Key Global Events to Watch in July

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 July: Talks Continue on Turkish Membership of EU, Brussels

Talks on Turkey’s possible accession to the European Union continue following their resumption on June 30. Turkey’s membership bid suffered a setback with the vote of the United Kingdom—considered its largest EU backer—to withdraw from the bloc, and Istanbul’s own failure to meet the terms of joining Europe’s passport-free Shengen area as of this month. Nonetheless, Turkey retains negotiating leverage as a key player in managing the EU’s migration and refugee crisis.

Early July: Political Dialogue on DRC Set to Begin, Kinshasa

At the start of July, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila backed an immediate start for African Union-led political dialogue on ending the country’s electoral crisis. The DRC has seen rising political tensions and widespread clashes over accusations that Kabila is attempting to delay the country’s presidential election scheduled for December this year and change the constitution, thereby allowing him to maintain his grip on power.

July 1: EU Renews Economic Sanctions on Russia, Brussels

On July 1, the European Council renewed economic sanctions on Russia until the end of January 2017 in response to Moscow’s continued support for separatist rebels in the east of Ukraine. EU leaders have called for further progress in stabilizing Ukraine under the terms of the Minsk peace agreement of 2014. The EU and United States imposed sanctions on Russia’s financial, energy, and defense sectors in July 2014.

July 2: Australia Holds General Election

Australians go to the polls on July 2 to elect a new government, with both houses of Parliament facing a vote under a rare “double dissolution” election. Late polling showed almost equal support for the Liberal-National coalition of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Labor opposition led by Bill Shorten, with the possibility of a protracted effort to form government for either side. Domestic economic issues have dominated the campaign.

July 8: EU-US Leaders Summit, Warsaw

United States President Barack Obama will meet with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on July 8, on the sidelines of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit being held in Warsaw. The leaders are expected to underline transatlantic unity amid mounting political, economic, and security challenges.

July 8-9: NATO Summit, Warsaw

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization will hold a major summit in Poland on July 8-9, with United States President Barack Obama expected to attend, alongside other heads of state and government of NATO members. The summit was due to focus on pressing issues such as the global migration and refugee crisis, as well as Russia’s continued assertiveness in Eastern Europe. The implications for NATO of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union will also now be heavily discussed.

July 11-20: UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, New York

The United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, to be held July 11-20 in New York, will be the first such event since last year’s adoption of the UN’s 2030 sustainable development agenda and accompanying goals. The forum is designed to kick-start political leadership among member states toward achieving the agenda through coherent, evidence-based policies; create mechanisms for keeping track of progress; and respond to emerging issues.

July 12: Ruling on Philippines’ South China Sea Case, The Hague

The Permanent Court of the Arbitration in The Hague is due to rule on July 12 on a case brought by the Philippines, which will test whether China’s claims of sovereignty over the majority of the South China Sea are legal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Philippines brought the case after China occupied the Scarborough Shoal atoll in 2013 and is one of many Southeast Asian Nations opposed to Beijing’s growing territorial and maritime assertiveness in the region. China has already indicated it will reject the court’s ruling.

July 12-13: High-Level UN Thematic Debate on Human Rights, New York

United Nations General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft has organized a High-Level Thematic Debate on Human Rights for July 12-13 in New York. The debate coincides with the 50th anniversary of the International Human Rights Covenants, the 30th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development and amid the process of selecting a new UN secretary-general. It has been promoted as an opportunity to take an overarching view of global human rights and explore ways that they can also contribute to progress on development and peace and security.

July 17-22: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Nairobi

The 14th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, to be held in Kenya from July 17-22, is expected to bring together heads of state and government, prominent ministers, private sector representatives, civil society, and academics to tackle issues of global trade and economic development. The quadrennial conference will this year focus on how to deliver the 2030 sustainable development agenda.

July 20: Possible Signing of Final Colombian Peace Accord, Bogota

Colombia’s government and FARC rebels could sign a final peace deal as early as the country’s independence day on July 20, following agreement on a permanent ceasefire on June 23. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos nominated the July date as a possibility for finalizing outstanding items with the rebels to thereby end more than 50 years of war, which has killed over 200,000 people and displaced many millions more.

July 21: UN Security Council Begins Assessing Secretary-General Candidates, New York

The United Nations Security Council is due to begin assessing the viability of candidates to replace Ban Ki-Moon as UN secretary-general. A straw poll is reportedly scheduled for July 21 to consider those nominated by that point, with a follow-up poll possible before the end of the month. Eleven candidates have expressed their interest in replacing Ban, who is stepping down after two five-year terms. The new secretary-general will take office on January 1, 2017.

July TBD: Syrian Peace Talks Resume, Geneva

United Nations Syrian Envoy Staffan de Mistura has said talks on the Syrian peace process will resume in July but has failed to give a fixed date, despite the earlier suggestion of July 12 as likely. De Mistura has nonetheless set August this year as a target for achieving the significant milestone of starting a political transition within the war-ravaged country. The long-term role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad within such a transition has continued to divide participants in the talks.