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 1-3: United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), Eighth session, New York

The UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management—the intergovernmental body that aims to address global challenges regarding the use of geospatial information—will meet from meet in New York from August 1-3. This year’s session will be led by member states, and aims to promote international cooperation and address challenges regarding the application of geospatial information, including in development agendas and global policymaking.

AUGUST 4: Results of presidential election in Zimbabwe (expected) 

Zimbabwe’s electoral commission has until Saturday to release the results of the July 30 presidential vote. Three people were killed in post-election violence between security forces and protestors, action that sparked UN intervention on August 2. Farhan Haq, UN deputy spokesperson, said, “We call on the political leaders and the population as a whole to exercise restraint and reject any form of violence while awaiting resolution of the disputes and announcement of the election results.” According to the New York Times, the elections, which intended to project stability and attract investors, will be the first since the fall of Robert Mugabe.

AUGUST 6: Civil Society 20 Summit, Argentina

The C20—one of the seven Engagement Groups of the G20, which is a forum of the world’s major economies that seeks to develop global polities to address today’s pressing challenges—will meet on August 6 to generate spaces to discuss and build, through transparent and inclusive processes, high-level policy papers to be presented to the G20. Working Groups for the C20 Argentina 2018 include Anti-Corruption; Architecture of the International Financial System; Education, Employment, and Inclusion; Environment, Climate, and Energy; Gender; Investment and Infrastructure; Local2Global; and Global Health.

AUGUST 6-10: Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, Twenty-first session, Geneva

The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee—a body of 18 independent experts serving as a think-tank to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) that provides studies and research-based advice, as requested by the Council–will meet from August 6-10, one of its two annual meetings.

AUGUST 6-17: Group of Governmental Experts on further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space, First session, Geneva

The first session of a new group of governmental experts on further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space will meet in Geneva from August 6-17. This group of experts, established in December 2017, and operating on consensus, will hold two two-week sessions in Geneva, one in 2018 and one in 2019.

AUGUST 6-30: Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Ninety-sixth session, Geneva 

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination—a UN body composed of eighteen elected State Party experts with the aim to eliminate racial discrimination in all forms, promote understanding between races, and to build an international community free from racial segregation and racial discrimination—will meet in Geneva from August 6-30. This year’s session will consider state reports from Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Nepal, Peru, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden, along with issues from Botswana.

AUGUST 7-16: Meeting of Experts to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, Geneva    

From August 7-16, a group of governmental experts—established in 1991 to strengthen the 1975 Biological Weapons Convention, the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the development, production, and stockpiling of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction—will meet in Geneva. This year’s meeting will focus on cooperation and assistance; review of scientific and technological developments; strengthening national implementation, assistance, response, and preparedness; and institutional strengthening of the convention. 

AUGUST 11: Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan to take oath of office, Pakistan

Imran Khan, who launched the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party in 1996, will take the oath of office on August 11. A socialite and former cricket star, Kahn appealed to young people in a country where 60 percent of the population is under 30 years old. In the midst of electoral violence, Khan won a sweeping victory at the national level. However, Pakistan’s political history is characterized by military dictatorship, and no democratically elected prime minister has completed their full term. The election follows in the wake of President Asif Ali Zardari, whose work to uphold the Eighth Amendment signified a shift away from the military political establishment towards the prominence of a civilian political party figure.

AUGUST 12: Presidential Election in Mali

Following the initial July 29 poll, Mali’s August 12 vote will help to determine the country’s future security, peace, and democracy. Mali has been in the midst a political crisis since 2012, when President Amadou Toumani was overthrown. The intervention of a UN Peacekeeping mission that intended to stabilize the country then became the target of violent attacks (see our Cruz Report Series). In the midst of Mali’s violent political climate, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s leadership has been put into question, and attacks on polling stations as well as on the UN peacekeeping mission camp in Aguelhok raise the stakes for the second round of Mali’s presidential election.

AUGUST 13-17: Human Rights Council, Working Group on Communications, Twenty-third session, Geneva      

The Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Communications (WGC) will meet for its twenty-third session in Geneva from August 13-17. The WGC consists of five independent experts and is geographically representative of the five regional groups. The group will meet to assess the admissibility and the merits of communication of the allegations of violations, including whether a communication, alone or in combination with other, appears to reveal a consistent pattern of gross and reliably attested violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

AUGUST 13-18: Youth 20 Summit, Argentina

The Y20—a young leaders’ international diplomatic forum in the high-level G20 head of state summit—will take place in the Siglo 21 University Campus in Córdoba, Argentina, from August 13-18. This will be the first time that a Y20 Summit is held in South America. The 2018 Summit will gather over 80 young leaders to participate in debates that focus on creating an inclusive, disruptive, and impactful experience that leaves a legacy, bringing their knowledge and experience to create a space of representation, and upholding the responsibility to promote the vision of young people around the world.

AUGUST 18: Bankruptcy law to take effect, Saudi Arabia

A law aimed to organize the procedures of bankruptcy that is intended to improve Saudi Arabia’s economy, facilitate business, ane empower debtors will go into effect on August 18. The Kingdom, which ranks 168 out of 190 countries, is seeking to improve its standing in international reports on insolvency.

AUGUST 29: General Assembly, High-level plenary meeting of the Assembly to commemorate and promote the International Day against Nuclear Tests (to be confirmed)

On Wednesday, August 29, the General Assembly will hold a high-level plenary meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day against Nuclear Tests. In a 2009 resolution, the 64th session of the UN General Assembly declared August 29 the International Day against Nuclear Tests. The resolution calls for increasing awareness and education “about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.” It was initiated by the Republic of Kazakhstan, with a large number of sponsors and cosponsors to commemorate the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site on August 29, 1991. The Day is meant as a call to action for the UN Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, youth networks and the media to inform, educate and advocate the necessity of banning nuclear weapon tests as a valuable step towards achieving a safer world.

AUGUST 30: United States’ third wave of tariffs on Chinese goods goes into effect (expected)

The United States is working on enacting a third wave of tariffs over Chinese goods worth $200 billion, according to CNN. These new tariffs, announced on July 31, would go into effect sometime after August 30. The tariff is the Trump administration’s response to Beijing’s July 6 tariff raise and follows the US’ second wave of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $16 billion. The tariff wave reflects the two countries’ strategies of immediate retaliation, which has the potential to strain future negotiations. US President Trump declared that if China retaliated again, he would be willing to enact a fourth round of tariffs.

Also in August: Bachelet Nominated to Be UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s Term Ends

Michelle Bachelet of Chile was nominated by the UN Secretary-General to be the next UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The nomination must be approved by the UN General Assembly. The current commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, announced in December that he would not seek a second term. Zeid gave his last global update to the Human Rights Council on June 18, 2018, which consisted of his reflections on universal human rights. In his June 18 passionate address, he implored the UN to choose the protection of peace, rights, justice and social progress over chauvinistic nationalism, saying, “Only when States all work for each other, for everyone, for all people, for the human rights of all people—can peace be attainable.” In the past few months, Zeid gained wide press coverage for his comments against the US policy of separating migrant children from their families, and for his June 15 opinion piece in The Washington Post in defense of human rights. The date of his departure from the role has not yet been announced.