Where can I get information about regional groups?
Last Updated: Jan 25, 2023
"While there is no classification based upon formal membership in a geographical group, Member States are characterized in [...] geographic patterns as African States, Asian States, Eastern European States, Latin American States, and Western European and other States.
In the practice of the United Nations, regional groups corresponding to the aforementioned geographic patterns have evolved as informal arrangements among Member States. The latter groups are based entirely on the agreement of Member States and serve as a mechanism for consultation and coordination among them, particularly on matters relating to elections and candidatures, in the light of the requirement for equitable geographical balance or regional rotation and distribution in United Nations organs and bodies. The members of certain regional groups also use the groups for discussion and consultation on policy issues."
(UN Juridical Yearbook 1996, page 442)
Below is a list of the regional groups as provided by the UN Department of General Assembly and Conference Management:
- African States
- Asia-Pacific States
- Eastern European States
- Latin American and Caribbean States
- Western European and other States
In May 2000, Israel became a full member of the Group of Western European and other States on a temporary basis (subject to renewal), thereby enabling it to put forward candidates for election to various bodies of the General Assembly. In 2004, Israel obtained a permanent renewal to its membership.
As of 2010, Kiribati (geographically in Oceania) is not a member of any regional group, despite other Oceania nations belonging to the Group of Asia-Pacific States.
Türkiye participates fully in both the Group of Western European and other States and the Group of Asia-Pacific States, but for electoral purposes is considered a member of the Group of Western European and other States only.
United States of America
The United States of America is not a member of any regional group, but attends meetings of the Group of Western European and other States as an observer and is considered to be a member of that group for electoral purposes.
There is an article on the origins and development of UN electoral groups in the UNU publication What is equitable geographic representation in the 21st century.
Information about the chairs of the regional groups for each month is published in the General Information section of the Journal of the United Nations.
See also Regional Commissions, which are subsidiary bodies of the Economic and Social Council:
- Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
- Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
- Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)
- Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
- Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
See also Standard country or area codes for statistical use (M49): Geographic Regions
Disclaimer: answers are prepared by library staff using resources available at the time of writing. This site may include links and references to third-party databases, websites, books and articles, this does not imply endorsement by the United Nations.