

The heads of state of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will meet in the capital of Tajikistan on September 11-12 to discuss regional issues involving terrorism, separatism, and illegal drug trafficking. The SCO—a regional organization comprising China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—was founded in 2001 as a Eurasian organization to increase economic and security cooperation across the region.

September 14: Parliamentary elections, Crimea

Crimeans will vote in the first election for the de facto republic’s Parliament following the region’s annexation by Russia in March. Local council elections across Crimean municipalities will also be held on the same day. According to one member of Crimea’s Ministerial Council, the elections will confirm that the republic is “now an integral part of the Russian federation’s legal system.” But it remains unclear to what extent the vote will be recognized by the international community, and what effects the election will have on the security situation in eastern Ukraine. 

September 15: African Union hands over to UN peacekeeping force, Central African Republic

The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) will assume control of all peacekeeping operations in the country from the African Union–led MISCA operation on September 15. The transfer of authority marks the culmination of a process that began in April 2014, when the UN Security Council authorized the mission to protect civilians, ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid, promote human rights, support the transition process, and promote respect for the rule of law. MINUSCA will initially consist of 7,000 troops and will build up to 10,000 troops over the next six months. The European Union and France also have forces deployed in the Central African Republic conducting stability operations.

September 16: UN General Assembly plenary session opens, New York    

The UN General Assembly’s 69th annual plenary session will convene on September 16 at UN headquarters in New York, and the general debate will open on September 24. The session presents an opportunity for world leaders, foreign ministers, and diplomats from the UN’s 193 member states to address a central forum for global decision making and attend important bilateral and multilateral meetings on the sidelines. During this time, US President Barack Obama is expected to personally preside over a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss terrorism and the role of foreign fighters in conflict zones such as Syria and Iraq. This year’s assembly will be presided by Sam Kahamba Kutesa of Uganda.

September 17: First general election since 2006 coup, Fiji

The citizens of Fiji will head to the polls for the first time since a 2006 military coup ousted the country’s last elected government. The September elections were announced in March, after the leader of Fiji’s military junta Frank Bainimarama, who also led the 2006 coup, resigned as head of the armed forces. He is now running for the presidency.  

September 18: Independence referendum, Scotland

The historic referendum that could see Scotland gaining independence from the United Kingdom after a 307-year union is set to take place September 18. Voters will be asked a simple yes-or-no question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” According to recent polls, support for independence has waned over the last months, with 57 percent of voters now preferring to remain in the union. The British government, as well as business and industry leaders, have emphasized the damage independence would bring to the Scottish and British economies. Conversely, pro-independence advocates contend that Scotland’s healthcare and education systems would fare better under independence and that Scots would be better placed to craft their own future.

September 20: OSCE mission in Ukraine is extended by six months, Kiev

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will extend its monitoring mission in Ukraine by an additional six months on September 20. The extension was requested by the Ukrainian government, which is currently attempting to quell a revolt by separatist rebels in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. Violence in the two regions intensified in the spring after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and after rebels there refused to recognize the legitimacy of the government in Kiev. The OSCE mission has so far deployed monitors to nine regions, including Luhansk and Donetsk, and has its head office in Kiev.

September 22-23: First World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, New York

Indigenous peoples make up over 5 percent of the world’s population, nearly 370 million people, but often struggle to remain on their lands and secure their right to the use of their natural resources. The first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples will convene for two days during the 69th session of the UN General Assembly to share perspectives and best practices on the protection of rights of indigenous peoples around the world.

September 23: UN Climate Summit, New York

Hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the UN Climate Summit will take place on September 23 on the sidelines of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly (the summit itself is not a UNGA meeting). The summit seeks to galvanize support from governments, business leaders, and civil society for a more responsible approach to climate change and its effects. Its long-term goal is to reach a global agreement by 2015 that limits the world to a less than 2-degree Celsius rise in global temperature.

September 27: Egypt court delivers final verdict in Mubarak case, Cairo

An Egyptian court is expected to deliver its final verdict in the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown during a popular uprising in February 2011 after nearly 30 years in office. In 2012, Mr. Mubarak was found guilty of ordering the killing of hundreds of demonstrators during the uprising, allegations he denied when he spoke for the first time during his trial in August.