2024 geopolitical calendar for a world near the brink
This looks to be a year when we hold our breath and hope the world doesn’t come undone. Here’s a guide to some of the summits, events, announcements and key dates to watch out for as we navigate the next 12 months.
As voters in Taiwan, a nation of 23 million people, elected their next president, China was quick to declare the election a matter of ‘war or peace’. That pressure intensified when front runner Lai Ching-te was elected. There will be more to come from Beijing.
The 120 member states gather in Uganda for the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement from 15-20 January. The Third South Summit of the G77+China, with 134 member states, will also meet in Uganda from 21-22 January.
From 15 to 19 January, global leaders and business elites gather in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.
Tuvalu holds its general election on 26 January with opposition leader and former prime minister Enele Sopaga promising to throw away the Australia–Tuvalu falepili union agreement if he is elected.
Finland’s presidential election takes place on 28 January as Russia scales up its hybrid activities to exert pressure on the Finns.
Australia’s parliamentary sitting year begins on 6 February.
On 8 February, the US Supreme Court will consider whether US states can disqualify Donald Trump from the presidential ballot due to his attempts to overturn the 2020 election result and his role in the 6 January insurrection. Here’s a list of Trump’s other criminal and civil cases for 2024.
On 8 February Pakistan will vote in an election dominated by the military establishment.
From 9 to 10 February, Australia will host the Indian Ocean Conference in Perth.
Indonesia holds its presidential election on 14 February, with the front runner Prabowo Subianto who has faced allegations of human rights abuses. The former general was the son-in-law of long time president Suharto. His vice presidential running mate is Gibran Rakabuming, son of current president Joko Widodo. Some have raised concerns that the election campaign bears signs of weakening democracy.
The Munich security conference from 16–18 of February brings together international leaders and experts in Europe to discuss pressing security challenges.
From 21 to 23 February, the Observer Research Foundation convenes the annual Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi.
It’s the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, with no end to the conflict in sight.
NATO stages its biggest military exercise since the Cold War in February and March. Steadfast Defender—Europe 24 will involve more than 30 countries and 40,000 troops. The exercise will take place across Germany, Poland and Baltic nations and will focus on readiness and interoperability in response to a Russian invasion.
Australia will host the AUKMIN talks in 2024. Dates haven’t yet been announced, but last year it was held in February. With an election due in the UK, it’s likely to be earlier in the year again.
Iran will hold elections on 1 March, the first since widespread protests erupted in 2022. The regime is expected to consolidate control with a low turnout likely.
The 50th anniversary of Australian–ASEAN relations will be marked from 4–6 March with a special summit in Melbourne. Leaders from across Southeast Asia have been invited and here’s a rundown of the issues likely to be discussed.
On 5 March, it’s Super Tuesday, a critical day in the US presidential primary season with multiple states holding primary elections to choose delegates.
South Korea’s presidential election, on 10 March, looks being a tight race. The republic is also scheduled to host the second global AI safety summit around March/April.
Russia’s presidential election is scheduled for 17 March. In this case, the ‘tight race’ will be between Putin and … Putin.
Ukraine was due to have a presidential election on 31 March, but Volodymyr Zelensky announced that the poll could not proceed because of the war with Russia and the ongoing state of emergency.
India’s general election campaign will run through April and May. Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is widely expected to win despite concerns that he has cracked down on political opponents and consolidated power since 2014.
From 19 to 21 April, the annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington will bring together finance ministers and central bank governors to discuss global economic challenges.
Australia’s budget is likely to be released on 15 May. The promised national defence strategy may be made public at the same time.
Taiwan’s new president will be inaugurated on 20 May. Expect a reaction from China.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies will convene its annual Shangri-La Dialogue from 31 May to 2 June in Singapore.
The 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy will be commemorated on 6 June.
From 6 to 9 June, voters across the European Union will cast their ballots to choose the next members of the European Parliament. There are concerns that more far right candidates will win seats for the five year term.
Italy will host the G7 summit from the 13 to 15 June, focusing on pressing global issues like AI, climate change, food security and economic recovery.
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of NATO, leaders will convene in Washington DC for their annual summit from 9 to 11 July.
From 15–18 the US Republican party will meet to chose its presidential nominee at its national convention.
Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), the world’s largest maritime military exercise, will be held in late July. Australia, the UK and US are also scheduled to conduct joint maritime drone exercises, maybe off the back of RIMPAC.
From 15 July to 1 August, The Royal Australian Air Force will host Exercise Pitch Black in Northern Australia with many nations participating.
The 31st ASEAN Regional Forum will be held in Laos (the 2024 ASEAN chair) from 21–27 July. A list of ASEAN meetings in 2024 can be found here.
Kazakhstan will host the 2024 Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s annual summit in Astana before its chairmanship ends in July 2024.
Tonga will host the 53rd Pacific Islands Forum in August.
On 15 August it will be three years since the withdrawal of US and Western forces from Afghanistan which was soon followed by the Afghan government’s fall and the Taliban takeover.
The US Democratic Party will hold its National Convention in Chicago from 19 to 22 August.
The 79th session of the UN General Assembly begins on 10 September, with the first high-level general debate on 24 September. The UN’s Summit of the Future will be held on 22 and 23 September, aiming to forge a new global consensus and multilateral solutions to current and future problems.
The 75th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China will be marked on 1 October amid increasing economic troubles. The anniversary will be a major focus of Xi Jinping this year,
The 75th anniversary of Russia–China diplomatic relations will be marked on 2 October when it’s likely the ‘no limits’ friendship will be taken to new heights. In October, Russia will also host the largest-ever BRICS summit, the first with new members Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Egypt and Ethiopia.
The first anniversary of Hamas’s attack on Israel and the resulting conflict in Gaza will be marked on 7 October.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held in Samoa on 21 October, the first with King Charles as head.
On 5 November, all eyes will be on the US presidential election.
From 11–24 November, Azerbaijan will host COP29. It is already following in the UAE’s footsteps, by appointing an oil executive to lead the climate talks.
On 12 November, Palau will hold its general election.
Brazil will host the G20 Summit from 17 to 18 November in Rio de Janeiro.
The ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit dates for this year have not yet been announced, but normally fall in November. The ASEAN Defence Ministers meeting will run from 26 to 29 in Laos.
Peru is hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in 2024, with the leaders’ summit to be held in November.
France is due to host the third global AI safety summit in November.
Ghana’s election takes place on 7 December.
Algeria and Croatia are due for presidential elections with dates yet to be set.
Other significant events
Last year Prime Minister Anthony Albanese commissioned an independent review of Australia’s intelligence agencies. The findings will be presented to government in mid-2024.
Indo-Pacific Endeavour, the Australian Defence Forces’ annual regional engagement exercise, is likely to take place, as usual, in the second half of the year.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has confirmed he’ll call a general election in the second half of 2024.
The Quad Leaders’ Summit, which was to be held in January in India, has been postponed to late 2024 with a new date yet to be set. Quad foreign ministers will meet in Japan in 2024 on dates which are also still to be announced.
For a full list of the global elections scheduled in 2024, click here.