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Regional Practices in UN Multilateralism.

1 Introduction

Regionalism and multilateralism may share a suffix and depict variations on collective relations in the study of international relations, but the scholarly literatures developing these concepts are largely separate, only rarely intersecting in relation to the United Nations. (1) In part, this is because they are seen to reflect distinct conceptions of world order that are in tension. (2) Of course, interorganizational relations between the UN and regional organizations abound, and reflect an interinstitutional or interorganizational perspective; put differently, formal organizations and how they relate to one another dominate the analysis of regional-multilateral relations. (3)

This article takes a different approach to regionalism in UN diplomacy and follows the practice turn in diplomatic studies. (4) I argue that we should shift attention away from formal organizations and legal provisions for regionalism under the Charter to examine how regional practices have shaped UN diplomacy. By shifting our analytical lens away from formal organizations and provisions, we are able to observe how multilateral diplomacy has adapted, changed, and innovated in practice, even as formal UN reform has stalled. As Ole Jacob Sending, Vincent Pouliot, and Iver Neumann argue, "From a relational perspective, it does not make sense to say that an institution--such as international law or multilateralism or sovereignty--structures or secures a certain order. It is the continual use or performance of the material and symbolic resources that are recognized as being vested in these institutions that helps produce and reproduce certain orders." (5)

While there is a great deal of diversity in the study of regionalism, the move toward interregionalism and the actorness of regions in multilateral processes tends to privilege formal institutions. (6) The European Union (EU) is often presented as a model for this sort of regional actorness in multilateral processes, and this bias "manifests itself as studies examine how the EU acts toward third-party states or other regional organizations, while the other more than 70 regional organizations of today are considerably less studied as external actors in their own right." (7) While Diana Panke, Anke Wiedemann, and Stefan Lang are certainly correct about the EU bias in studies of regional organizations, the point made here is that a focus on formal regional organizations obscures the broad ways that regional (and regionalized) practices suffuse diplomatic processes at the UN. It is not just that we should study other regional organizations; we should investigate the myriad ways that regionalism has influenced UN multilateralism outside of formal interinstitutional relations.

This article now turns to identifying formal-legal arrangements for regionalism in UN multilateralism as well as informal practices that reflect regionalism or regionally informed practices. While the formal arrangements for regionalism persist, particularly in the area of peace and security, informal regionalism is particularly pronounced in a number of diplomatic and negotiating practices that are regularly overlooked by this focus on formal regional organizations. My analysis then moves to a typology of a number of regional or regionalized practices. The examination of both formal/legal arrangements for regionalism and regionalized practices is paired with an examination of how the EU relates (or not) to each. By illustrating the poor fit between the EU--as a formal regional organization par excellence--and the formal arrangements and regionalized diplomatic and negotiation practices in UN multilateralism, I argue for greater attention to evolving practices in UN multilateralism as a source of dynamism and change. The focus on formal regionalism and the role of formal organizations has obscured innovations in multilateral diplomacy that demand greater attention from those of us trying to make sense of UN multilateralism.

2 Formal and Legal Arrangements for Regionalism in UN Multilateralism
What is a region? Asia is a geographical construct developed by
Europeans to differentiate the European "self" from the Asian
"other"... While region can be defined with reference to geography, the
sense of "regionalism" is based more on common sentiment... Perhaps
the world community needs to address the question of the unit of UN
membership. Should regional organizations be given membership in their
own right, instead of states, or not at all? (8)

Ramesh Thakur highlights the tension between UN membership based on national sovereignty and the organization of politics based on consolidating national interests through groups, including regional ones. Legal and institutional arrangements for regionalism can be found in the UN Charter; Chapter VIII explicates the role of regionalism in maintaining international peace and security. In San Francisco, Arab and Latin American states fought for the inclusion of regional arrangements in upholding international peace and security, including collective defense arrangements and peaceful settlement of disputes. As Christoph Schreuer notes, however, "The status of a regional agency under Chapter VIII has not always been clear." (9) Regional arrangements for collective defense are autonomous from the UN and UN Security Council, but Chapter VIII demands that such arrangements conform to Charter provisions.

