Monthly Global Forecast |February 2021
Politics and Governance
FATF Evaluation Meetings for Pakistan to be held in Mid-February
The evaluation meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will be held in mid-February. The case of Pakistan will also be evaluated in the meeting as the country has been on the FATF grey list since June 2018. In October 2020 plenary session, the global watchdog reviewed Pakistan’s progress on the 27-point action plan to counter anti-money laundering and terror financing. The FATF found that Pakistan had effectively complied with 21 out of 27 action points and agreed to keep the country on its “grey list” until February 2021. In this coming meeting, Pakistan’s progress will be reviewed vis-à-vis other points of action.
34th African Union Summit to be held on February 6 – 7
The upcoming 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union (AU) is set to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on February 6 – 7, where all the AU members will cast their votes for the new leaders of the AU Commission (AUC). Primarily, this summit will choose the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson. Since Morocco rejoined in 2017, this will be the first AUC election that will involve all the 55 AU member states to address the pandemic consequences. It will also be the first AUC election since the recommendations of the 2017 Kagame Report on AU Institutional Reforms were adopted by the Assembly. Meanwhile, the 38th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council shall be taking place on February 3 – 4.
Presidential Elections in Somalia due on February 7
The Somalian Presidential elections announced by the Federal Indirect Electoral Commission (FIEC) will be taking place on February 7. The agreement was reached between the Somali President Abdullahi Mohamed and other key regional leaders to hold these elections. It will be a significant move towards the stabilisation of the country, which for decades has been mired in political, social, and economic turmoil, with escalating instability because of strong terrorist outfits like ISIS and Al Shabaab.
Turkey to Extend its Naval Presence in the Gulf of Aden, for Another Year, Ahead of February 10
The Turkish state shall be continuing its naval presence in the Gulf of Aden, ahead of February 10, 2021. Ankara is also said to have enhanced its intelligence presence in the region by sending security officers under various covers, including humanitarian missions; such as working for the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation. In January 2021, the Turkish Presidency had sent a memorandum to the Parliament to extend its naval presence in the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and the territorial waters of Somalia for another year starting from February 10.
Defence and Security
The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty expires on February 5
The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which regulates the control of strategic nuclear weapons in Russia and the United States signed in 2010 by Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev, is due to expire on February 5 after ten years of its implementation. The term of the treaty may be extended for up to five additional years, until February 5, 2026, if the presidents of the two countries agree to do so. Though the previous US administration was not in favour of the treaty like many others, yet Joe Biden’s administration has signalled its willingness to extend the treaty by five more years. Importantly, the US does not need to ratify the treaty extension. Earlier, the Senate ratification process had created significant obstacles to the arms control treaties.
Pakistan to Host AMAN 2021 Naval Exercises between Russia and NATO Countries in February
The AMAN-2021 “Anti-Piracy Drills” including Russia and the NATO members is scheduled to take place in Karachi, Pakistan, between February 11 – 16. It will be the first time Russia participates in a joint naval exercise with the NATO members in a decade. The joint exercise will strengthen maritime cooperation among the participating members on sea stability and security by repelling sea piracy threats. Moreover, the exercise will portray a positive image of Pakistan in the international community.
India to Organise the Aero India Air Show from February 3 – 5
Indian Ministry of Defence shall be organising the Aero India Air show as a virtual exhibition of its indigenously developed defence products starting from February 3 – 5, at the Air Force Station, Bengaluru. It will be the first international air show amidst the pandemic situation. However, the exhibition will be virtually accessible to the visitors 24/7, and the detailed descriptions of each product will also be virtually available. Both Indian and foreign exhibitors from around 14 countries will be participating in the event.
India to host Indian Ocean Region Defence Ministers’ Conclave this February
The Indian government shall be hosting the defence ministers of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) for a conclave on February 4. The event will be a part of the Aero India Air show, and the theme of the meeting will be, “Enhanced peace, security and cooperation in the Indian Ocean”. This development comes amidst the rising Sino-India tensions as India aims to showcase its indigenous defence products to be exported to friendly states. The meeting invitations have been sent to 28 states with an option of physical or virtual attendance, making it a hybrid event.
Trade and Economics
12th Session of the UNCTAD Multi-Level Expert Meeting on Commodities and Development to take place on February 8 – 9
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) meeting scheduled on February 8 – 9 will provide a forum for sharing national experiences addressing transparency in commodities markets, in both source and destination countries. More substantial transparency across commodity value chains is expected to enhance the commodity sector governance, encourage accountability, and sustainable commodity revenue management. The meeting will also identify policies that may be adopted by the commodity-dependent developing countries to optimise the benefits of commodity production and trade for growth.
