Global Governance Institute


Global Events Forecast - April 2019

1 April 2019

Every month, the GGI compiles a list of upcoming international events that have some implications for its work. Here is a compilation of global meetings and events coming up in April 2019.

Global Events Forecast - April 2019
1 April 

Second round of indicative Brexit votes 

A second round of indicative votes on alternatives to Theresa May’s Brexit deal will be held in the British parliament on 1 April. In a first round of votes on 27 March, none of the eight proposed options secured a majority. Many of the proposals, which range from a second referendum to softer versions of Brexit, will now be voted on again

3 April 

Roll out of Sharia law punishments in Brunei 

Brunei will roll out new Sharia law punishments from 3 April, which include death by stoning for adultery and gay sex. The country is facing mounting international pressure to halt the law, which UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet has described as a "serious setback for human rights protections" in Brunei. 

4 April

70th anniversary of NATO 

NATO foreign ministers will gather in Washington, DC on 4 April to mark the 70th anniversary of the military alliance. Two days earlier, on 2 April, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will meet US President Donald Trump at the White House to discuss burden sharing and the evolving challenges facing the alliance.

6 April 

Parliamentary elections in the Maldives

Parliamentary elections will be held in the Maldives on 6 April. There have been growing concerns over the state of democracy and human rights in the Maldives as well as religious extremism. However, last year’s presidential elections were considered as mostly free and fair, providing hope for the return of political stability and an improvement of the human rights situation. 

9 April

EU-China Summit

The 21st bilateral summit between the EU and China will take place on 9 April in Brussels. The meeting, which will be attended by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk, comes after a recently published EU strategy document defines China not just as a strategic cooperation and negotiation partner but also as an economic competitor and “systemic rival promoting alternative models of governance”.

9 April

Parliamentary elections in Israel 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will face a tough race for re-election on 9 April. His top challenger, retired Israeli general Benjamin "Benny" Gantz, is believed to be a real threat to Netanyahu’s re-election. Netanyahu, who faces indictment on bribery charges, looks more vulnerable than ever, but he can draw on a large and devoted base of supporters. The lead up to the election has seen a flareup of violence in Gaza as Israeli forces and Hamas exchanged rocket fire.  

10 April  

Emergency EU summit on Brexit  

After Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement has been rejected by the British parliament for the third time, the European Council has called an emergency summit on 10 April. The meeting could be used to debate a long extension for Brexit, if the UK requests this and provides a clear justification. If there is no approved deal and no agreement on a lengthy extension by this date, the UK is due to crash out of the EU without a deal on 12 April (see below).

10 April  

Belizean referendum on territorial dispute with Guatemala 

Belize will hold a referendum on 10 April to determine whether or not to seek a final settlement at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over a long-standing territorial dispute with neighbouring Guatemala. In April last year, Guatemala conducted its own referendum on the issue, with an overwhelming majority in favour of taking the dispute to the ICJ. The disputed territory comprises about half of Belize. 

10 April

UN General Assembly High-Level Event on the Future of Work  

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN General Assembly will convene a high-level event on ‘The Future of Work’ on 10 April. The aim is to discuss challenges and opportunities, including new technological advances, and effective policy responses to shape the future of work and achieve decent work for all. 

11 April 

Indian general elections kick off

Elections in India will be held in seven phases from 11 April to 19 May. With 900 million eligible voters, it is the biggest election in the world. The economy will be a key electoral issue as incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) face what looks like an increasingly close contest. Modi will be battling the main national opposition Congress party and its leader Rahul Gandhi as well as a host of regional parties. Modi came to power after a landslide victory in 2014, following a populist campaign that promised economic growth and ‘development for all’ but his political rivals argue that these promised have fallen flat.

11 April  

Trump and Moon to discuss North Korea    

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC on 11 April to discuss ways forward in the denuclearisation talks with North Korea. Negotiations with North Korea have reached a stalemate after Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a summit in Hanoi in February. Trump might also meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later in April to discuss the North Korean issue as well as bilateral trade relations.

12 April 

The UK could leave the EU without a deal

After Theresa May failed again to get parliamentary approval for her withdrawal agreement, a no-deal Brexit on 12 April has become a more likely possibility. The European Council had set the date as the new deadline for the UK to resolve the Brexit impasse in order to leave the EU with a deal on 22 May. This may still be possible if a compromise on a deal is reached, for example by including a customs union. Another possibility is a lengthy delay of Brexit, which would require the UK to participate in the European elections next month. 

14 April 

Finnish parliamentary elections 

Finland is due to hold parliamentary elections on 14 April. The country is currently run by a caretaker government because its governing coalition, led by Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s Centre Party and the centre-right National Coalition, collapsed last month after failing to push through a crucial healthcare reform. The latest polls are led by the leftist Social Democratic Party, followed by the National Coalition. Meanwhile, Sipila’s Centre Party has been overtaken in the polls by the Euroskeptic Finns Party, which has made rapid gains in recent months amid rising anti-immigration sentiment. 

14-16 April

UN Libya national reconciliation conference  

The UN will hold a conference in the Libyan town of Ghadames from 14 to 16 April to discuss the prospects of ending the country’s eight-year-long civil conflict. It is hoped that the conference will deliver a timeframe for elections and a new constitution. UN special envoy Ghassan Salamé has said that all of Libya’s political groups have been invited to the conference, however, it is unclear whether all factions will attend. Libya has been beset by chaos since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011.

17 April 

General elections in Indonesia 

Indonesians will go to the polls on 17 April to elect their next president, national legislature, as well as a number of provincial and local governments. Surveys indicate that incumbent President Joko Widodo is leading comfortably over his challenger, retired General Prabowo Subianto. The elections take place among concerns by some observers that democracy and rule of law are backsliding in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. 

24 April

UN High-level Event on the International Day of Multilateralism  

The UN General Assembly decided in December 2018 to declare 24 April as the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace. This 24 April, the General Assembly with hold a High-Level Event on the topic in order to “exchange views on the role of multilateralism and diplomacy in reinforcing the advancement of the three pillars of the UN, namely, sustainable development, peace and security and human rights”.

28 April 

General elections in Spain 

Spain is holding snap elections on 28 April. Elections were called in February after Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s budget was voted down. According to a recent poll, Sánchez’s Socialist Party (PSOE) is likely to win but without securing an absolute majority. The political scene in Spain looks increasingly fragmented, with the issue of Catalan independence as divisive as ever and a new far-right party presenting itself as a key protagonist in the upcoming elections. Sánchez has been leading a minority government since June, when he ousted former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in a no-confidence vote.

28 April 

Beninese parliamentary election

In the wake of upcoming parliamentary elections in Benin, scheduled to be held on 28 April, thousands of people have protested the exclusion of key opposition parties from the election. Following controversial changes to the electoral rule, only two parties have been allowed to participate, both of which back incumbent President Patrice Talon. 

Late April [TBD] 

Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation

In late April, China will host the second Belt and Road Forum, which will be attended by top delegates and heads of state from over 100 countries, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is an ambitious and controversial campaign to boost trade, cooperation and economic growth across Asia and beyond. Last month, Italy became the first G7 country to endorse the initiative.

Late April [TBD] 

Potential Xi-Trump summit  

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could meet in late April to sign an agreement to end the long-running trade dispute between their two countries. The summit had initially been expected to take place in March but has been pushed back due to unresolved concerns on both sides.