Western European and Others Group

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WEOG member and observer states

The Western European and Others Group (WEOG) is one of five unofficial Regional Groups in the United Nations that act as voting blocs and negotiation forums[1]. Regional voting blocs were formed in 1961 to encourage voting to various UN bodies from regional groups. As of 2010, there are 28 member states, plus one observer.[2] Almost all members are in Western Europe, but the WEOG is unusual in that geography is not the sole defining factor; Europe is divided between the WEOG and the Eastern European Group, and the WEOG also contains Canada, Australia, New Zealand, which are culturally and politically descended from Western European states but are located far away from them. Israel is also a permanent member, due to its strong cultural and historical links with Western Europe and its inability to join the Asian Group due to opposition by Arab countries. The group also contains one observer, the United States, which has voluntarily[3] chosen not to participate as a member, and attends meetings as an observer only. However, it is considered to be a member for putting forward candidates for electoral purposes in the United Nations General Assembly.[4][5] Turkey participates fully in both the WEOG and the Asian Group, but for electoral purposes is considered a member of the WEOG only.[6]

WEOG member states[edit]

Permanent European members[edit]

Permanent non-European members[edit]

WEOG observer[edit]

Suggestions to re-arrange the group[edit]

In 2000, the first anniversary of Nauru's UN membership in the Asian Group prompted a call by that country for a new Oceania regional grouping including Australia and New Zealand within the United Nations regional voting system.[7]


A related group is JUSCANZ. This is an alliance of Japan, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and others. It essentially includes most major non-European Union members of the WEOG, plus Japan. It ensures the European Union is not able to dominate WEOG discussions and proposals.

WEOG and elections[edit]

Quotas for the five regional groups ensure that for most elections to UN bodies the number of seats available to members of the WEOG is set. For example, two of the ten non-permanent seats of the Security Council are reserved for states from the WEOG. Similarly, 13 of ECOSOC's 54 members come from the WEOG.[8] Seven of the 47 seats on the United Nations Human Rights Council go to the WEOG.

History of Israeli membership[edit]

On a purely geographic basis, Israel should be a member of the UN's Asian Group but Arab nations in the body have blocked Israel from joining. After years of discussions marked by opposition from key European nations (reportedly led by Ireland, Spain, and France), Israel became a temporary member of WEOG in May 2000,[4] subject to renewal, in WEOG's headquarters in the US, enabling it to put forward candidates for election to various UN General Assembly bodies.

In 2004, Israel obtained a permanent renewal to its membership[9] (in WEOG's headquarters in US, while remaining an observer at the UN offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Rome and Vienna[10]).

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 WEOG. In this position, Gillerman played a central role during the initial negotiation stages of the 2006 Israel–Lebanon conflict.

In December 2013, Israel was granted full membership of WEOG in Geneva. Israel is thus a full permanent member of WEOG.

Timeline of membership[edit]

As the Western European Group changed significantly over time, the number of its members had also changed.

Years Number of members Notes
1961–1964 20 Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States (observer) join the WEOG.
1964–1973 21 Malta joins the UN.
1973–1990 22 West Germany joins the UN.
1990 23 German reunification, West Germany becomes Germany, Liechtenstein joins the UN.
1992 24 San Marino joins the UN as part of WEOG.
1993–2000 26 Monaco and Andorra join the UN as part of WEOG.
2000–2002 27 Israel joins the WEOG.
2002–present 28 Switzerland joins the UN as part of WEOG.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Norbert Götz. “Western Europeans and Others: The Making of Europe at the United Nations.” Alternatives 33 (2008) 3: 359–381.
  2. ^ Official UN list of Regional Groups (p. 2), at UN website. UNAIDS, The Governance Handbook, January 2010 (p. 29).
  3. ^ Justin Gruenberg: An Analysis of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (p. 479).
  4. ^ a b UN-HABITAT's Global Report on Human Settlements, 2007 (p. 335, n. 2). UNAIDS, The Governance Handbook, January 2010 (p. 29, first note).
  5. ^ Official UN list of Regional Groups (p. 2, note).
  6. ^ "United Nations Regional Groups of Member States". United Nations. Retrieved 2015-01-11.
  7. ^ See at UN website.
  8. ^ Scharioth, Nicolas (2010). Western Democracies in the UN, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, ISBN 978-3-8329-5374-4 Statistical Data Appendix
  9. ^ UN Commission for Human Rights, Resolution 624.
  10. ^ Justin Gruenberg: An Analysis of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (p. 479, n. 68).

Official external links[edit]