Chapter VIII is not the only place where the Charter invokes regionalism in support of peace and security. Elsewhere, the Charter provides a role for regional arrangements in support of Security Council enforcement action under Chapter VII: Article 43 allows "groups of states" to provide assistance to the Security Council through special agreement, and Article 47 provides for the creation of regional subcommittees by the Military Staff Committee. Thus, in the area of peace and security, and in relation to the Security Council, formal arrangements for regionalism are highly circumscribed and detailed. Schreuer observes that "regional activities in fields other than peace and security received scant attention and are not regulated in the Charter." (10)

While regional economic and social cooperation are not subject to the same extensive consideration in the Charter itself, building regional capacity within regions themselves was an early concern of the United Nations. Five regional economic commissions were established through the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); they function as a formal UN outreach to the regions and structure loose forms of UN-regional relations. The five Regional Economic Commissions work relatively independently to foster economic integration at the subregional and regional levels. The Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) was established in 1947 (along with the Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific) and three more regional economic commissions were subsequently established. (11) The membership of the ECE included countries of West and Eastern Europe and, once the Cold War commenced, the ECE was marginalized in the economic integration processes that developed on either side of the Iron Curtain. Today, the ECE has grown to fifty-six countries, including the United States, Canada, and Israel as well as countries across Europe.

In relation to Charter provisions in the area of peace and security and in economic and social cooperation, the fit between UN's formal arrangements for regionalism and the European Union is deficient. First, it was not on the basis of security, but its role in economic integration and its common commercial policy that the European Economic Community (precursor to the EU) was granted UN observer status in 1974. More than thirty years would pass before the EU would involve itself in external peace operations under Charter provisions. Thus, it was not the Charter, but UN practices for the recognition of observers (more on this below) that first defined the relationship between the EU (earlier European Economic Community [EEC]) and the UN. However, the economic integration that characterizes the EU was not a consequence of the ECE. In fact, the UN-established Economic Commission for Europe played a marginal role in fostering economic integration in (Western) Europe because the membership of the UN Economic Commission for Europe remained pan-European throughout the Cold War. European economic integration in Western Europe occurred despite the ECE rather than because of it. Thus, the UN's formal provisions for supporting regionalism were of little consequence for supporting the development of one of the most deeply integrated regional organizations. Formal Charter provisions did not determine the relations between the formal regional organization of the EEC/EU and the UN; practices did.

3 Regional Practices in UN Multilateralism and the EU

Schreuer argues that it is not in the UN's formal arrangements but informal practices where regionalism is most impactful:
Subsequent practice has given much more weight to regionalism than the
bare text of the Charter would suggest ... Group dynamics, often of a
regional character, have been among the most characteristic features of
United Nations activity. In particular, the General Assembly and other
plenary bodies have developed a highly elaborate group system, which
has become a dominant feature of decision-making. These groupings have
strongly regional features. (12)

Regional group practices are manifest directly in three ways: in the regional electoral groups ensuring the principle of equitable geographic distribution, in the role that regional organizations play at the UN as observers, and as politically important groups in UN negotiations. (13) Regions are also an organizing device indirectly for other diplomatic practices, such as cross-regional, single-issue political groups and for the selection of negotiation facilitators and chairs. These regional practices are highlighted in Table 1, and I now examine them in turn. The European Union has revealed a propensity to be active in and not simply a partner to the UN. That is, the EU seeks not only to be an institutional partner to the UN, but to be involved in UN processes. But a closer look at the EU in relation to these practices demonstrates the deficiencies of focusing on formal regional organizations rather than regional practices as a means of understanding how regional practices influence UN multilateralism. Formal regional organizations like the EU are often a poor fit with the regional practices of UN multilateralism.

3.1 Regional Electoral Groups

The Charter insists on "equitable geographic distribution" in the selection of states to limited membership bodies (UN Security Council, ECOSOC, the Human Rights Council, and so forth) without any guidance in how to assure such equitable geographic distribution. Yet even this principle is not straightforward, and Sam Daws describes how politicized the process of equitable geographic distribution remains. (14) The current arrangement for the five so-called UN Regional Groups emerged to elect members to limited body organs of the UN (see Table 1). The organization and practices of these regional groups are not codified and are managed internally. (15) The African Group has a transparent and well-functioning system of rotation, and it presents an agreed-on list of candidates to the General Assembly for approval while candidates from the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) and the West European and Other Group (WEOG) are often contested. (16)

The Charter's principle of equitable geographic distribution intends for even the smallest Member State to have the opportunity to serve in key roles and offices through a system of regional rotation, but there are variations in electoral group size (e.g., the African Group numbers more than fifty members while the East European Group numbers less than half that) that do not correspond to relative population size or any objective criterion for regional rotation.

