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.
Although the membership has somewhat shifted since the demise of the Soviet Union, the five groups are:
- Western European and Others Group (WEOG), 27 members,
- Eastern European Group (now referred to as CElT: countries with economies in transition), 23 members,
- Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), 33 members,
- Asian Group 52 members,
- African Group 54 members.
Australia is a member of WEOG. Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are part of the Asia Group. Israel is the only UN member state denied full membership in a regional group. WEOG will only permit Israel to participate temporarily in a subset of UN bodies.
The next step as shown in Figure 8 is to actually source a copy of the Draft Agreed Conclusion and begin to identify where in the document you can strengthen language or insert issues not covered in the document. The way the Australian government processes work is that any language suggestions should be submitted in writing to the Office for Women prior to departure for CSW.