Monthly Global Forecast |December 2020
Politics and Governance
UN to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on December 1, 2020
The United Nations (UN) shall observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on December 1 in UN headquarters, New York. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People shall be hosting a special meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian people at the New York Headquarters on December 1, 2020. The gathering will include the Secretary-General and high-level officials of the member states, intergovernmental organizations and civil society representatives. In cooperation with the governmental bodies and various civil society organizations, other activities will also be organized. Also, on December 2, the UN General Assembly will gather for an annual debate. A resolution, outlining the parameters for finding a just solution to the Palestinian issue is expected to be adopted during the annual discussion.
General Assembly to hold a Special Session regarding Covid-19 response from December 3 – 4, 2020
The General Assembly shall hold a special session in response to Covid-19 pandemic from December 3-4. Apart from the general debate, the heads of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other entities of the UN will be providing a presentation. The leaders will simultaneously conduct an interactive dialogue between different agencies in addressing the pandemic and its impacts.
India-Bangladesh Virtual Summit to be held on December 17, 2020
India and Bangladesh are expected to hold a virtual summit on December 17, 2020, during which the heads of the two countries shall be signing at least four Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to boost bilateral cooperation. Currently, both countries are reviewing to expand their connectivity through road, rail, inland waterways and ports. Prior to the summit, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Masud Bin Momen will leave for a three-day visit to New Delhi with regards to the finalizing of the agenda. The high officials of both the countries are to discuss all the bilateral issues that are to be addressed. The summit will cap a string of engagements since Indian Foreign Secretary visited Dhaka in August 2020.
The Brexit Transition Period to conclude on December 31, 2020
The Brexit transition period is expected to end on December 31, 2020. The period cannot be extended beyond this date. During this transition, Britain remains a part of the EU customs unit and the single market. The transitionary stage was of significance as negotiations between the UK-EU were to take place for charting the new course. Once the transition period is over, the UK will become a ‘third-country’. It shall have various implications on the internal market, whilst also substantially impacting public administrations, businesses and citizens alike.
Defence and Security
The US and UAE Expected to sign an F-35 Stealth Fighter Jets Deal in December, 2020
The United States (US) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are expected to have an initial agreement in place, on the sale of F-35 stealth fighter jets to the Gulf state by December. The Trump administration is currently studying how to structure a deal without running afoul of Israel. Sources close to the negotiations maintain that the goal is to have a letter of agreement in place in time for the UAE National Day, celebrated on December 2, 2020.
West Coast Defense Contracting Summit to be held from December 16 – 17, 2020
The West Coast Defense Contracting Summit is scheduled to take place from December 16-17, in California, USA. The summit will bring together members of the US Congress, Pentagon officials, and military base commanders, contracting experts and business leaders from across the country. It will provide the contractors with updated information on, a) historic defence budget spending; b) West Coast military bases; c) military construction; d) major combat systems – supply chain opportunities; e) Federal Rapid Innovation Programs; f) government contract financing.
Australia to achieve F-35 Initial Operational Capability by December 2020
Australia is aiming to declare F-35A Initial Operational Capability (IOC) by December as the majority of pilots have returned following a joint training in the US. If confirmed, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will achieve the capability ahead of its scheduled timeline. The RAAF has returned the majority of its F-35A Lightning II pilots, maintainers and aircraft to its base in Williamtown, following the joint training with US pilots in Luke Air Force Base (AFB). The joint exercise was part of the US effort to strengthen alliances and partnerships with allies through joint training programmes.
Trade and Economics
Pakistan to submit a Detailed Response vis-à-vis the Branding Rights on Basmati rice on December 10, 2020
Pakistan has prepared a detailed response for submission before the European Commission on December 10, 2020 to foil the Indian attempts for obtaining branding rights on Basmati rice. The first statement of response by Pakistan is to be submitted in December. Another application will follow it in the second round. Adviser to the PM on Commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood said that “India’s position on Basmati rice was difficult to demonstrate on the grounds that Pakistan had each evidence to thwart New Delhi’s endeavour. I met with the Attorney General to guarantee that we recruit a decent law office to safeguard our Basmati case before the EU Commission.”
India’s Ban on the Import of around 101 Chinese Military products to get functional in December 2020
India’s ban on the imports of around 101 items of military equipment shall get functional in December. The move is to boost domestic production and self-reliance in weapons manufacturing. The government is planning to implement the embargo progressively on select military imports between the years 2020 – 2024. The military hardware on the import list includes assault rifles, sniper rifles, short-range surface-to-air missiles, beyond visual range air-to-air missiles, corvettes, missile destroyers, light combat helicopter, ship-borne cruise missiles, light combat aircraft, a variety of radars and different types of ammunition. The list has been compiled by the ministry after several rounds of consultations with all stakeholders, including the military and the industry. Also, the future capabilities of the defence sector have been factored in by the ministry in this regard.