Asia Trade Summit scheduled for February 24 – 25
The Economist’s second annual Asia Trade Summit will be held in Hong Kong on February 24 – 25. It will bring together the heads of companies, academics, economists, and policymakers for a day of rigorous debate. The summit will examine risks and opportunities through a series of roundtables, onstage debates, and panel discussions, and look for a sustainable and effective way forward for those working in or relying on the Asian trade industry.
Saudi Arabia and Iraq to Raise their Official Oil Selling Prices for the Asian Markets for the month of February
The two largest members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Saudi Arabia and Iraq shall be raising the official selling price of crude oil to the Asian markets for the coming month of February. The crude markets are already tightening after the Saudi government announced its intent to unilaterally cutting down its production by 1 million barrels a day in February and March. Iraq has also increased Basrah Light crude price to buyers in Asia, by 70 cents a barrel to a $1.10 premium, over the regional benchmark, according to a price list released by the state oil marketer. The move is expected to create a stark rise in the oil prices in the Asian region.
UK to hold an Early G7 Virtual Summit in February
Within weeks of Joe Biden becoming the US president, Boris Johnson aims to host a virtual G7 summit of world leaders in February to set an ambitious agenda addressing climate change, a global vaccination program, future pandemic preparedness, and ties with China. The UK government also assured that the agenda would focus on broader issues like post-Covid-19 recovery, climate crisis, girls’ education, and human rights.
Energy and Environment
5th Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) to be held on February 22 – 23
The first session of the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA 5.1) will be held virtually on February 22 – 23 due to the prevailing pandemic situation. The theme of this session would be “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”. It aims to draw attention towards protecting and restoring nature and nature-based solutions to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
VEF Virtual Series: Industry Decarbonisation – Hard to Abate Sectors to be held on February 10
As a part of the Vienna Energy Forum (VEF), the virtual series on “Industry Decarbonisation – Hard to Abate Sectors” will be held on February 10. This virtual forum will provide a platform aiming to promote the agreed recommendations and policy briefs through action-oriented solutions that will assist the states in aligning their recovery plans with an Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (ISID). The 2021 edition of this virtual series is based on the theme, “Accelerating Energy Transition”. In the three sectors of food systems, industry, and goods, the series will explore various pathways driving growth, and foster economic recovery for the states.
59th Session of the Commission for Social Development to be held from February 8 – 17
The 59th session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD59) is scheduled for this February, at the United Nations Headquarters, New York. Due to the pandemic scenario, the session would mainly be online, but the opening and closing ceremony will take place in-person with one representative per delegation. The commission for social development is the advisory body of the UN, responsible for the social development pillar of global development. In the scheduled session, the meeting will focus on the agenda, “Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all”.
G20 Virtual Opening Event with Finance Ministers and Central Banks Governors scheduled for February 27
The opening event, “G20 and the Global Governance for Recovery and Transformation” meeting is scheduled to be held on February 27, 2021. It is one of the ministerial meetings arranged in the G20 Leaders’ Summit 2021, which will be hosted by Italy in October 2021. Under the Italian Presidency, the G20 will focus on a triad of objectives: People, Planet, and Prosperity. This meeting is significant as it will provide a forum to deliberate and bring forth issues of global relevance, thus building consensus of the nineteen member states over the shared issues.
Pakistan to Receive around 1.1 Million Additional Covid-19 Vaccines from China by February end
The Chinese government will be dispatching around 1.1 million additional doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine to Pakistan by the end of February. China has already indicated a willingness to gift 500,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses to Pakistan by January end. The Pakistan government plans to vaccinate at least 70% of its adult population to attain herd immunity. This move will address the pressing issues of vaccine shortage and strengthen the Sino-Pakistan relations in the health sector. The provision of additional vaccines is a goodwill gesture from Beijing which has been warmly welcomed by Pakistan.
Canada to Maintain International Travel Restrictions till February 21
Canada shall be extending its travel restrictions on the non-US international travel till February 21, 2021. Also, the travel restrictions might become more acute because of the outbreak of new varieties of the virus. All those allowed to travel would have to show a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test done within 72 hours of the traveller’s planned departure. Considering the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in many parts of Canada, the Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced a month-long extension in the travel restraint.