These electoral groups based on geographic distribution serve the function of organizing participation (the distribution of seats in less than universal organs) in the administration of international institutions, but it should not be presumed that regional electoral groups necessarily operate politically in substantive work of the UN. (17) Regional or electoral groups are functionally distinct from the political or caucusing groups (or blocs) discussed further below. (18) Some electoral groups such as the African Group (19) have been politically active in the diplomatic process, while others like the Eastern European Group merely fulfill their electoral function.

3.1.1 The EU in Regional Electoral Groups

Despite its high level of integration and cohesion, the EU does not fit neatly within the UN's regional electoral groupings, though its fragmented representation among three different electoral groups may in fact contribute to its over-representation in UN bodies such as the Security Council. EU Member States are found in the West European and Other Group, which also includes non-EU European states as well as Australia and Israel, among others. EU Member States are also found in the smallest electoral group--the Eastern European Group--alongside other post-Soviet states that are not members of the EU. Finally, Cyprus is a member of Asian electoral group.

Nonetheless, even in WEOG, EU Member States contest election to limited membership bodies such as the Security Council. In this regional electoral process, E U Member States campaign against one another and the famed cohesion of the EU at the UN does not apply. In 2016 after five rounds of voting in the General Assembly, the Netherlands and Italy agreed to equally divide a two-year Security Council term when neither could attain a two-thirds majority (Sweden won the other WEOG seat outright). By contrast and as noted above, the African regional electoral group always produces a slate of consensus candidates from the region that are then endorsed by the rest of the General Assembly. To understand how regional groups influence participation in a wide array of UN bodies in practice, formal regional organizations are a poor guide.

3.2 Regional Organizations as Observers in UN Diplomacy

The status of a permanent observer is based purely on practice, and there are no provisions for it in the UN Charter. Louise Fawcett notes that the Charter is "deliberately imprecise and all-encompassing in its definition of regional agencies; any regional or sub-regional group of which the UN approves may qualify for observer status." (20) Eleven regional or interregional organizations maintain permanent observer missions in New York, (21) and the vast majority of the more than eighty observers that are represented by Member States holding a rotating chairship (rather than permanent representation) have regionalized membership. (22) While the UN has evolved over the years to incorporate other sorts of actors such as observers (though not other kinds of members), this question about the proper role for regions lies at the heart of the debate over the relationship between regions, regional organizations, and the UN.

Regional organizations have an existence outside the UN context, with their own constitutional and legal foundations as well as their own practices. The General Assembly grants observer status to regional and international organizations by passing a resolution; this status results not from Charter rules, but through practice. The General Assembly granted observer status to the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1948, the League of Arab States in 1950, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1965, the European Economic Community in 1974, and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in 1993, for instance.

Some scholars have observed an increased regionalization of negotiations within international institutions and place regional actors at the center of this activity. (23) Of course, a key question is whether the organizations reinforce or undermine one another. (24) Diana Panke, Stefan Lang, and Anke Weidemann's finding is important: not all regional organizations are equally active politically within the UN. (25) They found that regional organizations such as the EU, Gulf Cooperation Council, and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) present more joint statements than the Shanghai Cooperation Council or Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), for instance.

3.2.1 The EU as an Observer at the UN

The EU is an outlier among the regional observers at the General Assembly. It not only is among the most cohesive groups presenting the most statements at the General Assembly; it has a unique, enhanced observer status. (26) When the 2009 Lisbon Treaty required that the newly established EU delegation--rather than the EU Member State holding the rotating presidency--represent the EU at the UN, this created a problem. Prior to the Lisbon Treaty, the EU was represented at the UN by a Member State holding the six-month rotating presidency of the EU; this EU Member State was also a member of the UN in its own right. Because this UN Member State represented a "regional bloc," the EU was often among the first to speak based on General Assembly practices. After the Lisbon Treaty, the new EU delegation inherited the more limited rights of the European Commission's observer status, which meant that the EU--now represented by the EU delegation--could speak only after all UN Member Stares had spoken. Inheriting the commission's observer status would not guarantee the EU a right to a seat at General Assembly sessions or conferences as was the case when EU Member States represented the EU at the UN; neither would it allow the right to raise points of order or the right of reply, the right to circulate papers directly, the right to cosponsor resolutions, the right of initiative, nor of course the right to vote, a privilege remaining reserved for Member States.

