11 Jan The BFPG’s 2022 Foreign Policy Calendar
The BFPG has compiled a list of forthcoming milestones, key dates and anniversaries which are likely to shape the tone, emphasis, and trajectory of global power dynamics in 2022. While not exhaustive, this list highlights the significance of this year in shaping the longer-term geopolitical landscape in a period of substantial flux, providing a rich suite of both opportunities and tests for the West and its strategic rivals.
30 January 2022: 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday. A programme of events is planned in Northern Ireland to mark 50 years since thirteen people were killed during civil rights demonstrations in Northern Ireland.
4-20 February 2022: 2022 Winter Olympics. This international multi-sport event is scheduled to take place in Beijing. Several nations including the UK have declared a diplomatic boycott of the Games, in response to China’s alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and wider geopolitical tensions with the Chinese Government.
6 February 2022: Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee. After 70 years on the throne, the Queen will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, a milestone that no other British monarch has reached.
14-18 February 2022: 55th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 55). Rescheduled from September 2021, this session will provide an updated assessment of the global trajectory on climate change. IPCC assessment reports are produced every six to seven years, and while they tend to mobilise and bolster climate action, they are also a battleground of lobbying from governments around the representation of national performance and the ‘accepted facts’ of the impact of certain sectors on global emissions.
18-20 February 2022: 58th Munich Security Conference. This year’s edition of the world’s largest annual conference on international security, based in Munich, will focus on reinvigorating transatlantic and international collaboration, as well as exploring opportunities to ‘build back better’, against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. “The need for dialogue has never been greater,” according to the conference’s Chairman, Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger.
9 March 2022: South Korean Presidential Election. Under the South Korean constitution, the incumbent President Moon Jae-in is unable to run for a second five-year term. The election looks to be a tightly run contest between the centrist ruling party (DPK) candidate Lee Jae-myung and the conservative PPP’s candidate Yoon Seok-youl.
27 March 2022: Hong Kong Chief Executive Election. In the first Chief Executive election since Beijing’s controversial ‘patriots-only’ rule came into place, which forces all candidates to be screened by a government committee to assess their ‘love of country’, incumbent Carrie Lam is likely to run for her second term. In her first term, Lam has overseen a clamp-down on democracy in Hong Kong, including the introduction of the controversial National Security Law.
Spring 2022: European Defence Summit. To be held in France and convened by President Emmanuel Macron and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, this Summit was announced in the aftermath of the Afghanistan withdrawal and will focus on the question of the EU’s longer-term ‘strategic autonomy’ in defending and advancing European security.
April 2022: Hungarian Parliamentary Election. Six opposition parties have united under the banner of the ‘Movement for a Hungary for Everyone’ and centre-right candidate Péter Márki-Zay, in an attempt to unseat current President Viktor Orbán, who has presided over a shift towards authoritarianism and proven an ongoing antagonist towards the EU.
10-24 April 2022: French Presidential Election. French President Macron is seeking re-election, and a mandate to advance his ambitious EU agenda. If no candidate wins a majority in the first round, held on 10 April, a run-off will be held between the top two candidates on 24 April.
25 April – 8 May 2022: UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15). This is the second half of the UN Biodiversity conference initially scheduled to take place in 2020. It is being held in Kunming, China and the conference will decide on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. President Xi declined to attend Cop26 and instead made new commitments to biodiversity, and it is likely he will take the opportunity to emphasise China’s plans to forge its own path on climate change outside of ‘Western-led’ collective action.
5 May 2022: UK Local Elections. This will include elections for all local authorities in Wales and Scotland and all London borough councils. Northern Ireland assembly elections and seven mayoral elections in England will also take place.
21 May 2022: Australian Federal Elections. The Australian Constitution requires that parliamentary elections for all 151 seats in the House of Representatives and 40 of the 76 seats in the Senate be held by 21 May. The current expectation is that the national elections will be held as late as possible within this term.
