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.

March 31-April 1: 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, Washington, DC

The United States will host the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit from March 31-April 1. The event will bring together representatives of more than 50 countries, as well as the United Nations, European Union, International Atomic Energy Agency, and INTERPOL. The summit has two key goals: advancing improvements in nuclear security behavior, and strengthening the global nuclear security architecture. However, Russia—holder of one of the world’s largest arsenals of nuclear weapons—has boycotted the event, casting doubt on any definitive outcomes resulting.

March 31-April 5: Inaugural Africa Development Week, Addis Ababa

The United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union host the inaugural Africa Development Week in Ethiopia from March 31-April 5. The week will incorporate the annual high-level ministerial conference of the ECA and AU. There will also be close to 30 side events on issues such as migration, industrialization, and regional integration, as well as discussions on last year’s Paris climate change agreement and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

April 4: Conference on Asylum and Migration in the EU, Berlin

Discussions on solutions to Europe’s ongoing refugee and migration crisis will take place in Germany on April 4, hosted by the Allianz Cultural Foundation and the European Parliament Information Office. The keynote speaker at the Conference on Asylum and Migration in the EU will be European Parliament President Martin Schulz. Foreign ministers from EU member states and officials from the bloc’s border control agency, Frontex, will also attend.

April 6: European Commission Debates Dublin Regulation Reform, Brussels

The European Commission is to hold a debate on April 6 on possible reforms of the Dublin Regulation, which allocates responsibility for asylum seekers to the European Union member state in which they first register. The applicability of the law has been severely tested by the current European refugee crisis, with countries on the periphery of the bloc—such as Greece—serving as the primary point of entry for tens of thousands of people fleeing Syria and other conflict zones.

April 6: The Netherlands Holds Referendum on EU-Ukraine Deal

Voters in the Netherlands will vote on April 6 on whether they support or reject the European Union’s 2014 economic integration pact with Ukraine. The referendum was triggered by an online campaign waged by a Euroskeptic group. It could prove a further test of regional support for the EU at the same time as the United Kingdom is gearing up for its vote on whether or not to leave the bloc. The Ukraine issue was reportedly chosen as a test case on Dutch support for the EU, but could also provide a gauge of support for the Eastern European nation in its ongoing struggles with Russia.

April 7-8: Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism, Geneva

Jointly organized by the United Nations and Government of Switzerland, the Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism will discuss Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s recently released action plan of action on the issue. Experts will share experiences and good practices, and discuss challenges and opportunities to prevent violent extremism at the global, regional, and national levels. A high-level meeting hosted by Ban will be held on the second day of the event.

April 9: Syrian Peace Talks Scheduled to Resume, Geneva

The United Nations envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has set April 9 as a target date for the resumption of peace talks on the conflict. De Mistura said he was encouraged that there had been “no walkouts, no drama” in the previous round of talks, held in March. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad this week indicated that he was open to the possibility of forming a new government that included opposition figures, though this suggestion was rejected by his opponents.

April 10: Chad Holds Presidential Election

Chad is scheduled to hold a presidential election on April 19, with President Idriss Deby Itno looking to secure a fifth term in office. The lead-in to the elections has seen large scale protests, following the alleged rape of teenage girl linked to associates of the president. The oil-dependent country has also suffered a significant economic shock as a result of falling commodity prices. Itno is nonetheless expected to hold onto power, amid allegations of vote rigging leveled by opposition leader Kebzabo Saleh.

April 10: Peruvians Vote in Presidential Election

Peruvians go to the polls on April 10 amid controversy over this month’s disqualification of two leading contenders, for alleged campaign irregularities. The Organization of American States has expressed concerns over the late decision by electoral authorities, which may preclude appeals. The disqualifications have eliminated the major competition for leading candidate Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of a jailed former president. It has also detracted from Peru’s recent record of achievement; it has been one of South America’s major economic success stories of the past decade, with its poverty rate dropping from about half the population to less than a quarter.

April 11-13: Referendum on the Status of Sudan’s Darfur Province

Citizens of Sudan’s Darfur are scheduled to vote in a referendum from April 11-13 on the future administrative status of the region. The two options are to return to one administrative unit or continue as five separate states. The holding of the referendum was one of the conditions of peace agreements to end the long-running ethnic-based conflict between local rebel groups and forces aligned with the Sudanese government. The African Union is among the bodies sending an official delegation to monitor the vote.

April 15-17: Spring Meetings of the World Bank and IMF, Washington, DC

Thousands of representatives of government, civil society, academia, the media, and the private sector are expected to attend the annual Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, DC. Topics of discussion will be the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness. The meetings include those of the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee and the joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee.

April 18: Peace Talks on Yemen Crisis, Kuwait City

The warring parties sustaining the crisis in Yemen have agreed to United Nations-brokered talks on April 18, according to the UN’s special envoy to the country, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. The talks will be preceded by a cessation of hostilities starting on April 10. A Saudi Arabia-led coalition began a military campaign in the country a year ago, targeting the Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The intense fighting in the country has since killed more than 6,000 people and injured more than 35,000.

April 19-21: UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem, New York

The United Nations General Assembly will convene a special session on the world drug problem from April 19-21, consisting of a general debate and interactive multi-stakeholder round tables. The event is seen as an important milestone in achieving the goals set out in a 2009 plan of action on countering the global drug problem by a target date of 2019. A number of side events will be held in association with the special session.

April 21: High Level UN Debate on Achieving the SDGs, New York

On April 21, the United Nations General Assembly will host a High Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event will aim to increase international awareness of the SDGs, which were adopted last year, and build momentum around their implementation. Participants will include leaders from politics, business, and civil society. The event will also focus on the linkages between the SDGs and last year’s international climate change agreement in Paris, which is scheduled to be signed by world leaders on April 22.

April 21: US President Obama Meets with Gulf Cooperation Council, Riyadh

United States President Barack Obama will travel to Saudi Arabia for a summit with the leaders of Gulf Cooperation Council nations. The meeting is expected to seek improved relations between the US and Gulf Arab leaders, which were damaged by last year’s nuclear deal between Iran, the US, and other world powers. They will also discuss efforts to defeat the Islamic State, and address regional conflicts and sectarian tensions. Obama will also travel to the United Kingdom and Germany in April.

April 22: World Leaders Invited to Sign Paris Climate Change Agreement, New York

World leaders will be able to sign last year’s landmark Paris climate change agreement from April 22 this year. An official signing ceremony has been planned for that day at United Nations headquarters in New York, coinciding with the international celebration of Earth Day. The final necessary step for the agreement to take effect is domestic ratification, which is required from at least 55 countries, representing at least 55% of global gas emissions. Importantly, China and the United States—which together account for about 40% of emissions—have both indicated they will sign the agreement this year, and take “respective domestic steps” to approve it.

April 24: Haiti Holds New Presidential Runoff Elections

Haiti is scheduled to host a runoff presidential vote on April 21, after the poll was twice postponed. Violent protests erupted after Jude Célestin, the runner-up in an initial presidential poll held in October last year, complained of a fraudulent voting process. A new Provisional Electoral Council has been sworn in to oversee the process and ensure the vote runs smoothly.