The EU commenced a campaign to have a General Assembly resolution passed that would confer enhanced observer status to the EU so that the EU delegation could represent the regional group in a manner similar to how EU Member States had previously. Resistance was strong among Member States from other regional organizations with observer status, especially CARICOM, which felt that the EU enhanced observer status request would undermine the practices and principles of sovereign equality and the practices of regional observer status. (27) This resistance led to the General Assembly deferring the motion in September 2010. After a great deal of coordinated pressure by EU Member States, with several rounds of demarches dispatched to the capitals of reticent countries, the resolution granting enhanced status was passed in May 2011. Despite the wording in the final resolution stipulating that any regional organization that wished to be similarly represented could pursue a similar resolution, no other regional organization has sought to obtain enhanced observer status, preferring to function as most regional organizations typically have in UN practice, with representation of the regional organization determined by Member States of the regional organization.

3.3 Political Caucusing Groups--Regional, Cross-Regional, and Single Issue

In multilateral diplomacy and negotiations, political groupings shape outcomes through caucusing. (28) Political groups may include regionalized groups such as the Nordic Group, broad, cross-regional political groups such as the Group of 77 or the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), as well as looser single-issue, cross-regional groups such as the Alliance of Small Island States, the New Agenda Coalition, or various friends groups. (29) Some like the OIC have UN observer status and have permanent staff, while others like the Nordic Group are scarcely institutionalized and leave a light footprint. Helen Leigh-Phippard notes that these groups--regional or interest based, standing, or ad hoc--coalesce differently across the multilateral landscape. "The precise configuration of coalitions operating at any given conference will depend on the issues under consideration. And while coalitions are more usually composed of either developed or developing states, they can in some circumstances embrace both." (30)

Unlike electoral groups, political groups are not mandated or constrained by UN rules (except for those with observer status), and unlike regional organizations that have a constitutional existence of their own, these political groups often emerge from and remain embedded in the UN's multilateral processes. One of the most notable attributes of informal political groups in multilateral processes is their fluidity. Groups can emerge and evolve. The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) group, which was active in climate negotiations in the 2000s, has morphed into the cross-regional Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), which has increasingly been dominated by regional subgroupings, the Pacific Island States and the Caribbean States, which have their own formal regional organizations. The Middle East electoral group coalesced into the Arab League, which continues to have a political function, but no longer a formal, electoral one in the UN. On the other hand, some political groups are long-standing and continue to function even as the original conditions that prompted emergence fade. For example, the Non-Aligned Movement remains active on issues such as the Western Sahara even after the Cold War divisions that prompted its creation have long faded. Membership of groups also changes. The cross-regional Group of 77 developing states is now the Group of 77 and China. Sweden, for instance, was an early and active member of the New Agenda Coalition, which is active on disarmament issues, but has since withdrawn and is active now in other groups.

Extensive regional and group interaction in conference and General Assembly negotiations create patterns in diplomatic interaction and practice at the UN that scholars have not yet fully analyzed. Observers of the UN make frequent reference to these groups, (31) but only recently there has been systematic study or conceptual analysis of such diplomatic groups. (32) While sometimes fluid in membership, political caucusing groups typically reflect a regional or cross-regional dimension. Long-standing regional groupings tend to have several issues in common (e.g., the African Group) which adds to their longevity while single-issue groups focus their coordination on one issue (nonproliferation, agriculture, and so forth) and seek to create cross-regional alliances to bolster legitimacy claims. In both cases, regional dynamics are part of the political calculus.

3.3.1 The EU among Regionalized Political Groups Despite--or perhaps because of--having obtained enhanced observer status, the EU does not easily align with the regional dynamics we see among the more informal political groupings. The EU is certainly among the regional groups with broad preference homogeneity across many negotiation issues. It boosts of perhaps the highest voting cohesion among political groups. It is a high-profile political group on human rights issues, for instance. (33)

However, the EU is notable among political groups for not being informal or fluid, but rather rigid in its discipline. The Lisbon Treaty provides a legal basis for the EU delegation to play a key role in the years to come in fighting for collective EU interests in UN diplomacy. Member States may make supporting interventions, but they may not take positions contrary to the agreed EU position. If the EU does not have a common position (e.g., on disarmament or Security Council reform), Member States' diplomats may caucus in other single-issue or political groupings.

