List of treaties by number of parties
This article contains a list of treaties by number of parties to the treaty. A "party" to a treaty is a state or other entity that ratifies, accedes to, approves, or succeeds to the treaty.
General principles of ratification
In general, multilateral treaties are open to ratification by any state. Some treaties may also be ratified by supranational bodies, such as the European Union, and by other international organizations.
In practice, the depositary of a treaty will usually only recognise ratifications of the treaty that are performed by a state that is formally recognised as a state at international law. A state can be formally recognised as such by either by becoming a member of the United Nations or by otherwise achieving a near-universal recognition by other states. There are 193 member states of the United Nations; the only non-UN states that undoubtedly meet the standard of statehood are the Cook Islands and Niue. The Holy See—while not a state per se but an entity closely tied to the state of Vatican City—is also widely recognised as being able to legitimately ratify treaties. Ratifications performed by states with more limited recognition—such as the Republic of China (Taiwan); Palestine; Kosovo; Northern Cyprus; Somaliland; the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara); South Ossetia; Abkhazia; Transnistria; and Nagorno-Karabakh—have usually not been recognised by treaty depositaries as states that can ratify treaties, although there are some exceptions to this general rule.
If a state party to a treaty denounces the treaty, the state is no longer a party to the treaty.
Ratifications by defunct states
States change over time, and often a state that ratified a treaty will cease to exist. International law deals with this issue in two ways. First, it is possible for a state to be declared the successor state to the defunct state. In this situation, any ratifications performed by the defunct state are transferred to and attributed to the successor state. Examples of successor states are the Russian Federation (successor to the Soviet Union), Serbia (successor to Serbia and Montenegro), Belarus (successor to the Byelorussian SSR), Ukraine (successor to the Ukrainian SSR), and Tanzania (successor to Tanganyika). It is possible for a single state to be the successor state of multiple states, as with Yemen being the successor state of both North Yemen and South Yemen.
Second, some states have no legal successor state but cease to exist; in such cases, the ratifications performed by the state are disregarded. In some cases, such states are subsumed into an existing state, as when East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany. In other cases, the defunct state is divided into two or more states, with none of the states being designated as the formal successor state. Examples of the latter situation include SFR Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. In this situation, the new states usually declare which treaties the defunct state ratified continue to have force for the new state. Such a declaration is regarded as a "ratification" by the new state.
For purposes of the numbers in this list, only ratifications, accessions, or successions of currently existing states are considered. No regard is given to ratifications by defunct states that have no current successor state.
Maximum limits to ratification numbers?
Due to these limitations, in 2013, the maximum number of state ratifications that a multilateral treaty can have is usually going to be 196; this total consists of all UN member states, the Cook Islands, the Holy See, and Niue. If supranational or other international organizations ratify the treaty, the total number of ratifications may exceed 196.
Legal effect of a high number of ratifications
When a treaty is ratified by nearly all recognised states in the world, the legal principles contained in the treaty may become peremptory norms of international law (or jus cogens). Peremptory norms are principles of law that apply to all states, whether or not the state has ratified a treaty that enshrines the principle. There is no set number of ratifications that are required to convert a treaty's principles into a peremptory norm, and states and experts often disagree on what principles have and have not attained the status.
List of treaties by number of parties
Below is the list of treaties by number of parties. Only treaties with a minimum of 170 parties are included.
- For simplicity, this article uses "ratify" to mean "ratify, accedes to, approves, or succeeds to".
- For simplicity, this article treats the Holy See as a state rather than as a non-state organization.
- Similar declarations may be made by states that result from the division of a defunct state when there is a formal successor state. For instance, when Serbia and Montenegro divided into Serbia and Montenegro, Serbia was designated as the successor state. Upon division, Montenegro made declarations as to which treaties ratified by Serbia and Monenegro remain in force for Montenegro.
- Total number of UN member states that are party to the treaty.
- Total number of states that are non–UN members and are party to the treaty.
- Total number of state parties to the treaty.
- Total number non-states, such as supranational or other international organizations, that are party to the treaty.
- Total number of parties to the treaty.
- Identity of the states that are not parties to the treaty that could become party to the treaty (including states that have denounced the treaty).
- Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer: Treaty status.
- Montreal Protocol: Treaty status.
- Including the London and Copenhagen Amendments. The Montreal and Beijing Amendments have not been ratified by two and four parties to the Protocol respectively.
- Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field: Treaty status.
- Convention (II) for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea: Treaty status.
- Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War: Treaty status.
- Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War: Treaty status.
- By its Geneva Conventions Act 1958, Niue considers New Zealand's ratification of the Geneva Conventions to cover its territory.
- UN Framework Convention on Climate Change: Treaty status.
- Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation: Treaty status.
- UN Convention to Combat Desertification: Treaty status.
- Constitution of the World Health Organization: Treaty status.
- United Nations Charter: Treaty status.
- ITU member states.
- Convention on the Rights of the Child: Treaty status.
- Convention on Biological Diversity: Treaty status.
- Kyoto Protocol: Treaty status.
- Ratified the treaty but has subsequently denounced it and withdrawn.
- Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation: Treaty status.
- Constitution of the Food and Agriculture Organization: Treaty status.
- From 1874 to 1964, membership in the Universal Postal Union was governed by the Treaty of Bern. On 10 July 1964, the UPU incorporated the Treaty of Bern into a new Constitution of the UPU, which is now the governing treaty that is ratified when a state joins the UPU.
- Universal Postal Union: Member countries.
- The UPU recognises the membership of 192 parties, which includes two "joint memberships" for dependent territories (one for the British overseas territories and one for the Caribbean constituent countries (Dutch: landen) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten), originally as Netherlands Antilles). Dependent territories are not permitted to ratify the UPU Constitution, but because memberships had been established for these dependent territories under the Treaty of Bern, their membership status was grandfathered into the UPU in 1964. However, neither the British nor the Dutch entities ratified the Treaty of Bern separate from the ratifications of the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, respectively.
- Chemical Weapons Convention: Treaty status.
- Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage: Treaty status.
- Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations: Treaty status.
- Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: Treaty status.
- IBRD Members.
- International Monetary Fund: List of members.
- Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation: Treaty status.
- UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances: Treaty status.
- WIPO Convention: Treaty status.
- International Labour Organization: Member states.
- The Constitution of the ILO was originally part of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. Since 1919, the Constitution has been amended a number of times, most significantly in 1945–46, when the ILO became a specialized agency of the United Nations.
- Tokyo Convention: Treaty status.
- Hague Hijacking Convention: Treaty status.
- International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism: Treaty status.
- Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs: Treaty status.
- International Finance Corporation: Members.
- Prior to ratifying this treaty, the state would have to ratify the Articles of Agreement of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, since only IBRD member states may ratify this agreement.
- Convention on Psychotropic Substances: Treaty status.
- Convention on Psychotropic Substances: Treaty status.
- Basel Convention: Treaty status.
- Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency: Members.
- Stockholm Convention: Status of ratifications.
- International Plant Protection Convention: Treaty status.
- United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: Treaty status.
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora: Member countries.
- Ratifications of C029 – Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29).
- Ratifications of C182 – Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182).
- WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: Treaty status.
- Convention establishing a Customs Co-operation Council: Treaty status.
- The WCO claims 179 members: it does not include the European Union in the total number but it does include the customs territories of Bermuda, Curaçao, Hong Kong, and Macau.
- Vienna Convention on Consular Relations: Treaty status.
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination: Treaty status.
- UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents: Treaty status.
- International Convention against Doping in Sport: Treaty status.
- Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property: Treaty status.
- Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I): Treaty status.
- Ratifications of C105 – Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105).
- Ratifications of C111 - Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111).
- Ratifications of C100 - Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100).
- Agreement establishing the International Fund for Agricultural Development: Treaty status.
- Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports serving International Civil Aviation: Treaty status.
- International Development Association: Members.
- Constitution of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization: Treaty status.
- New Zealand has denounced the convention, effective 31 December 2013
- International Convention against the Taking of Hostages: Treaty status.
- Convention on the International Maritime Organization: Treaty status.
- International Maritime Organization: Member states.
- Biological Weapons Convention: Treaty status.