Key Global Events to Watch in September

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 September: Venezuelan Opposition Members Meet European Leaders

Members of Venezuela’s political opposition met with French President Emmanuel Macron on September 4 to lobby for support for resolving the country’s ongoing crisis. This meeting was part of a European tour also taking in talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has continued to target the opposition, including through the July creation of the new Constituent Assembly aimed at rewriting the national constitution.

September 5-6: UN General Assembly Meeting on New Urban Agenda, New York

The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Peter Thomson, is convening a high-level meeting in New York from September 5-6 to discuss implementation of the New Urban Agenda. The agenda was adopted by the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016, and aims to set “a new global standard for sustainable urban development.”

September 6: India’s Modi to Discuss Rohingya Crisis with Myanmar’s Suu Kyi, Naypyidaw

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to express concern over the Rohingya refugee crisis when he meets with Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw on September 6. The United Nations reports that some 120,000 members of the ethnic and Muslim religious minority have fled violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in recent weeks. India joins Malaysia and Indonesia in applying regional pressure on Myanmar to address the crisis.

September 11: Proposed Security Council Vote on North Korean Sanctions, New York

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has pushed for a Security Council vote on comprehensive new North Korean sanctions to be held on September 11. The push follows reports of North Korea undertaking its sixth and largest ever nuclear test at the start of September. The Security Council already introduced new sanctions on Pyongyang in early August, which failed to modulate its behavior.

September 11: Norway Holds Parliamentary Elections

Norwegians will vote for a new parliament on September 11, with polling indicating a close contest between the ruling Conservatives and opposition Labour Party. An August survey conducted by public broadcaster NRK found Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s minority coalition enjoying just enough support to ensure another victory. Some analysts believe the election could call into question Norway’s ongoing relationship with the European Union, with critical minor parties recently adopting more Brussels-skeptic positions.

September 12: Opening of 72nd UN General Assembly, New York

The 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly will begin on September 12. The annual general debate will be held on September 10, under the theme “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet.” There is likely to be considerable focus on the engagement of the United States with the General Assembly under President Donald Trump, whose Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has promised a “toe-print, not a footprint” at the event.

September 14-15: Next Round of Russian-led Syria Peace Talks, Astana

Kazakh officials have announced that the next round of Russian-led peace talks on the Syrian crisis will take place in Astana from September 14-15. The discussions are expected to focus on the creation of “de-escalation zones” in the provinces of Idlib, Homs, and Eastern Ghouta. The talks come as United Nations Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura claims that Syria will be free of Islamic State extremists by the end of October and predicts credible democratic elections will be possible in the country within a year.

September 21: UK’s May Expected to Make Major Brexit Speech, London

The European Union’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt has predicted that United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May will make “a major intervention” on the matter September 21. The next round of Brexit negotiations had been scheduled for September 18. They are likely to be postponed until after May has delivered her major speech outlining the new trajectory of the UK’s departure, which is currently scheduled to take effect on March 29, 2019.

September 23: New Zealand Parliamentary Elections

New Zealand will hold parliamentary elections on September 23. Recent polling shows a tightening in support for the ruling National Party under the challenge of the opposition Labor Party, whose 37-year-old leader, Jacinda Ardern, has reignited the party’s support. The election campaign has largely focused on domestic issues such as housing affordability.

September 24: Germany Holds Parliamentary Elections

Germans go to the polls on September 24 to elect a new parliament, with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats currently polling at a level sufficient to form a ruling coalition. The election will have significant global ramifications, with Germany’s leaderships considered crucial to the ongoing cohesion of the European Union and liberal democratic order. Key election issues are expected to include immigration, security, and growing social and economic inequality.

September 25: EU Meeting Expected to Discuss Action on Poland, Brussels

A European Union ministerial meeting scheduled for September 25 in Brussels is likely to discuss further action against member state Poland—including triggering the bloc’s Article 7, which would suspend voting rights—after the country has continued to refuse to address accusations of undermining the independence of its judiciary. European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans and EU leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel have increasingly criticized Poland’s Law and Justice Party in recent weeks.