Pakistan-Afghan Business Community to hold a Joint Industrial Exhibition in December 2020
The Pakistan-Afghanistan Business Community shall hold a joint industrial exhibition in December to facilitate the traders and enhance bilateral trade on both sides. The exhibition will be organized in collaboration with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) chamber and the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is expected to boost employment opportunities and will further strengthen bilateral commercial ties. The opening ceremony will be attended by the Afghan Minister of Industry and Commerce. Afghan officials have expressed hope in the initiative toward solidifying trade relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Bangladesh and Bhutan to sign a Preferential Trade Agreement on December 6, 2020
Bangladesh and Bhutan shall be signing a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) on December 6, 2020. It will be the first agreement of its kind to be signed between the two countries. The respective cabinets have given their approval for the deal. Through the agreement, 100 Bangladeshi products will have duty free access to the Bhutanese market. On the other hand, 34 Bhutanese products are to enjoy duty-free access in Bangladeshi market.
The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations to come into force on December 13, 2020
The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus is a regional development-centred trade agreement. It is a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) covering goods, services and investment, which will come into force by December 13, 2020. PACER Plus opened for signature on June 14 2017. It has been signed by Australia, New Zealand and nine Pacific island countries (Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu). PACER Plus is an essential part of Australia’s engagement in the Pacific and provides an avenue to help foster a secure, stable and prosperous region. PACER Plus will provide commercial opportunities for Australian exporters and investors in a range of sectors.
Energy and Environment
Climate Ambition Summit to be held on December 12, 2020
The Climate Ambition Summit will convene virtually on December 12, 2020. Alok Sharma, the President Delegate of the United Kingdom (UK) Conference of the Parties (COP 26) will brief the UN member states ahead of the summit. The summit shall be co-hosted by COP26 Presidency, the UN and France, in partnership with Chile and Italy. It is seen as an opportunity to demonstrate the commitment and support to the Paris Agreement and to bring all the actors together to endorse the multilateral process. The agenda of the summit is to call for the introduction of; a) new, more ambitious nationally-determined contributions; b) long-term strategies setting out a pathway to net-zero emissions; c) climate finance commitments to support the most vulnerable; d) ambitious adaptation plans and underlying policies.
The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Indigenous Summit to be held from December 7 – 9, 2020
The GEO Indigenous Summit shall be held virtually from December 7 – 9. Indigenous leaders from around the globe will be discussing indigenous-led innovation in Earth observations data, science and technology. The themes of the summit shall include different social, environmental issues such as Covid-19, women empowerment, education, climate change, disaster risk reduction, indigenous data sovereignty and knowledge transfer.
US Department of Energy to Announce Environmental Impact Statement for Versatile Test Reactor in mid-December 2020
The US Department of Energy is expected to publish the draft of Environmental Impact Statement (EID) for Versatile Reactor by mid-December. The draft EIS, which is being prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), will analyse the potential environmental, community, and cultural resource impacts of the location and operation of the VTR at designated sites. The Versatile reactor is expected to be a cutting edge, fast spectrum technology that will provide innovative nuclear technologies to the US by aiding it through development and research.
Pakistan’s Activism Campaign regarding Women’s Fundamental Rights launched by the Ministry of Human Rights to conclude on December 10, 2020
Pakistan’s activism campaign regarding women’s fundamental rights launched by the Ministry of Human Rights shall conclude on December 10, 2020. The campaign shall span over 16 days and will contain a series of informative videos and short films on women’s fundamental rights. The topics that the campaign aims to cover include rape, sexual harassment, marriage contract, filing a First Information Report (FIR) and women’s inheritance. The short films have been developed in collaboration with the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy (SOC) Films. Available in Pakistan’s different ethnic languages, the films will be broadcasted widely across social media and will also be disseminated to educational institutions and civil society across the country.
Third Virtual Global WHO Infodemic Management Conference to conclude on December 11, 2020
The 3rd Virtual Global Infodemic Conference by the WHO will convene on December 11, 2020. The concluding conference will prove crucial as a variety of dialogues, workshops and webinars will be held. During the live event, partners and stakeholders from every corner of society will attend to affirm their commitment to necessary actions that will enable individuals and communities to mitigate the impact of and develop resilience to the COVID-19 infodemic. The aim is to identify infodemic challenges and solutions in the following categories: a) science and research; b) country health authorities; c) technology platforms; d) civil society; e) media and journalism; f) UN and multilateral bodies.
Asian Development Bank Annual Conference to be held from December 1 – 3, 2020
The ADBI Annual Conference will convene from December 1 – 3. The conference aims to examine and discuss the impacts of Covid-19 at the macroeconomic level. The convention will assess the overall effects of the pandemic on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), households, and the increasing digitalization in Asia and the Pacific. Participants will include experts and policymakers from international organizations, think tanks, universities and other institutions.