Groups of Member States
The Member States are organized in formal and informal groups with a variety of different purposes and memberships. The list below is not comprehensive and focuses on the types of groups relevant to and active in the GA.
The regional groups were formed to facilitate the equitable geographical distribution of seats among the Member States in different UN bodies. To date the groups are as follows:
• Group of African States (53 Member States)
• Group of Asian States (53 Member States)
• Group of Eastern European States (23 Member States)
• Group of Latin American andCaribbeanStates, GRULAC (33 Member States)
• Western European and Other States Group, WEOG (28 Member States + USA)
The USA is not an official member of any group. They participate as an observer in WEOG meetings and are considered a member of WEOG for electoral purposes. Turkey is a member of both the Asian Group and the WEOG, and for electoral purposes is considered a member of WEOG only. The Holy See participates in WEOG meetings as an observer.
While the regional groups formally exist for electoral and ceremonial purposes, some also choose to coordinate on substantive issues and/or use the group structure to share information.
The Chairs of the regional groups rotate on a monthly basis. Their names can be found in the Journal of the UN. The Chairs are invited to speak on behalf of the group on ceremonial occasions (such as commemorative meetings).
Main political groups
The list below includes only groups that regularly make joint statements in formal GA meetings. Not all members of these groups are UN Member States. The information provided is based on the websites of the groups. Groups who convene around one specific item only are not listed. After G-77,NAM, JCC and the EU, the groups are listed in alphabetical order.
Group of 77 and China (G-77)
G-77 is an organization of developing countries designed to promote its members’ collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations. It currently has 131 members. The Chair rotates every year starting on 1 January. In the GA the G-77 coordinates on all Second and Fifth Committee issues as well as some Third Committee and Plenary items relating to economic issues and development. The G-77 maintains an office at UN Headquarters.
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a group of States who do not consider themselves aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. TheNAMc urrently has 118 members and 18 observers. A NAM summit takes place every three years. The host country of the summit is automatically the Chair until the next summit. The “NAM Troika” consists of the current, previous and incoming Chair. In the GA the group co-ordinates on peace and security issues as well as on First, Fourth, Sixth and some Third Committee issues. The Permanent Mission of the NAM Chair is the focal point for all communication with the group.
Joint Coordination Committee (JCC )
The JCC is a coordination and harmonization mechanism for NAM and G-77, reinforcing cooperation and coordination in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of work between the two. Joint NAM and G-77 statements can be made in the name of JCC.
European Union (EU )
The EU is an economic and political partnership between 27 European countries. The EU has its own diplomatic service and a permanent office, the Delegation of the European Union, in New York. The EU has an enhanced observer status in the GA and coordinates on the entire range of UN activities. The EU presidency rotates every six months.
African Union (AU )
The African Union has 53 members. The African Union has observer status and maintains a permanent office in New York. The AU and the Group of African States work closely together on GA issues. The AU Delegation in New York provides conference facilities for the Group of African States. It is usually the Group of African States that speaks in the GA and not the African Union.
Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS )
AOSIS is an alliance of 42 small island states and low-lying coastal countries. Its Chair rotates every three years.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has ten members. The Chair rotates annually.
On certain issues Canada, Australia and New Zealand coordinate their positions and may authorize one among them to speak or negotiate on behalf of all three.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is an organization of 15 Caribbean nations and dependencies. Its Chair rotates on a quarterly basis among its members. CARICOM has observer status and maintains a permanent office in NY.
Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
The LDCs are a group of countries whose membership is based on a set of criteria defined by the GA. There are currently 48 LDCs. The Chair of the group rotates every three years.
Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs)
There are 22 LLDCs. The special situation of LLDCs is recognized by the GA. The Chair rotates every two years.
League of Arab States
The League of Arab States (sometimes called “the Arab League”) is a regional organization. It has 22 members and four observers. Its Chair rotates on a monthly basis. The League of Arab States coordinates on Fourth Committee and Middle East issues.
The League of Arab States has observer status and maintains a permanent office in NY.
The Nordic co-operation involves Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as well as the three autonomous areas. Its presidency rotates annually.
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC )
The OIC is an organization with 57 Member States. The host country of the Islamic Summit Conference assumes the chair of the organization for three years. The OIC has observer status and maintains a permanent office in NY.
Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)
The Pacific Islands Forum is a political grouping of 16 independent and self-governing states. The host country of the annual Forum is also the chair for the year following the Forum.
The Rio Group is an organization of 23 Latin American and Caribbean states. The Member State who hosts the summit of the Rio Group is also the Chair for the two years until the next summit.
A note on JUSCANZ: JUSCANZ is an informal group of Member States that originally consisted of Japan, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (hence the name). The group has expanded and now includes other countries that do not belong to the G-77,NAM or the EU. JUSCANZ coordinates mainly on Second and Third Committee issues. Its membership and the scope of coordination are different for the two committees.
A note on “Major Groups”: This term is used in the context of Sustainable Development (Agenda 21) when referring to civil society organizations. There are nine major group sectors: Business and industry, Children and youth, Farmers, Indigenous peoples, Local authorities, NGOs, Scientific and technological community, Women, and Workers and Trade Unions.