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.



October 1: Norway’s Jens Stoltenberg takes over as NATO Secretary-General, Brussels

On October 1, former Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg succeeds Denmark’s Anders Fogh Rasmussen as secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) at a time of heightened tensions over the Ukraine crisis. Appointed in March 2014 by the North Atlantic Council, Mr. Stoltenberg comes from his most recent international post as UN Special Envoy on Climate Change. 

October 1: Obama hosts Netanyahu for first time since Israel-Hamas War, Washington, DC 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travels to Washington to visit US President Barack Obama for the first time in seven months. The Washington visit takes place against the backdrop of a fragile cease-fire following the 50-day Gaza war, stalled talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, and an impending deadline for a final agreement in the P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran. At the White House, the two leaders are expected to discuss nuclear negotiations with Iran, Israel’s security, the Palestinian issue, tensions in the Middle East, and the state of US-Israeli relations.

October 5: Presidential elections, Brazil 

In office since 2011, President Dilma Rousseff will seek a second term as Brazilians head to the polls for presidential elections on October 5. Ms. Rousseff’s chief opponents are environmentalist advocate and Brazilian Socialist Party member Marina Silva and Aécio Neves of the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy. Ms. Silva had been running alongside vice-presidential candidate Eduardo Campos until August, when Mr. Campos was killed along with six other people in a plane crash on his way to a campaign stop. If the vote delivers no clear majority, a second runoff round is expected for October 26.

October 6-10: Latin America and Caribbean Counter-Narcotics Meeting, Asunción

The heads of national drug law enforcement agencies from Latin America and the Caribbean will convene in the Paraguayan capital for the 24th regional meeting hosted by the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The meeting, which takes place annually, is expected to address progress on counter-narcotics operations across the Latin American region; assess the current status of regional and subregional cooperation; and evaluate current regional trafficking trends.

October 8: Kenyatta to appear in front of ICC for first time, The Hague

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled to appear in front of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Dutch capital for the first time since his trial began in 2011. Mr. Kenyatta faces charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in election-related violence in 2007, and his trial was halted in early September when ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda cited lack of evidence. The October 8 appearance follows a subpoena issued on September 19 and is expected to assess the status of cooperation between the prosecution and the Kenyan government. 

October 9: Presidential election session, Lebanon

The Lebanese parliament will hold a presidential election session on October 9, after a previous session held on September 23 failed to reach the required quorum. This will mark the Lebanese legislature’s 13th attempt at electing a new president since former president Michel Suleiman’s term in office ended in May 2014.

October 10-12: Annual meetings of World Bank Group and IMF, Washington, DC

The Board of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will convene in Washington, DC, from October 10-12 for their annual meeting, which brings together central bankers, finance ministers, the private sector, and academics to discuss issues related to poverty reduction, international development, finance, and aid effectiveness. Topics to be addressed this year include the role of women and youth in fostering economic development, food security and climate change, poverty eradication, state fragility, and income inequality.

October 12: Presidential, Parliamentary elections, Bolivia

On October 12, Bolivians will head to the polls to elect their next president as well as members of both houses of parliament. Bolivian President Evo Morales, the country’s first indigenous president, will compete for a third term in office against his main opponent, conservative businessman Samuel Doria Media of the center-right Unidad Nacional party. Bolivia’s constitution, ratified in 2009, allows presidents to sit for a maximum of two terms in office, but the country’s Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Morales’ first term (2006-2009) was exempt.

October 12: Gaza Strip reconstruction conference, Cairo

The Egyptian capital will host a special donors’ conference on October 12 for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following the summer 2014 war with Israel. The conference will be chaired by the governments of Egypt and Norway in an effort to secure international financial support for the initiative. Government representatives from over 80 countries are expected to attend the conference, which will attempt to raise the estimated 7 billion USD required for the reconstruction effort.

Mid-October: Iran nuclear talks resume, Europe

While a date and place for the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 haven’t been set yet, the parties are expected to meet again by mid-October in Europe ahead of a November 24 final deadline to reach a comprehensive agreement. The parties—Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the US—met at the end of September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York but failed to make much progress, and a meeting scheduled to take place on September 26 had to be called off. The P5+1 are seeking assurances from Iran that its nuclear program is not being used to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Iran maintains that its program is peaceful.

October 15: Presidential elections, Mozambique 

Mozambicans head to the polls for presidential elections on October 15 following a late-August cease-fire agreement between the central government and Renamo rebels. The August deal put an end to two years of some of the most significant political violence the country has seen since the end of its 15-year civil war in 1992. The vote will see Felipe Nyusi, Mozambique’s defense minister and member of the ruling Frelimo party, compete against Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama and Daviz Simango of the Mozambique Democratic Movement.   

October 16-17: Tenth Asia-Europe Meeting Summit, Milan

The Italian government, in cooperation with the European Union, will host the tenth biennial Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Milan on October 16-17. The forum for dialogue between the regions will this year focus on “responsible partnership for sustainable growth and security.” The summit will be chaired by Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso, the outgoing presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, respectively. Asian and European leaders are expected to participate, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

October 20: Presidential inauguration, Indonesia 

Indonesian President-elect Joko Widodo will be inaugurated in Jakarta on October 20 after a hotly contested July vote in which his opponent, former general Prabowo Subianto, challenged the results in court. On August 21, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court delivered a unanimous vote upholding the results, legitimizing Joko Widodo’s victory with 53 percent of the vote.

October 26: Legislative elections, Tunisia

On October 26, Tunisia holds its first legislative elections since the adoption of a new constitution in January 2014, reaching an important milestone in the country’s transition to democracy. The Tunisian government has asked the European Union to provide election monitors, and the first group of the EU’s mission arrived in Tunis on September 17. The October vote will be followed by presidential elections on November 23, in which current interim President Moncef Marzouki is expected to run.

October 26: Parliamentary elections, Ukraine

Ukrainians will head to the polls on October 26 for early parliamentary elections, the first such vote since the ouster of pro-Russia president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014. The elections were announced in late August, when President Petro Poroshenko dissolved parliament following the collapse of the ruling coalition on July 24. Over the past eight months, the country has been embroiled in a standoff with Russia in which Russian troops have crossed the border into eastern Ukraine, fomenting separatist movements in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. More than 3,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far, and a tenuous cease-fire in place since September 5 has repeatedly been violated.

October 28: Security Council annual open debate on women, peace, and security, New York

The UN Security Council is expected to hold its annual open debate on the topic of “women, peace, and security” on October 28 in New York. The debate will focus on the effects of displacement on female refugees and internally displaced persons and will see the participation of UN Women Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Gutérres.

October 30-31: African Union high-level dialogue meeting on governance, Dakar

On October 30-31, the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission together with organs from the African Governance Architecture will convene in Dakar for the Third High-Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa. This year’s dialogue seeks to identify some of the structural root causes of conflicts in Africa and come up with policy solutions to prevent conflicts on the continent. Its focus on “silencing the guns” follows a declaration adopted by African leaders in May 2013, where they set 2020 as the target for achieving peace among member states.

October 31: AMISOM mandate set to expire, Mogadishu

The current mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) looks likely to be renewed on October 31. The mission, created in 2007, provides multidimensional peace support to Somalia and includes a civilian, military, humanitarian, and police component. AMISOM received an additional 4,000 troops in November 2013, in light of increased attacks at the hands of the al-Shabaab terrorist organization, which has intensified its activities in the country and across the border in Kenya. Discussions in the Security Council are likely to focus on resources, specialized personnel, and the mission’s relationship with UNSOM, the UN Assistance Mission for Somalia.