Key Global Events to Watch in August

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

August 1: Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Meeting on Palestine, Istanbul

Turkey is hosting an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) concerning Israel-Palestine on August 1. The meeting of the OIC’s foreign ministers follows weeks of tensions triggered by a shooting at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque and the subsequent Israeli response. Speaking ahead of the meeting, attendees such as Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke of maintaining a united Islamic front in support of Palestine.

August 1: Italian Government to Present Plans on Refugees and Migrants, Rome

Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni is reportedly set to introduce plans to parliament on August 1 to curb the flow of migrants and refugees arriving in the country across the Mediterranean. The plan involves conducting joint patrols with Libyan authorities to intercept asylum seeker ships and return them to Libyan shores. Rome has grown frustrated with the efforts of other European Union member states to redistribute arrivals to its shores.

August 2: Brazil’s Lower House Votes on Corruption Charges Against President, Brasilia

The lower house of Brazil’s parliament will vote on August 2 on whether to pursue corruption charges against President Michael Temer. A successful motion appears unlikely, with Temer’s governing coalition controlling more than enough votes to block it. Temer’s popularity nonetheless remains at just 5% in light of bribery allegations that surfaced in May this year.

August 4: Rwandan Presidential Election

Rwandans go to the polls on August 4 to elect a president, with incumbent Paul Kagame widely expected to extend his 17 years in power. Kagame is able to run for a third term after constitutional changes enacted in 2015, following a referendum that outside observes treated with suspicion. Human rights advocates have also accused the president of stifling dissent through attacks on opposition politicians, journalists, and civil society representatives.

August 5: Mauritanian Constitutional Reform Referendum

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has organized a referendum on changes to the national constitution, including abolishing the senate and changing the flag. The vote has faced stiff opposition from protesters who see it as an attempt to consolidate Aziz’s hold on power, possibly through the pursuit of a currently unconstitutional third term.

August 6: ASEAN and China to Sign South China Sea Code of Conduct, Manila

The Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs announced in late July that China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations had agreed to formally endorse a code of conduct for the South China Sea at a regional meeting in Manila, on August 6. The code of conduct has been discussed for more than a decade, but has so far failed to progress, despite the escalation of maritime tensions in recent years.

August 7: ASEAN Regional Forum, Manila

Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and partner countries including the United States and China will attend the ASEAN Regional Forum security dialogue in Manila on August 7. Also expected to attend is North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, at a time when Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program is generating international concern. The South China Sea dispute will also be discussed.

August 8: Kenyan General Election

Kenya will host elections for a new president, parliamentarians, and local representatives on August 8. The presidential poll looks likely to be closely contested between incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta—seeking a second and final term—and challenger Raila Odinga. Fears of widespread electoral violence were stoked by the apparent murder of an election official at the end of July.

August 8: Latin American Meeting on Venezuela, Lima

Peru’s government has called a meeting of Latin American foreign ministers for August 8, to discuss Venezuela’s vote to approve a new National Constituent Assembly, which is seeking to rewrite the constitution and possibly supplant the opposition-led National Assembly. The United States, European Union, and several Latin American countries have already declared they will not recognize the new body.

August 23: Angolan Parliamentary and Presidential Elections

Angolans will elect a new parliament on August 23, with the leader of the party that wins the most votes automatically elected as president. The polls will be marked by the absence of long-time President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has held power since 1979. Dos Santos announced his retirement in late 2016 and designated Joao Lourenco as his replacement as leader of the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, which is widely expected to retain power.

August 29: UN Open Debate on Peacekeeping and Sustaining Peace, New York

The United Nations Security Council, under the presidency of Egypt, will hold an open debate on peacekeeping operations and the world body’s “sustaining peace” agenda on August 29. Sustaining peace emerged from the Advisory Group of Experts report for the 2015 review of the UN’s peacebuilding architecture and was adopted in dual resolutions by the Council and General Assembly in 2016.

Late August: Syrian Peace Talks to Resume in Kazakhstan, Astana

Iran, Russia, and Turkey have reportedly agreed to a resumption of Syrian peace talks in late August in the Kazakh capital of Astana. According to a joint statement, the parties will also meet in Iran on August 1-2 to continue delineating deescalation zones for the conflict. The Astana talks have been running in parallel with a United Nations-led process in Geneva.

Late August: Deadline for Poland to Respond to EU Action, Brussels

The European Commission launched an “infringement procedure” against member state Poland on July 29 and gave it one month to respond or risk losing voting rights. The action responded to actions seen as undermining the independence of the national judiciary. European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans earlier said Polish President Andrzej Duda’s veto of controversial reforms had not ended the risk to the independence of Polish judges.

August TBD: Possible Talks on Qatar Crisis

The foreign ministers of the Saudi-led coalition leading an embargo against Qatar said in late July that they would be open to talks with Doha in the near future. The ministers said they would not back down from their demands on Qatar, however, which include shutting down the Al Jazeera television network and severing ties with Iran. Qatar also filed a World Trade Organization complaint against the coalition countries in late July.