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.

SEPTEMBER 2-4: Parliamentary Elections, Rwanda

Rwandans will vote for new Members of Parliament in September. Eighty new members will be voted in, including 53 directly elected of which 24 are women representatives, 2 youth representatives, and one representative for persons with disability. While the Rwandan Constitution set a quota for women in elected positions in 2003, and women now hold the majority of seats in Parliament, many women leaders still find their competency questioned. In preparation for the upcoming election, UN Women supported a series of training sessions to boost women’s leadership skills and empower more women leaders. 

SEPTEMBER 2-5: Philippine President to Make Historic Israel Trip

President Rodrigo Duterte will be the first Philippine leader to visit Israel since the Philippines and Israel established ties in 1957, doing so from September 2-5. Duterte and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will discuss cooperation in labor, tourism, trade, agriculture, counterterrorism, security, and law enforcement, expecting to sign several agreements. Duterte will also meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who has been encouraged to decline the meeting in light of Duterte’s 2016 comments in which he compared himself to Hitler.

SEPTEMBER 6: Yemeni Government and Houthi Movement Peace Talks, Geneva

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has invited the Yemeni government and the Houthi movement that controls most of the north to peace talks in Geneva on September 6. Griffiths is trying to negotiate an end to the three-year conflict, which has killed more than 10,000 people and pushed Yemen to the verge of starvation. On August 28, UN investigators published a report that said the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has committed actions that may amount to war crimes. The report singled out Saudi and Emirati airstrikes for causing the most civilian casualties, saying they had hit residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings, jails, boats, and medical facilities.

SEPTEMBER 7: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Visit Iran

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit Iran on September 7, on a trip expected to include a three-way summit with Russian and Iranian leaders on Syria. The Kremlin previously that Russian President Vladimir Putin may take part in a meeting with Erdoğan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the beginning of September. The three leaders met in April in Ankara, where they discussed developments in Syria. The meeting comes at a time where the economies and currencies of Turkey and Iran continue to be battered.

SEPTEMBER 9: General Election, Sweden

Sweden’s next general election is scheduled for September 9. The parliamentary and presidential elections will take place in the wake of a mass arson attack on August 13, where 100 cars were burned, adding to the cause of 10 percent of the population who listed law and order as the most important issue in the vote. Current Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who has held the title since 2014, is running for re-election as a Social Democrat against Jimmie Aakesson, leader of the far-right party, the Sweden Democrats. A few major issues in advance of the upcoming election include differing views on the country’s immigration policy, integrating the up to 80,000 asylum-seekers expected this year, and preparation against potential Russian interference in the election.

SEPTEMBER 12-14: Global Climate Action Summit, San Francisco

Leaders from around the world will gather in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit from September 12-14. The summit will celebrate climate action achievements and encourage accelerated ambitious efforts towards preventing dangerous climate change, including the decarbonization of the global economy. States, cities, businesses who are leading the charge on pushing down global emissions by 2020 will set the stage to reach net zero emissions by midcentury.

SEPTEMBER 18: UN General Assembly Plenary Session Opens, New York

The United Nations General Assembly’s 73rd annual plenary session will convene on September 18 in New York, with the general debate opening on September 25. A key portion of the program will be Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ Action for Peacekeeping initiative. On September 24, ahead of the general debate, high-level officials will participate in a plenary meeting on global peace in honor of the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.

SEPTEMBER 21: Secondary Elections, eSwatini (Swaziland)

On September 21, Africa’s last remaining absolute monarchy, eSwatini, (formerly Swaziland), will vote in a secondary election. The country operates under the tinkhundla system of governance, a system where state power is devolved to tinkhundla areas, which are smaller than districts. Every person or resident has a right to vote at any election of members of the House or members of the Bucopho (chiefdom representatives), while King Mswati III appoints a prime minister. The primary elections took place on August 25, and the results will be published after the votes are counted.

SEPTEMBER 21: International Day of Peace, UN

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21. The day has been designated as a period of non-violence and cease-fire. All nations and people are invited to honor the day by observing a cessation of hostilities and to otherwise commemorate it through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

SEPTEMBER 22-29: Global Goals Week 2018, New York

Originally piloted in 2016, Global Goals Week is an effort to maximize the value of events and activities held during the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 73), with a particular focus on driving progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year’s Global Goals Week includes an array of evens in and around the UN and coincides with Climate Week in New York City. A list of the events can be found here.

SEPTEMBER 23: Iran Oil Minister to Attend OPEC Supply Meeting, Algeria

Iran will send its oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, to a September 23 meeting of the monitoring committee overseeing OPEC’s supply accord with Russia and other allies, in another bid to preserve the sanctions-hit country’s crude market share. The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) is scheduled to meet just six weeks before US sanctions that could shut in 1 million barrels per day or more of Iran’s crude sales are scheduled to take effect November 5.

SEPTEMBER 23: Presidential Election, Maldives

The election for president of the Maldives between President Abdulla Yameen, who faces widespread criticism over civil and political rights abuses, and Mohamed Nasheed, the sole candidate of the Maldivian Democratic Party who was convicted of terrorism charges in 2015, sentenced to 13 years in prison, and in political asylum in Britain, will take place on September 23. Since the police mutiny of Nasheed, who was the first democratically elected leader of the Maldives, the country has experienced political unrest. A recent report documented how the Yameen government has silenced dissent, intimidated, arbitrarily arrested, and imprisoned critics.

SEPTEMBER 30: Macedonia Referendum on Name Deal with Greece

The Parliament of Macedonia will vote on a referendum on NATO and EU membership bids and on its agreement with Greece on the country’s name on September 30. In June, NATO sent an invitation to Macedonia to begin accession talks with the alliance, following a landmark accord with Greece over the former Yugoslav republic’s name. For years, Greece refused to accept the country’s name, and blocked the country’s EU and NATO membership bids. After a period of political crisis, the government of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, elected in 2017, pushed for an agreement with Greece to solve the name dispute and the two sides have agreed on the name of Republic of North Macedonia.

SEPTEMBER 30: Iraqi Kurdistan General Election

The semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, which voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence last year in a referendum rejected by Baghdad, will hold an election on September 30. The vote should elect both a parliament and a president for Kurdish regions which gained self-rule in 1991, when a U.S-led coalition forced Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army to withdraw from them in the wake of his eight-month occupation of Kuwait.

TBD: North and South Korean Leaders to Meet in Pyongyang

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet at a summit in Pyongyang in September, following up on their previous two meetings. The two first met in April, pledging to forge closer relations and work to formally end the Korean War in an agreement called the Panmunjom Declaration. When he does go, Moon will be the third South Korean president to travel to the North Korean capital, and the first in more than a decade. South Korean President Kim Dae-jung met Kim Jong-un’s father and predecessor, Kim Jong-il, in Pyongyang in 2000 for the first inter-Korean summit. Former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun also met Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang in 2007.