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.

July 1: New WHO Director-General Takes Office, Geneva

On July 1, former Ethiopian Health and Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus replaced Margaret Chan as director-general of the World Health Organization, with responsibility for overseeing global public health policy. Dr. Tedros was elected from multiple candidates at the May 23, 2017, meeting of WHO’s governing body, the World Health Assembly. His most pressing challenge will be to modernize global epidemic response.

July 1-7: Talks on Reunification of Cyprus Continue, Crans-Montana

Leaders of the Greek and Turkish communities of Cyprus are meeting in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana in an attempt to reunify the island after more than four decades of division. Senior United Nations and European Union officials will be in attendance. In late June, UN mediator Espen Barth Eide said a comprehensive agreement on the future of the island would be difficult to achieve, but was “not beyond reach.”

July 2: Launch of New “G5” Security Force, Bamako

The leaders of Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad met with French President Emmanuel Macron in the Malian capital of Bamako on July 2 to formally launch the new “G5” force, which aims to counter Islamic extremism in Africa’s Sahel region. The force will work alongside existing French and United Nations operations, including the embattled UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA.

July 3: Iran Signs Largest Post-Sanctions Economic Deal, Tehran

The Iranian government signed a formal contract with French energy giant Total on July 3 to develop Iran’s share of the world’s largest natural gas field. The 20-year arrangement is the largest investment in the country since last year’s lifting of international economic sanctions tied to its nuclear energy program. The signing comes as United States President Donald Trump continues to question the logic of American support to that arrangement.

July 3-4: China’s Xi and Russia’s Putin Meet, Moscow

Chinese President Xi Jinping is meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow from July 3-4 to discuss a range of geopolitical issues of regional and global importance. Items on the agenda include managing the North Korean nuclear weapons threat, the future of joint military exercises, and opportunities under the two countries economic plans, including Beijing’s estimated $1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative.

July 3-4: African Union Summit, Addis Ababa

Leaders of African Union member states are gathering in Ethiopia for the continental bloc’s 29th Summit, which runs until July 4. The event is being organized under the theme “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth” and will also discuss a report on institutional reform of the AU (including a new financing model), as well as proposals for reforming the United Nations Security Council to increase African representation.

July 4: Deadline for Qatar to Meet Demands of Saudi-led Coalition, Doha

The government of Qatar faces an extended deadline of July 4 to meet the demands of a Saudi Arabian-led coalition for restoring diplomatic ties and lifting an effective blockade of the country through closed borders and transport routes. Saudi demands include shutting down the Al Jazeera media network and reducing Qatari ties to Iran and Turkey. Riyadh and a number of its allies imposed a blockade on Qatar in June, in response to alleged support of terrorist organizations.

July 4: Hearing on Fate of Venezuelan Attorney General, Caracas

Venezuela’s Supreme Court will host a hearing on July 4 to determine whether the country’s attorney general, Luisa Ortega, should be put on trial for professional malpractice. The court earlier nullified Ortega’s appointment, froze her assets, and barred her from leaving the country. It is the latest development in what critics of the Nicolás Maduro government see as a campaign of subverting the rule of law and removing political opponents.

July 5: Poland Hosts US President Donald Trump, Warsaw

United States President Donald Trump will travel to Poland on July 5 before attending the G20 Summit in Hamburg. Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski has called for a commitment from Trump to European security, including in the event of threats from Russia. European leaders have questioned American policies toward the NATO alliance in response to Trump’s varying statements since taking power.

July 6: EU Council Meeting to Discuss New Migration Measures, Tallinn

The Ministers of Interior of France, Germany, and Italy, along with the European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs, have called on European Union leaders to discuss new measures for managing the migration and refugee crisis at the next informal European Council meeting, on July 6. This follows a joint declaration of support for Italy, which is facing a record number of arrivals across the Mediterranean, at a July 2 meeting in Paris.

July 7-8: Germany Hosts G20 Summit, Hamburg

Germany will host leaders of 20 major developed economies at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, July 7-8. In a nod to rising nationalist sentiment across the world during the past few years, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the event will focus on sustainable and inclusive growth rather than the individual prosperity of nations. This includes looking at issues of income inequality and climate change.

July 9: Mongolian Runoff Presidential Election

Mongolia will hold its first ever presidential runoff election on July 9, after no candidate achieved the necessary majority in the first round of voting on June 26. Democratic party candidate Khaltmaa Battulga will face the Mongolian People’s Party’s Miyegombo Enkhbold, having received 38% and 30.3% of the initial vote respectively. Mongolia is currently facing an economic crisis tied to the global drop in commodity prices of the past few years.

July 10: Syrian Peace Talks Held, Astana and Geneva

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has announced that the next round of peace talks moderated by his country will take place in the Kazakh capital of Astana on July 10, which coincides with the United Nations-sponsored talks in Geneva. Despite the seeming rivalry of the two processes, Lavrov said that the United Nations special envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, would take part in the Astana talks.

July 10-19: UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, New York

The United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development will be held in New York from July 10-19. The theme of this year’s event will be “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world.” Forum attendees will assess a number of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals—adopted in 2015—in great depth, including looking at member states’ national voluntary reviews of their progress on the goals to date.

July 24: UK, US to Hold Post-Brexit Trade Talks

The United Kingdom and United States will reportedly begin talks on a post-Brexit trade agreement on July 24, despite an official moratorium on any bilateral arrangements being signed while the UK remains a member of the European Union. UK Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the talks would lay the groundwork for new UK-US trade agreements, which could be critical to British economic success once it leaves the European common market.