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: Elections in Mexico 

Mexico held presidential and congressional elections on Sunday, July 1, with leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, also known as “Amlo,” winning the presidency in a landslide. The president elect said he would pursue friend and foe alike in a crackdown on corruption after he was handed a powerful mandate for government. He further identified corruption as the “principal cause” of inequality and the criminal violence that has bedeviled Mexico for years, and said he would spare no one in his commitment to root it out. Some observers say Amlo has appealed to “traditional” and religious values in an attempt to soften a radical image after accusations from opponents that he planned to turn Mexico into another Venezuela.

JULY 2: UN Envoy to Yemen Visits Country

The UN envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, arrived in Sana’a on July 2 for another round of talks aimed at finding a solution to fighting in the key militant-held port city of Hodeida. Griffiths is set to meet with Yemen’s Houthi militants, who control the capital along with the Red Sea city of Hodeida, home to the country’s most valuable port. Two weeks of UN-brokered talks have not yet found a solution to stop a government offensive on Hodeida, backed by the United Arab Emirates and its allies in a Saudi-led regional coalition supporting President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

JULY 2: AU Heads of State Summit, Mauritania

The Assembly of the African Union (AU), comprised of heads of state, began its 31st session today. The Assembly will receive several reports including the status of the implementation of the AU Institutional Reforms. Mamadou Issoufou of Niger will report on the status of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which has been signed by 44 countries. Reports on peace and security on the continent will also be presented to gauge the progress made in reducing armed conflicts on the continent in line with one of the key projects of Africa’s Agenda 2063.

JULY 2-27: Human Rights Committee’s 123rd Session, Geneva

The Human Rights Committee—the independent body of experts tasked with monitoring implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)—will be holding its 123rd session in Geneva in July. There are 171 state parties to the ICCPR, and the committee will consider the following states in this session: Algeria, Bahrain, Laos, Liberia, Lithuania, Eritrea, and Gambia. Also under review are a number of issues relevant to particular states, e.g., Vietnam, Angola, Germany, and Israel.

JULY 2-20: Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Geneva 

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)—the body of independent experts that monitors state parties’ (of which there are 189) implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women—will meet in Geneva from July 2-20. This year’s session will consider the following states: Australia, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, State of Palestine, and Turkmenistan.

JULY 6: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Visit North Korea, Pyongyang

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly plans to travel to North Korea on July 6 to discuss the country’s denuclearization plans, according to people familiar with his plans. US officials said Pompeo had canceled a meeting with his Indian counterpart in Washington on July 6 in order to fly to Pyongyang. His visit will mark the first to North Korea since US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held their June 12 summit in Singapore. US government officials have not confirmed the report or announced any travel plans.

JULY 6: UK Prime Minister Cabinet Meeting on Brexit, United Kingdom

Following the closing of the last formal gathering of EU leaders last week in Brussels, UK Prime Minister Theresa May is set to meet with her cabinet on July 6 to hash out details for Britain’s exit from the EU, with details to be published the following week. Tensions over Britain’s divorce from the EU ratcheted higher after May’s approach was described as “alarming” by one of her peers, and leaders said time was running out to avoid a catastrophic breakup. One EU premier left the EU summit in Brussels thinking the risk of talks collapsing without a deal was now almost 50-50. The recent Brussels summit is the last formal gathering of leaders before they return for a summit in October when they’re supposed to sign off the Brexit deal.

JULY 9-13: UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, New York

The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development will meet from July 9-13, with the ministerial meeting running from July 16-18 at UN headquarters in New York. The forum’s theme this year is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.” Attendees from civil society and member states will conduct a review of a number of the Sustainable Development Goals part of Agenda 2030, including goals on water and sanitation, sustainable consumption, and the preservation of ecosystems.

JULY 11-12: NATO Summit, Brussels

A meeting of the heads of state of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will be held in Brussels on July 11 and 12. Ahead of the summit, US President Donald Trump has called on Germany and other European nations to spend more on the military alliance. NATO members have agreed to spend 2 percent of economic output on defense every year by 2024, but Germany and Spain are among the countries not expected to meet the target. France plans to increase defense spending by more than a third between 2017 and 2025, with the aim of reaching the NATO goal.

JULY 16: Trump, Putin Summit, Finland

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in Helsinki on July 16 for a summit. The summit meeting is expected to deal with an broad array of issues, including Syria, the role of Russia-backed forces in Eastern Ukraine, and arms control. US officials have been playing down the idea that the summit will result in tangible “deliverables.” President Trump is, however, expected to seek Moscow’s help in scaling back Iran’s military presence in Syria. The Helsinki summit will come several days after the NATO summit in Brussels.

JULY 25: Parliamentary Elections in Pakistan

Pakistan is set to hold elections for members of parliament on July 25. A major newspaper in the country recently discovered that Pakistan’s powerful military is stifling the media ahead of the election, part of a larger power grab that seeks to ensure a pliant government emerges from the polls, say human-rights groups, politicians, and media personnel. Such tensions come at a time of growing economic instability in the nuclear-armed nation of 208 million people. Islamabad’s rapidly depleting currency reserves and a widening current account deficit have prompted many analysts to predict the next government will need to seek the country’s second International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout since 2013.

JULY 29: Presidential Election in Mali

After repeated postponements since 2013, Mali’s presidential election is set to be held on July 29. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta confirmed that he is running for reelection, though he faces growing political opposition in the capital Bamako, especially among a disaffected youth, and a raging Islamist insurgency and tit-for-tat ethnic killing in the north. A dozen other candidates have announced their candidacy, the strongest of which is seen as opposition leader Soumaila Cisse, a former finance minister.

JULY 30: Elections in Zimbabwe 

Zimbabwe will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on July 30, a vote that President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised will be free and fair with international monitoring after the ouster of 94-year-old strongman Robert Mugabe. Mnangagwa, who took power after the November 2017 military coup against Mugabe, counts on the election to bolster his legitimacy as he pursues a promised break with Mugabe’s repressive policies while urging foreign investors to return to Zimbabwe. Also missing from the July ballot for the first time in 20 years will be one of Zimbabwe’s foremost political gladiators, Morgan Tsvangirai, the longtime opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader who died of cancer in February.

TBD: UNRWA Running out of Money

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees that helps 5.4 million refugees, could start running out of money in July because of a $250 million shortfall, largely because of American aid cuts. The commissioner general of UNRWA, Pierre Krähenbühl, said the financial crisis was the worst the agency had faced since its creation in 1949, after the founding of the state of Israel.