Key Global Events to Watch in February

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

February 1: Hong Kong protests resume, Hong Kong

On February 1, pro-democracy rallies are scheduled to resume in Hong Kong for the first time since December 2014, when more than two months of mass protests were broken up by the government. According to the organizers, the rallies are expected to draw nearly 50,000 people demanding the ability to elect their own leader. As of August 2014, Hong Kong’s citizens can elect leaders from a list of candidates who have been previously vetted by a Beijing-controlled committee.

February 1: South Korea sets up submarine command to counter North’s actions, Jinhae

Beginning February 1, the South Korean military will set up a submarine command in the southern port city of Jinhae as part of an effort to boost its underwater capabilities for countering North Korea. The new infrastructure will immediately accommodate nine 1,200-ton and four 1,800-ton submarines. It will also accommodate five more 1,800-ton submarines to be built by 2018, according to a South Korean naval officer.

February 2-10: Peace talks between FARC and Colombian government, Havana

The 32nd round of talks between negotiators from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government is scheduled to begin in Havana, Cuba, on February 2 and will address “the end of the armed conflict” between the two parties. The Historical Commission on the Conflict and its Victims, established in August 2014, will issue a report on proceedings on February 10. FARC and government negotiators have already reached agreement on agrarian reform, political participation and illicit drugs.

February 3: UN court delivers final judgment in Balkan War genocide case, The Hague

On February 3, the International Court of Justice (ICJ)—the UN’s principal judicial organ—will deliver its final judgment in the genocide case between Croatia and Serbia. In the case, first filed in 1999, Croatia accuses Serbia of violating the 1948 Genocide Convention with acts committed between 1991 and 1995. In a related 2007 ruling, the ICJ cleared Serbia of committing genocide in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre that killed 8,000 men, but said that Belgrade breached the genocide convention by failing to prevent the slaughter.

February 4-5: The Hague Summit on International Law and Human Rights, The Hague

Sub-titled “An Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Role of International Law in Promoting Human Rights,” the summit will attract attendees including high profile legislators and members of the judiciary and global governance institutions. The summit will formulate recommendations and future actions for developing international law to support human rights.

February 5-7: 15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, New Delhi

The 15th edition of the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit will convene in the Indian capital from February 5-7. The summit is an annual forum that gathers heads of state and government, policymakers, academics, and civil society from around the globe to address pressing issues related to global sustainability and development. The topic of this year’s gathering will be “Sustainable Development Goals and Dealing with Climate Change”; UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to make an appearance, as is Kailash Satyarthi, one of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winners.

February 5: Newly elected Greek parliament convenes for first time, elects new president, Athens

Greece’s newly elected parliament will convene for the first time on February 5 after a tumultuous snap legislative election that brought the leftist, anti-EU party Syriza to power for the first time. During the first session, the parliament is likely to elect the country’s new president. It was the inability of the former parliament to elect a new president that led to the dissolution of the chambers and to the January 25 polls.

February 5: NATO defense ministers meet, Brussels

The principal decision-making body within NATO, the North Atlantic Council, will meet at the defense minister level on February 5th in Brussels. During the meeting, which will be chaired by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, the 28 defense chiefs are expected to discuss the Ukraine crisis, and in particular, the recent escalation of hostilities.

February 5: 2nd annual transatlantic trade conference, Brussels

EU and US policymakers and stakeholders will gather in Brussels on February 5 for the second annual conference on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a major trade and investment deal that, if approved, would further open the EU and US economies to each other. The original deadline for completion of the agreement was the end of 2014, and the parties are currently working on finalizing it before submitting it for approval by the European Parliament and the US Congress.

February 6-8: 51st Munich Security Conference, Munich

Over 20 heads of state and government will travel to the Bavarian capital from February 6-8 to attend the 51st edition of the Munich Security Conference—a major global security event that since 1962 has brought together senior figures to discuss threats to the international system. This year, the conference will address the crisis in Ukraine and its possible effects on the European security environment, as well as ongoing instability in the Middle East.

February 9-10: Russian President Putin to visit Egypt, Cairo

Egyptian President Abdelfattah al-Sisi is expected to welcome Russia’s President Vladimir Putin for an official visit in Cairo on February 9-10, according to local news reports. Discussions during the planned visit, which follows an August 2014 visit by al-Sisi to Moscow, are likely to focus on bilateral relations, including security and defense cooperation between Cairo and the Kremlin.

February 12-13: Special EU summit on counterterrorism, Brussels

On February 12-13, the EU will hold a special summit on countering terrorism and addressing rising extremism among Europe’s Muslim youth. The summit comes in response to the recent deadly attacks on a satirical newspaper in Paris that left 17 people dead. EU leaders are expected to lay down the foundations of the bloc’s strategy to deal with young European Muslims who return radicalized from the Middle East after heading there to take part in conflicts.

February 14: Presidential elections, Nigeria (postponed)

The citizens of Africa’s most populous country will head to the polls on February 14 to elect their next president, as well as members of the Senate and House of Representatives (the elections have been postponed to March 28). The vote will be an important test for incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and for a country plagued by a bloody decade-long insurgency at the hands of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. Mr. Jonathan will seek a second term against challenger and former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. On February 28, Nigerians will return to the polls to elect state governors and state houses of assembly.

February 18: US holds global summit on countering violent extremism, Washington, DC

The White House will host a major global security summit on February 18 to discuss ways to prevent violent extremism. Announced in the immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks that took place in early January, the summit will address issues such as travel control and internet security.

February 28: Snap legislative elections, Lesotho

Citizens of the Kingdom of Lesotho will head to the polls for early legislative elections on February 28 in an effort to solve the crisis between rival parties in the ruling coalition. The vote follows the alleged coup attempt on August 30, 2014 in which the country’s military sought to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Tom Thabane after he suspended parliament sessions earlier in June. In October, Mr. Thabane announced his intention to again run as a candidate.

Early February: Mali peace talks resume, Algiers

While the dates have not been confirmed yet, the Algeria-mediated peace talks between the Malian government and northern Tuareg and Arab rebel groups are expected to resume in early February. The talks have attempted to put an end to the uprisings that have shaken the West African country for nearly five decades. The parties held three rounds of negotiations in 2014, circulating a draft peace agreement at their third meeting in November.

Also of interest:

February 6: International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

February 20: World Day of Social Justice