Key Global Events to Watch in April

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

First week of April: France starts shipping weapons to Lebanon

During the first week of April, France is scheduled to begin the delivery of weapons to the Lebanese government to support its fight against jihadist militants. The announcement of the deal was first made in December 2014 by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman. The weapons were purchased with a 3 billion USD grant from the government of Saudi Arabia, according to Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star. This follows large shipments of military aid to Lebanon from the United States in February.

April 1: 2015 Global Forum on Development, Paris

The 2015 Global Forum on Development will take place on April 1 at the headquarters of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. The forum will gather practitioners, experts, and policymakers from the development field to discuss the issues at the heart of the UN Financing for Development Conference that will take place in Addis Ababa in July. Some of the topics to be addressed include: the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); how developing countries interpret the SDGs; and the role that non-state actors can play in the SDG implementation process.

April 1: Palestine joins International Criminal Court, The Hague

On April 1, the Palestinian Authority will officially join the International Criminal Court (ICC)—the world’s war-crimes tribunal. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed the Rome Statute on December 31, 2014 after the UN Security Council rejected a Palestinian-drafted resolution demanding “a full and phased withdrawal of the Israeli occupying forces” within three years. The court’s jurisdiction will extend retroactively as far as June 2014, thus opening the possibility for prosecutors to investigate the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas that took place last summer.

April 1: South Sudan pre-transition period begins

South Sudan’s peace negotiations are scheduled to reach a new stage on April 1 as the warring parties enter a “pre-transition period” that will last until July 9—the scheduled date for the creation of a transitional unity government. During a recent round of negotiations held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in February, the delegations of President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar were unable to agree on the army’s composition during the transition period, news agencies report.

April 2: EU delegation travels to Sri Lanka for Joint Commission meeting, Colombo

Delegates from the European Union and the island nation of Sri Lanka will meet in Colombo on April 2 under the framework of the Joint Commission (JC)—the body that coordinates EU-Sri Lanka relations. The JC is currently assessing whether Sri Lanka can regain the status of enhanced trade partner, also known as GSP +, which the EU suspended in 2010 after concluding that Sri Lanka had failed to implement three UN human rights conventions.

April 8: Greek PM Tsipras visits Russian President Putin, Moscow

The newly elected prime minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, will travel to Moscow on April 8 for an official visit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is the first visit to Russia by the Greek leftist leader since taking office in January in a sweeping snap parliamentary election, and follows a personal invitation by Mr. Putin. The two leaders are expected to discuss ways to address Greece’s “stifling economic conditions caused in the country from the European side”— mainly related to a joint EU-IMF rescue package—as well as a Russian embargo on EU agricultural goods in place since last year.

April 10-11: Cuba attends Summit of the Americas for first time, Panama City

Heads of state and government from across the Americas will gather in Panama City on April 10-11 for the 2015 Summit of the Americas. The summit has taken place every three years, and this year will include Cuba for the first time ever. The official topic will be “Prosperity with Equity: The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas,” but the presence of Cuba and the situation in Venezuela will be on the minds of many participants following Barack Obama’s surprise decision to impose sanctions on key members of the latter’s Maduro regime. More information is available here.

April 12-19: 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Doha

The 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice takes place in Doha, Qatar from April 12-19. The event, which gathers governments, civil society, academia and experts in the field, is held every five years and this edition marks its 60th anniversary. Topics to be addressed include: successes and challenges in implementing crime prevention policies; international cooperation; and balanced approaches to preventing new forms of transnational crime.

April 13-15: Presidential and parliamentary elections, Sudan

Sudan is scheduled to hold presidential and parliamentary elections from April 13-15. The presidential poll, initially scheduled for April 2, will see President Omar al-Bashir—currently wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide—seeking re-election, possibly extending his 25-year rule. The opposition National Congress Party has declared its intention to boycott the vote and has called on the international community, including the United Nations and the African Union, to reject the electoral process.

