United Nations Regional Groups

United Nations Regional Groups

The United Nations is unofficially divided into five geopolitical regional groupings. What began as an informal means of sharing the distribution of posts for General Assembly committees has taken on a much more expansive role. Depending on the UN context, regional groups control elections to UN-related positions, dividing up the pie on the basis of geographic representation, as well as coordinate substantive policy, and form common fronts for negotiations and voting.

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The five groups are

* the Western European and Others Group (WEOG), with 27 member states;
* the Eastern European Group, with 23 member states;
* Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), with 33 member states;
* the Asian Group, with 53 member states;
* the African Group, with 53 member states.

Three states - the United States of America, Israel and Kiribati - are not included in the above numbers (see below).

Members of each group

The African Group

Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

The Asian Group

Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Yemen.

The Eastern European Group

Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine.

The Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC)

Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel (New York activities only), Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

pecial cases

United States of America

The United States of America is not a member of any regional group, but attends meetings of the Western European and Others Group as an observer and is considered to be a member of that group for electoral purposes.Government of New Zealand. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. United Nations Handbook (44th Edition, 2006/07). ISBN 0-477-03796-8. Published 2006. (Order online at https://unp.un.org/bookshop/details.aspx?sku=0477037968)]


Israel is a member of WEOG but with limited competencies only. In 2000, Israel, though naturally a part of the Asian Group in geographical terms but with membership withheld due to the large majority of Muslim countries in the Asian block who refuse to allow Israel's acceptance, was admitted on temporary basis (subject to renewal) to WEOG's New York activities, thereby enabling it to be a candidate for election to various UN bodies [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/UN/weog.html] . In 2004, Israel obtained a permanent renewal to its membership to the WEOG for New York activities. [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/UN/weog1.html] .On June 14, 2005, Dan Gillerman was elected to the position of Vice-President of the 60th UN General Assembly. The last Israeli to hold this position was UN envoy Abba Eban in 1952. Israel's candidacy was put forward by the United Nations Western European and Others Group (WEOG).In this position, Gillerman played a central role during the initial negotiation stages of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.


As of May 2006, Kiribati (geographically in Asia) is not a member of any regional group.


Turkey participates fully in both the Asian and WEOG groups, but for electoral purposes is considered a member of WEOG only.

Proposed new groupings


In 2000, the government of Nauru—at present, a member of the Asian group—called for a new regional group titled Oceania. Aside from Nauru, this proposed bloc may also include Australia and New Zealand (both in WEOG), Japan, South Korea, the ASEAN countries, and the rest of Oceania. [ [http://www.un.org/ga/webcast/statements/nauruE.htm A: auru.htm ] ]


A criticism of the regional grouping system is the pressure brought to bear on members to vote consistent with the majority of their regional group. For countries which may have political differences, this can weaken their negotiating positions on a number of issues and an inability to be elected to key leadership positions in the UN.


ee also

* IAEA Areas

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