This rigidity diverges from the practice of other regional groupings. For instance, in climate negotiations and debates in the UN, a common statement by the Alliance of Small Island States may exist alongside another from CARICOM (most of whom are also members of AOSIS) and the Pacific Island Forum. Members of AOSIS are free to affiliate and negotiate through a variety of political groups simultaneously, regional or not. The legal foundation for the EU's political diplomacy stands in stark contrast to the greater fluidity of other political and caucusing groups. The rigidity of the EU as a political group can cause resistance; Robert Kissack notes that EU Member States chose to downplay the EU label while negotiating a moratorium on the death penalty in the General Assembly. (34) Formal regional organizations do not have a monopoly on regional dynamics in multilateral negotiations, though the EU does exercise rigid discipline in areas of agreed policies for its own Member States.

3.4 Cochairs and Facilitators

One of the most interesting developments to emerge in diplomatic practice is the role of cochairs and facilitators assigned to shepherd specific UN negotiations. (35) Chairs can be understood as neutral institutional roles to preside over conference negotiations and ensure rules of procedure, but increasingly within the General Assembly the practice has evolved into a more entrepreneurial version of chairship. Often termed facilitation, this involves actively engaging in the negotiation process to foster consensus among different political groups engaged in negotiations. Facilitators are often paired, and recent practice has the president of the General Assembly appointing two ambassadors from UN Member States to guide particular negotiation processes, typically one from the more developed regions of the world and one from the developing world. The practice of selecting facilitators reflects not only a diplomat's expertise on an issue, but the experience that cochairs/facilitators have of the political landscape of negotiations. Simultaneously, however, facilitators must maintain a distance from regional and political affiliations to more effectively broker compromise and consensus.

When serving in this role, facilitators are expected to serve a brokering role rather than pursuit of national or regional political interests. However, the logic of cofacilitation suggests that cochairs are often selected based on the logic of ensuring diverse points of view. While the regional dynamic is less clearly pronounced in this practice, a review of the appointment of facilitators shows that the practice of equitable geographic distribution influences facilitation appointments. (36)

3.4.1 The EU in Facilitation or Cochairing Negotiations The EU as a regional organization with enhanced observer status is poorly placed to serve in a facilitation or cochair role, though EU Member States often do in a national capacity. There are several reasons for this. First, the practice has emerged that only Member States may hold this facilitation role, and because the EU is an (enhanced) observer, the EU head of delegation cannot be selected for a facilitation role by the United Nations President of the General Assembly. Secondly, the Lisbon Treaty provides that the EU delegation is tasked with serving as the permanent representative for a collective EU position in UN diplomacy; it would strain the objective of the Lisbon Treaty if the delegation should move beyond what has been agreed within Europe to broker broader compromise as is required of a facilitator. This is less of an issue for other political or regional groups, where chairing a regional group is an exercise of primus inter pares, which is rarely permanent. Chairs rotate among Member States for regional or single-issue political groups. Previous leaders of regional or political groups can be effective facilitators because they know the politics of a negotiation and can work to build broader consensus. Moving beyond the agreed position of the EU would put the EU delegation in a tenuous position. Indeed, according to one diplomat interviewed, an EU Member State diplomat selected for a role for facilitation informed the EU head of delegation that she had to maintain her distance from EU coordination processes to maintain her integrity as a facilitator. (37)

EU Member State delegations, however, are perhaps disproportionately represented among the list of facilitators and cochairs. It is on the one hand the EU's commitment to UN multilateralism that makes them desirable partners, but it must be noted that they serve as facilitators in their national capacity, not as EU representatives. This important regionalized practice is distinct from the important role that the E U as a regional organization can play in UN diplomacy.

4 Conclusion

UN multilateralism--particularly, the General Assembly--has a unique political context that privileges Member States' diplomacy, but encourages the aggregation of interests and collective legitimation. Groups--and particularly regional groups--not only aggregate interests and facilitate negotiation processes, they can also be obstacles. This article has shown how the evolving practice of facilitation and the appointment of negotiation cochairs simultaneously acknowledge the role of regionalism in appointing negotiators from diverse regions to bridge those very regional divides and foster cross-regional consensus. Regionalism suffuses a number of multilateral practices at the UN, but conflating regional practices with the role of formal regional organizations or formal Charter provisions for regionalism obscures the dynamism of regionalism in UN multilateralism.

