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 2-13: UNCCD COP 14, New Delhi

The Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 14) will hold its fourteenth meeting to promote awareness and reversal of land degradation from September 2 to 13 in Delhi, India. Over 3,000 participants worldwide are expected to attend the convention. Participants are expected to agree on around 30 decisions and practical actions that will improve the lives of people affected by desertification and land degradation and improve the affected ecosystems. Read last year’s decisions here.

SEPTEMBER 15: Presidential Election, Tunisia

Tunisia will hold its fourth round of elections since the ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s government during the 2011 revolution. Beji Caid Essebsi, who was regarded as the country’s first freely elected president, died while still in office on July 25, 2019. Following President Essebsi’s death, Mohamed Ennaceur was sworn in as interim president, and Tunisia’s presidential elections were rescheduled from November 17 to September 15 to ensure that a new president will take office within 90 days. Despite high rates of youth unemployment and popular dissatisfaction with the Tunisian economic and political systems, the coming elections are expected to have the highest turnout of any ever held in Tunisia.

SEPTEMBER 17: Opening of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, New York

The UN General Assembly’s 74th annual plenary session will convene on September 17th at UN headquarters in New York, and the general debate will open on September 24th. Secretary-General António Guterres has made an effort to center this year’s discussion on climate change. It is also likely to focus on tensions between the United States and Iran, the humanitarian situation in Venezuela, the war in Yemen, and the United States’ peace plan for the Middle East. The 74th session will be presided over by Mr. Tijjani Muhammad Bande, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations.

SEPTEMBER 17: Parliamentary Elections, Israel

Israelis will head to the polls for their second national election in six months after a vote to dissolve the country’s parliament, the Knesset, in May. After securing 60 of the 61 seats needed to form a governing coalition in April’s elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party will make a second attempt in this upcoming poll. Netanyahu continues to face criminal charges of corruption, as well as growing opposition to his leadership from within his party. As in April, the main opposition is the centrist Blue and White coalition of Benny Gantz. The election’s results will have implications throughout the region, especially as tensions escalate between Israel and Iran.

SEPTEMBER 21: UN International Day of Peace

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-fires. All nations and people are invited to honor the day by observing a cessation of hostilities or to commemorate it through education and public awareness on issues related to peace. The 2019 theme is “Climate Action for Peace.” A student observance on September 20 at UN headquarters in New York will provide a platform for young people to showcase projects they have undertaken to fight climate change and promote peace.

SEPTEMBER 23: UN Climate Action Summit, New York

This year’s Climate Action Summit is a call to action for leaders around the world to showcase new developments and political ambition in support of the Paris agreement on climate change. It will be hosted by Secretary-General Guterres in New York, with the aim of instilling a sense of urgency around environmental action, and specifically the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Guterres has called upon world leaders to share concrete plans on how to stop the increase of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and how to reach net-zero by mid-century. The summit’s main action areas include mitigating emissions and addressing the social and political drivers of climate change. Regional climate weeks will take place ahead of the Summit in Salvador, Brazil, Bangkok, Thailand, and Accra, Ghana, to discuss nature-based solutions to each region’s specific vulnerabilities and the challenges of climate change.

SEPTEMBER 23-24: World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Impact Summit, New York

During the General Assembly, the World Economic Forum will be hosting its Sustainable Development Impact summit to connect the public and private sectors around the sustainable development agenda. Central to this year’s meeting is the topic of accelerating climate action through public-private cooperation, systems thinking, and Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. Leaders in business, government, civil society, NGOs, and academia will collaborate to address humanity’s harmful impact on the environment, economic inequality, and geopolitical tensions. 

SEPTEMBER 24-25: SDG Summit, New York

On September 24 and 25, heads of state will gather at UN headquarters in New York to follow up on and comprehensively review progress toward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 SDGs. The event is the first UN summit on the SDGs since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in September 2015. In attendance will be political and thought leaders from governments, the private sector, civil society, and international organizations who will seek to transform the next ten years into a “decisive decade of action and delivery.”

SEPTEMBER 26: UN International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

The General Assembly commemorates September 26 as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons to reaffirm and prioritize its commitment to nuclear disarmament. The purpose is to enhance public awareness and education about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity of their total elimination, as well as to mobilize new international efforts toward achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world.

SEPTEMBER 28: Presidential Election, Afghanistan

Seventeen candidates are running in Afghanistan’s upcoming presidential election, despite doubts as to whether an inclusive vote is possible at this time. The election has been delayed twice to create space for a peace deal between the US and the Taliban—negotiations that do not yet include the Afghan government. The Taliban, which wants to postpone the election until after intra-Afghan negotiations can take place, has threatened violence against Afghans who attend election rallies. This comes after the highest monthly death toll so far this year, with 1,500 civilians killed or wounded in July alone. After the Taliban attacked the office of President Ashraf Ghani’s running mate, Amrullah Saleh, on the opening day of campaigning, President Ghani assured constituents that security forces would not allow threats to disrupt polling. However, many Afghans say they do not intend to vote in light of security risks and concern about fraud.

SEPTEMBER 29: Parliamentary Elections, Austria

Austria’s coalition government collapsed in May when the vice chancellor resigned over a leaked video. This prompted Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to end his conservative Austrian People’s Party’s 18-month coalition with the vice chancellor’s nationalist Freedom Party and call for snap elections. Later in May, Kurz was ousted from power in a no-confidence vote, the first Austrian leader in over seven decades to be removed by his peers in parliament. In the interim, Austria has had a caretaker government appointed by President Alexander van der Bellen.