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: Ghazouani Begins Term as President in Mauritania

After eleven years as leader of the country, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz handed over power to Mohamed Ould Ghazouani in Mauritania today. Aziz came to power in a military coup in 2008, and later won elections in both 2009 and 2014. Ghazouani won the recent election in June after running on a platform of economic and security progress. The 2019 election was the first in Mauritania since its independence from France in 1960 that saw a successor chosen to a democratically elected president.

AUGUST 1–2: Syria Talks, Kazakhstan

The thirteenth round of talks on Syria are scheduled to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan on August 1 and 2, according to the Kazakhstani foreign ministry. In a statement, the ministry said that the talks would bring together representatives from Iran, Russia, and Turkey, plus delegations from the Syrian government and opposition.

AUGUST 2: Arms Control Treaty Between Russia and US to Expire

Barring a last minute change, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty will expire on August 2. The treaty between the United States and Russia was signed in 1987, and required both countries to destroy nuclear missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,000 kilometers. These missiles are especially dangerous because their short flight times require quick reactions. The INF treaty is regarded as a pillar of nuclear arms control and its lapse has defense experts concerned over the viability of other arms treaties.

AUGUST 2–6: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Session, Geneva

The 50th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will convene in Geneva from August 2 to 6. The panel is expected to approve the Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL), which up to now has been in draft form. The SRCCL is the second of three special reports the IPCC will produce in this cycle. The first—the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C—was released in October 2018.

AUGUST 2–9: Nomination Period for President, Tunisia

Following the death of President Beji Caid Essebsi last week at the age of 92, Tunisia will hold early elections for president, with the nomination period opening on August 2. Early announcements of nominees include the country’s prime minister, Youssef Chahed, who represents the Tahaya Tounes party. Other candidates that have announced their intention are former Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa and Moncef Marzouki, who served as interim president for three years after Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in 2011. 

AUGUST 5–29: Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Geneva

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the United Nations body responsible for monitoring racial discrimination in all forms, will meet in Geneva from August 5 to 29. This year’s session will consider state reports from the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Iceland, Mexico, Mongolia, Poland, and Palestine.

AUGUST 11: Presidential Election in Guatemala

Guatemala will hold the final round of its election for president on August 11. Sandra Torres of the center-left National Unity of Hope Party (UNE) and Alejandro Giammattei of the conservative Let’s Go (VAMOS) party are vying to replace President Jimmy Morales. Torres holds a lead over Giammattei and won the first round of the election with 1.1 million votes to Giammattei’s 600,000.

AUGUST 12: International Youth Day

First designated a holiday by the UN General Assembly in 1999, International Youth Day will be celebrated on August 12 this year. The theme for the holiday is education and the aim is to highlight the work being done to make education inclusive for all youth, including the efforts of youth themselves. The focus on education will include an examination of how these efforts are contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

AUGUST 17: Trial of Omar al-Bashir, Sudan

The corruption trial of former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir will begin on August 17. Al- Bashir failed to appear in court on July 31 and the presiding judge postponed the proceedings until mid-August. After al-Bashir was toppled on April 11, he did not appear in public again until June 16, when the prosecutor read out charges in his case, which are related to “possessing foreign currency, corruption and receiving gifts illegally.”

AUGUST 24–26: G7 Summit, France

The 2019 G7 Summit—which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—will be held in Biarritz, France from August 24 to 26. France will also preside over the summit, which will focus on fighting inequality. The format of this G7 Summit will be modified to include the major democracies with regional influence, African partners, and representatives of civil society.

AUGUST 26: Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Geneva

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the part of UN member states, will begin its twenty-second session on August 26. The committee will consider reports from Algeria, Bulgaria, Malta, North Macedonia, Philippines, Poland, and South Africa, and specific issues in Iraq, Austria, Azerbaijan, Germany, Mongolia, and Sweden.

AUGUST 26–28: UN Civil Society Conference, United States

The 68th UN Civil Society Conference will be held in Salt Lake City in the US from August 24 to 26. The three-day conference is co-hosted by the UN Department of Global Communications and the NGO Executive Committee. This year’s conference will focus on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 on building inclusive and sustainable cities and communities. The agenda also includes an exploration of the interlinkages between the SDGs and critical issues related to gender.