Key Global Events to Watch in March

A list of key upcoming meetings and events that have implications for global affairs compiled by the Global Observatory.

MARCH 1–23: United Nations Human Rights Council Session, Geneva

Having begun on February 22, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) continues its 46th regular session this month, ending on March 23. Over 82 country reports, updates, and themes are on the agenda, including the situation in Myanmar, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Among many, the HRC will consider the reports of the Special Rapporteurs on the sale and sexual exploitation of children and cultural rights, and the Special Representative of the UN secretary-general on Violence against Children, and how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted these issues.

MARCH 1–26: Human Rights Committee of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

The Human Rights Committee, which monitors global implementation of the ICCPR, will hold its 131st session this month from March 1 to 26. State reports from Finland and Kenya are on the agenda, as well as preliminary reports from the DPRK, Fiji, Grenada, Iceland, Malawi, Nepal, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, and Tanzania.

MARCH 15–26: 65th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), New York

The 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women till take place from March 15 to 26 in a hybrid, mostly virtual, format. The priority themes for this year are women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life and the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls—which is also a focus of International Women’s Day. The theme under review is women’s empowerment and its links to sustainable development. All side events for this year’s session will be virtual.

MARCH 21: Presidential Election, Republic of Congo

On March 21, the Republic of Congo will hold an election for president. The current president, Denis Sassou Nguesso, has been in power for 36 years. He will face seven other candidates, the most notable being Mathias Dzon, a former minister of finance, and Guy-Brice Parfait Kolélas, who came in second place in the 2016 vote.

MARCH 22–27: Ninth World Water Forum, Senegal

Three years after the eighth World Water Forum was held in 2018 in Brasilia, this year’s forum will be held from March 22 to 27 in Dakar, Senegal. Beginning on World Water Day, the forum seeks to promote integrated responses and actions for water and sanitation globally, with this year focusing particularly on water, peace, and development.

MARCH 23–26: Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development

The Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development—an intergovernmental forum and regional platform for supporting countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—will be held from March 23 to 26 in hybrid form. On the agenda is the recovery from COVID-19, in-depth reviews of SDGs 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16 and 17, and supporting the presentation of voluntary reviews at the 2021 High-Level Political Forum this summer.

MARCH 23: Legislative Elections, Israel

One year after it seemed Benjamin Netanyahu might no longer be prime minister of Israel, the country is set to vote for members of parliament that ultimately determine the country’s prime minister. Since last year’s election, Netanyahu has been put on trial for corruption (postponed until after the vote) and his primary opponent, Benny Gantz, launched unity talks to join his coalition. That effort sunk Gantz’s bid for prime minister, leaving Netanyahu likely to be prime minister again.

MARCH 28: Parliamentary Elections, Turkmenistan

After recently creating a bicameral legislature, Turkmenistan will hold its first election for the body on March 28. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov hailed its creation as part of the country’s continued move towards democracy. At the same time, his son Serdar is seen as a leading contender to be the chairperson of the upper house of parliament, which would put him second in line for president. President Berdymukhammedov has taken other measures to ensure his son’s rise in the ranks in parallel with rumors about his health problems.