April 14: US Senate votes on legislation related to Iran nuclear program, Washington

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to hold an April 14 vote on whether Congress can weigh in on any deal reached by the Obama administration on Iran’s nuclear program. If approved, the legislation would require the US president to submit any deal to Congress for approval. The White House has urged Congress not to pass any legislation until June 30, which marks the deadline for reaching a final deal between Iran and six world powers.

April 17-19: 2015 Spring Meetings of World Bank Group and IMF, Washington, DC

This year’s Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund will take place from April 17-19 in Washington, DC. Thousands of government officials, journalists, civil society groups, and representatives from academia and the private sector will gather in the US capital to exchange views on the global economy, international development, and global financial markets.

April 19-24: 60th commemoration of Asian-African Conference, Jakarta/Bandung

Heads of state from across Africa and Asia will head to the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Bandung from April 19-24 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Asian-African Conference, also known as the Bandung Conference. First held in 1955, the conference sought to promote economic and cultural cooperation between the two continents. Representatives from over 100 countries are expected to attend the event to be hosted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

April 22: Retrial of Al Jazeera journalists resumes, Cairo

The retrial of Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, the two al-Jazeera journalists detained by the Egyptian government for over a year, is scheduled to resume on April 22. The pair are charged with aiding a terrorist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, and of reporting false news. They were initially sentenced to between seven and 10 years in prison, but were recently released on bail pending a retrial. Their colleague Peter Greste was deported to his native Australia in February.

April 24-25: Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting, Iqaluit

The 2015 ministerial-level meeting of the Arctic Council will take place in the Canadian city of Iqaluit on April 24-25. The meeting takes place every two years and gathers ministers from the six Arctic states—Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States—in addition to international organizations representing Arctic indigenous people, to promote the environmental, social, and economic aspects of sustainable development in the region. This year’s meeting marks the conclusion of Canada’s chairmanship and the beginning of the US chairmanship of the council.

April 27: EU-Ukraine Summit, Kiev

The government of Petro Poroshenko will host top European Union officials and EU heads of state in Kiev on April 27 to discuss the security situation in the country. The meeting was announced by Mr. Poroshenko at the end of March and is expected to address a Ukrainian request to deploy peacekeepers to the eastern regions to monitor a shaky cease-fire between Kiev and pro-Russia separatists that came into force February 15. The holding of annual summits was agreed upon in the association agreement signed by the EU and Ukraine in June 2014.

April 27-29: First-ever Africa Climate Resilient Infrastructure Summit, Addis Ababa

The African Union Commission will co-host the first-ever Africa Climate Resilient Infrastructure Summit (ACRIS) from April 27-29 in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. The event will be a forum where governments, businesses, and industries in the energy, water, and agriculture sectors can exchange views on how to respond to the challenges of climate change.

April 27-29: 2015 Women’s Power to Stop War conference, The Hague

From April 27-29, hundreds of women peacemakers will gather in the Dutch capital for the 2015 Women’s Power to Stop War conference. The event is organized by the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF) to commemorate 100 years since WILPF founding members first came together to protest World War I in The Hague. The conference will focus on adopting a gender perspective to conflict analysis and resolution, hoping to offer alternative approaches to establishing permanent peace.

April 30: Mandate of UN peacekeeping mission in CAR expires

The mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA) is set to expire on April 30, though it is likely to be renewed. Under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the mission is authorized to take all necessary steps to implement the provisions of its mandate, which currently include: protecting civilians; supporting the implementation of the transition process; facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance; promoting and protecting human rights; and supporting national and international justice.

April 30: Tanzania holds referendum on new constitution

On April 30, voters in Tanzania are scheduled to cast their preferences in a referendum on the country’s new constitution. The referendum was announced in October last year by Tanzania’s attorney-general, but has since been boycotted by the main opposition party, CHADEMA. The party’s chairman, Freeman Mbowe, recently said that the ruling party has ignored suggestions for reforms of the constitution, adding that it will ask a court to block the new document.

Also of interest:

April 7: International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda

April 26: Snap presidential elections, Kazakhstan