Key Global Events to Watch in October

At the start of every month, the Global Observatory posts a list of key upcoming meetings and events that have implications for global affairs.

OCTOBER 1: 70th Anniversary of the Formation of the People’s Republic of China

Today in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping presided over a military parade and celebration marking the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. National Day is an opportunity for the Communist party to highlight its accomplishments, and this year President Xi proclaimed that “Nothing can shake the Chinese nation!” Celebrations were met with large protests in Hong Kong, as tens of thousands of citizens staged counter-rallies against Communist control.

OCTOBER 1: General Assembly Main Committee Meetings, New York

Beginning on October 1 and continuing at various points throughout October and November, the six main committees of the United Nations General Assembly will hold their 74th sessions. The committees deal with topics ranging from disarmament and international security (First Committee); economic growth and development (Second Committee); social issues, humanitarian affairs, and human rights (Third Committee); special political and decolonization issues (Fourth Committee); budgetary and administrative questions (Fifth Committee); and legal questions for the General Assembly (Sixth Committee).

OCTOBER 4: Working-Level US-North Korea Nuclear Negotiations

Nuclear negotiations between the United States and North Korea will continue after “preliminary contact” between officials on October 4. The working-level meeting to follow is expected to “accelerate the positive development of the DPRK-US relations,” according to Choe Son-Hui, the first vice foreign minister of North Korea. Talks have stalled between the two countries since the last meeting of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in February. Experts believe that the dismissal of US National Security Advisor John Bolton—who North Korea denounced as a “warmonger”—opened the door for dialogue to resume.

OCTOBER 11: Nobel Peace Prize Winner Announced, Norway

The Nobel Peace Prize winner for 2019 will be announced in Oslo, Norway on October 11. There are 301 candidates for the prize this year—223 individuals and 78 organizations. Last year’s winners were Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege for their efforts to “end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.”

OCTOBER 13: Presidential Election (Second Round), Tunisia

The president of Tunisia’s independent election authority announced last week that the second round of elections for president will take place on October 13. The top candidates, Kais Saeid and Nabil Karoui, won 18.4 percent and 15.6 percent of the first round vote, respectively. Neither candidate has ever held office, but together they defeated two former prime ministers and a member of the strongest party in parliament.

OCTOBER 14–20: Annual Meeting of IMF and World Bank, Washington

The annual meeting of the boards of governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (WBG) will be held in Washington, DC between October 14 and 20. Kristalina Georgieva was chosen to lead the IMF last week, and in a statement said the organization’s long-term objectives are “dealing with issues like inequalities, climate risks and rapid technological change.”

OCTOBER 15: General Elections, Mozambique

Mozambique will hold general elections on October 15. The four candidates running are: the current president and leader of the Frelimo party, Filipe Nyusi; the leader of the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), Ossufo Momade; the leader of the Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM), Daviz Simango; and the candidate of the Extraparliamentary Action Party of the United Movement for Integral Salvation (AMUSI), Mario Albino. On August 6, Nyusi and Momade signed a peace agreement between Frelimo and Renamo which ended a recent flare-up of violence, though there are concerns that the election’s results could spark violence again.

OCTOBER 20: General Elections, Bolivia

Despite constitutional term limits and a national referendum that voted against him doing so, President Evo Morales of Bolivia is running for a fourth term as president in the October 20 general election. Morales is facing stiff competition from his main rival, Carlos Mesa. A recent poll found that just over 31 percent of voters planned to vote for Morales—well below the 40 percent needed to win the election outright. Morales continues to enjoy high levels of support in rural areas, but his popularity has declined in cities due to accusations of government abuse.

OCTOBER 21: House of Commons Elections, Canada 

Canada’s House of Commons elections will be held on October 21. The 40-day campaign period began on September 11, and so far, the Liberal party, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer, are tied at 30 percent of votes. While coming into office on a wave of popularity, Trudeau has come under fire during his tenure for improperly trying to influence a former minister investigating the engineering company SNC-Lavalin, and more recently for wearing blackface on three separate occasions.

OCTOBER 21: Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Geneva

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women will hold its 74th session between October 21 and November 8. The committee monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). During this session, the state reports of Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, and Seychelles will be considered. 

OCTOBER 27: First Round of Presidential Election, Argentina

Following the primary vote in August, Argentina will hold the first round of its election for president on October 27. In the primary, opposition leader Alberto Fernandez defeated President Mauricio Macri by a 47.78 percent to 31.79 percent margin. Polls expect Fernandez, whose running mate is polarizing ex-president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, to win the election outright with over 50 percent of the vote.

OCTOBER 29: UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace, and Security

The annual UN Security Council open debate on Women, Peace, and Security is scheduled to be held on October 29. This year is the nineteenth anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 that acknowledged the disproportionate impact of conflict and war on women and girls. The president of the Council this month is South Africa, who will circulate a concept note on the topics to be addressed during the open debate.

OCTOBER 30: First Meeting of Syria Constitutional Committee, Geneva

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced on September 28 that the constitutional committee tasked with drafting a new constitution for Syria will meet for the first time on October 30 in Geneva. The committee was originally announced by Guterres during the UN General Assembly. The government of Syria has said any work the committee does must be free from foreign intervention, and that no deadlines should be imposed on the process.

OCTOBER 31: Brexit Deadline

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom continues to insist that there are no circumstances under which there will be another delay to Brexit, as he last week launched his party conference with the slogan “get Brexit done.” There are concerns among other members of his party, however, that Johnson will not fulfil his pledge, given the “surrender act” that requires the prime minister request a Brexit delay if a deal is not secured with the European Union before an October 17–18 EU summit. It is unclear how Johnson plans to circumvent the law and deliver on his promise.