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.

Early October: Withdrawal of Military Equipment by Ukrainian and Pro-Russian Troops, Ukraine

Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian separatists have both started to withdraw tanks and other military hardware from the frontline of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, according to the terms of a ceasefire accord signed in Minsk in February this year. The ceasefire had been undermined by sporadic clashes between the two rival groups throughout the year.

October 8: Russia and Japan Attempt to Finally Sign Post-World War II Peace Treaty, Moscow

The foreign ministers of Russia and Japan are scheduled to meet on October 8 to discuss a territorial dispute over the Southern Kuril Islands—a disagreement that has prevented signing of a peace treaty to formally end World War II hostilities between the two countries. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met in New York in September during the United Nations General Assembly and promised to work towards ending the impasse.

October 9: Awarding of 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, Oslo

The 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 will be announced at a press conference on October 9 at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo. The front-running nominee for the award is thought to be German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in recognition of her leadership during Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis. The 2014 award was shared by India’s Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai for their advocacy of children’s rights and education.

October 9-11: Annual General Meeting of World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund, Lima

The boards of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group will hold their annual general meetings in Lima, Peru, October 9-11, to discuss the work programs of their respective institutions. The meetings come as the IMF cut its global growth forecast for a second time in early October, citing weak commodity prices and a slowdown in China.

October 10: Deadline for Foreign Forces to Withdraw from South Sudan, Juba

Foreign troops, primarily from Uganda, face a deadline of October 10 to withdraw from South Sudan under the terms of a peace agreement signed in late August. Uganda’s People’s Defence Forces (UDF) deployed 2,500-3,000 troops to the country to fight alongside the forces of South Sudan President Salvar Kiir against the rebels of Kiir’s former deputy Riek Machar. The UDF has yet to give the order to its troops to withdraw, however, with deputy government spokesperson Col. Shaban Bantariza casting doubt on the ability of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development force to keep the peace.

October 13: UN Security Council Debate on Women, Peace and Security, New York

The annual United Nations Security Council debate on women, peace and security will take place on October 13 in New York, with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain presiding. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on this issue. A concept note is expected to be circulated ahead of the debate, asking member states to focus on how the international community can better deliver on the included commitments.

October 15: Myanmar Government Signs Peace Deal with Ethnic Rebel Groups, Naypyidaw

The government of Myanmar and representatives of eight ethnic armed groups have agreed on October 15 as the date of the formal signing of a nationwide ceasefire agreement. The decision follows two years of negotiations aimed at ending a decades-long civil war and will occur before general elections scheduled for November. The government had wanted to sign with a total of 15 groups, but several major parties withdrew from the talks after smaller insurgent factions were excluded from the process.

October 17: Egypt Begins First Phase of Parliamentary Elections

Egypt is set to hold parliamentary elections in two stages between October 17 and December 2 this year as the third and final phase of the political roadmap laid out after the ouster of leader Mohammed Morsi in 2013. The first phase consisted of the drafting of a new constitution and the second the election of current president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

October 18: Switzerland Holds Federal Election

Switzerland is set to hold federal parliamentary election on October 18, with the right-leaning Swiss People’s Party (SVP) expected to attract the largest share of the vote at around 30%. The SVP’s anti-immigration and euroskeptic policies have resonated at a time when Europe contends with a major refugee crisis. An improved showing for the SVP could further complicate Switzerland’s relationship with the EU and encourage euroskeptics elsewhere.

October 19: Canada Stages Federal Election

Canadians go to the polls on October 19 to elect a new federal government. Key election issues include the country’s stagnating economy, responses to climate change, and questions over national identity in light of a growing Muslim population. A recent poll put support at 35% for the Liberals, 31% for the ruling Conservatives, and 24% for the New Democratic Party.

October 19-23: Interim Climate Change Talks, Bonn

An edited negotiating text for a global climate pact—now reduced to 20 pages—will form the basis of interim talks in Bonn, Germany, October 19-23. This will be the last negotiating session before the United Nations Paris meeting in December, where an agreement is expected to be reached, though what kind of agreement remains an open question.

October 25: Tanzania Holds General Election

Tanzania holds presidential and parliamentary elections on October 25 in what is expected to be a very close contest, with the Chama Cha Mapinduzi party possibly set to lose power for the first time since the beginning of the country’s multiparty democracy in 1995. Former prime minister Edward Lowassa defected from the CCM to the rival Chadema in July this year, as the ruling party has been hit by a string of corruption scandals.

October 25: Guatemala Faces Runoff Election for New President

A runoff election for Guatemala’s new president has been scheduled for October 25 after no candidate was able to obtain the requisite more than 50% of the vote in a poll held in September this year. That vote had followed the resignation of former president Otto Perez Molina following corruption allegations. Comedian Jimmy Morales, businessman Manual Baldizon, and ex-first lady Sandra Torres will contest the new poll.

October 25: Poland Stages Parliamentary Elections

Poland hosts parliamentary elections on October 25, with the ruling Civic Platform party currently trailing the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party in opinion polls. The European refugee crisis has been a central election issue, with anti-migrant opinion favoring the PiS vote. The right-wing party has also campaigned on a platform of defending the country’s heavily coal-dependent economy, which conflicts with wider European Union climate change policies.

October 25: Ivory Coast Hold First Presidential Election Since Violent 2011 Poll

Ivory Coast will host the first presidential vote since a 2011 poll that sparked a violent civil war, killing 3,000 people. President Alassane Outtara is expected to win a second five-year term and will hope to continue the country’s record of strong economic performance of the past few years—the government is predicting growth of 9.6% this year. There have, however, been reports of arbitrary arrests and abuse of opposition supporters this month, leading to concerns of a repeat of the 2011 violence and its aftermath.

October 25: Argentina Holds Presidential Elections

Argentina holds a presidential election on October 25, with a close contest and possible runoff election expected to follow. Daniel Scioli from the ruling Front for Victory party of outgoing leader Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was drawing 38.6% support in recent polling, which is short of the 40% threshold necessary for an outright victory. Argentina’s floundering economy has dominated the political debate.

October 25: Haiti Stages Presidential and Municipal Elections

Haiti will host presidential and parliamentary elections on October 25. None of the 54 presidential candidates are expected to dominate the voting, meaning a runoff vote for leader is likely. A member of the country’s Provisional Electoral Council resigned this month, citing concerns over the inclusivity and impartiality of the electoral process. An August 9 vote for 139 legislative seats was also marred by violence and fraud.

October 26-29: Third Annual India in Africa Summit, New Delhi

India will hold what is billed as its “largest diplomatic outreach program with Africa,” October 26-29 in New Delhi. Leaders of all 54 African states will be invited to the third annual India in Africa Summit to discuss topics including economic development, international terrorism, and climate change. The event was originally intended to be held in December 2014, but was postponed due to the Ebola crisis.

Also of interest:

Russia, the US, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt are expected to take part in peace talks about Syria sometime in October.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is to be debated by US Congress and other national legislatures after a final agreement between 12 Pacific Rim nations was reached this week.