26-28 June 2022: 2022 G7 Summit. Hosted by this year’s G7 President, Germany, the summit will bring together world leaders from the seven leading democratic nations, in Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps. It is unclear as to whether additional partners invited by the UK in 2021 – South Korea, India and Australia – will also be approach to attend.
29-30 June 2022: NATO Summit. At this summit in Madrid, member nations will seek to update NATO’s overall strategy from 2010 and adopt the new 2022 Strategic Concept, as well as discussing potential additional funding, and debating prospects for Georgia’s future membership of the Alliance. Key themes will include building resilience, harnessing technology, and assessing the impact climate change will have on the security environment.
1 July 2022: 25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong. This date will mark 25 years since the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China, under the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ and cemented by a Joint Declaration. Given the systematic encroachment of the PRC state into Hong Kong and the erosion of its democratic infrastructure, it is likely this anniversary will prompt serious reflection about the choices made by the UK in the past, and the broader trajectory of relations between China and the West in the future.
28 July-8 August 2022: Commonwealth Games 2022. This international multi-sport event involving athletes from across the Commonwealth of Nations will take place in Birmingham. Being staged in the Queen’s Jubilee year, these Games may encourage some debate around the future of the Commonwealth.
October 2022: 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Every five years a Congress is convened to elect a ‘Central Committee’ and a ‘Political Bureau’, the latter of which comprises the ruling leadership of the CCP. Having laid the groundwork in 2021, President Xi Jinping is expected to assume an unprecedented third term as President.
2 October 2022: Brazilian General Election. These are held to elect the President, Vice President, and the National Congress. President Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing populist who has taken a brazen approach to the pandemic, is expected to seek a second term in office.
18 October 2022: BBC’s 100th Anniversary. Celebrations are planned throughout the year to mark the official founding of the BBC. The BBC World Service is increasingly recognised as a powerful and historically under-appreciated foreign policy asset for the UK.
30-31 October 2022: 2022 G20 Bali Summit. Bringing together world leaders from 19 nations plus the EU, this year’s G20 summit will be held in Indonesia. Indonesia has set out its priorities in global health, the digital economy, and the energy transition.
1 November 2022: 100th Anniversary of the fall of the Ottoman Empire. On this day in 1922, the Ottoman Empire fell after 600 years, after the abdication of its last sultan, Mehmed VI. In its place, the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923. President Erdoğan has pursued a de-secularisation of modern Turkey and promoted continuity with the Ottoman Empire. With the Turkish economy in crisis and the authoritarian President’s political future hanging in the balance, this anniversary may be afforded special significance.
7-18 November 2022: COP27. After Glasgow’s COP26, the next iteration of this UN climate change conference will take place in Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt. Key topics of discussion are likely to be the climate leadership potential of the Global South, nature-based solutions to climate change, and land degradation.
8 November 2022: United States Mid-term Elections. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 34 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be contested. It is possible that the Democratic Party will lose control of both the House and the Senate in these elections, severely constraining the capacity of President Joe Biden to pass legislation.
21 November-18 December 2022: 2022 Fifa World Cup. Hosted in Qatar, which has drawn attention for human rights abuses, corruption, and exploitative labour practices in its preparations for the event, this will be only the second World Cup held entirely in Asia.
11 December 2022: 25th Anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol. This will mark 25 years since the United Nations adopted the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which committed industrialised nations to limit their greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with agreed individual targets. The Kyoto Protocol, which laid the groundwork for the Paris Agreement, was a source of significant contemporary domestic political contention in several Western nations, including Australia and the United States.
30 December 2022: 100th Anniversary of the establishment of the USSR. On this day in 1922, the four founding members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics signed the documents that brought the USSR to life. The state collapsed in 1991. President Putin of Russia has described the fall of the USSR as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century” and has made no secret of his intentions to ‘restore’ sovereign nations once amalgamated into the USSR into Russia’s sphere of influence.