More significantly, analyzing regionalism in UN multilateralism by focusing on formal organizations blinds us to important diplomatic practices as sources of change in UN politics. The focus on formal regional organizations as actors with or in the UN contributes to what Patrick Thaddeus Jackson and Daniel H. Nexon have termed the "substantialist" orientation of most international relations theory. (38) In understanding the role of regionalism at the UN, we have an overreliance on formal organizations and legal provisions under the Charter, and the discussion presented above suggests why this is problematic. First, formal organizations participate in varied, but particular, ways. The EU as the most regionally integrated organization--which is typical in the literature on the relationship between the UN and regional organizations--would provide a distorted view of the role of regional organizations and UN diplomatic practices. No other regional organization has followed the EU down the path of enhanced observer. Secondly, by focusing on formal regional organizations like the EU, important regionalized practices in UN multilateralism where the EU is marginalized may well be ignored. Electoral groups play important and often politicized roles in UN diplomacy, but they are not studied frequently by scholars focusing on formal regional organizations. In addition, facilitation roles have become institutionalized in UN diplomacy and facilitators are selected according to a rough approximation of equitable geographic distribution; a focus on formal regional organizations would miss this regionalized practice. Scholars can do far more to understand how UN diplomacy is informed not just by formal regional organizations, but also by ideas and practices of regionalism. This requires deep fieldwork and close observation of UN diplomacy, but our knowledge of regionalism in UN multilateralism is stunted without it.

Finally, approaching regionalism from a practice perspective provides a very different and much more dynamic view of UN multilateralism. The regionalized practices described above reveal a great deal more creativity and change than is typically associated with the UN through analysis of the Charter or its relations with formal regional organizations. UN reform, of the Security Council above all, is now more than two decades old. The stalemate in the formal institutional reform process obscures the substantial political changes that have occurred in diplomatic practice. Bloc politics led to the creation of cross-regional, single-issue political groups to break deadlocks; the creation of facilitators to guide difficult and complex negotiations between regional groupings is another multilateral diplomatic innovation. Innovations in UN multilateralism do emerge from the day-to-day practice of multilateral diplomacy, and regionalism has suffused UN multilateral practices in ways unforeseen in the Charter and unacknowledged by our focus on formal regional organizations. Applying a practice lens to regionalism at the UN allows us to see the innovations and changes that have evolved in an organization often depicted as sclerotic. As the UN approaches its 75th anniversary, the acknowledgment of such innovation in UN multilateral practices is long overdue.


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UNPGA (United Nations President of the General Assembly). "Appointment of Co-Facilitators and Co-Chairs." 2018-2019.

Katie Verlin Laatikainen

Adelphi University, Garden City, NY, USA

(1) Important exceptions to this observation exist. Two early analyses of regionalism and the United Nations include Haas 1956 and Wilcox 1965. More recent treatments include Van Langenhove and Costea 2005 and De Lombaerde, Baert, and Felicio 2012.

(2) Schreuer 1995.

(3) The classic articulation of interorganizationalism in international relations is Jonsson 1986. A more recent compendium is Biermann and Koops 2017.

(4) Pouliot 2016; Melissen 2011.

(5) Sending, Pouliot, and Neumann 2015, 7.

(6) Hettne and Soderbaum 2000; Fawcett 2004; Hanggi, Roloff, and Ruland 2006; Sbderbaum and Van Langenhove 2005; Van Langenhove and Costea 2005; De Lombaerde, Baert, and Felicio 2012; Bert, Scaramagli, and Soderbaum 2014; De Lombaerde, Soderbaum, and Wunderlich 2015.

(7) Panke, Wiedemann, and Lang 2018, 224.

(8) Thakur 1999, 3-4.

(9) Schreuer 1995, 482.

(10) Schreuer 1995, 478; See also Wilcox 1965.

(11) The Economic Commission for Europe and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific were established in 1947. The Economic Commission of the Latin America and the Caribbean was established one year later, while the Economic Commission for Africa was established in 1958 and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia was established in 1973.

(12) Schreuer 1995, 479.

(13) Smith and Laatikainen 2020.

(14) Daws 1999.

(15) O'Brien 1999.

(16) Kirkpatrick 2007.

(17) Daws 1999, 16.

(18) Laatikainen 2017.

(19) Kirkpatrick 2007.

(20) Fawcett 2004, 434.

(21) African Union, Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization, Caribbean Community, Central American Integration System, Commonwealth Secretariat, Gulf Cooperation Council, Economic Community of Western African States, European Union, International Organization of la Francophonie, League of Arab States, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

(22) UN Permanent Observers: Intergovernmental and Other Organizations. 2020.

(23) Krickovic 2015; Panke 2013.

(24) Simmons and Martin 2002.

(25) Panke, Lang, and Wiedemann 2015.

(26) Blavoukos and Bourantonis 2017.

(27) Serrano de Haro 2012.

(28) Smith and Laatikainen 2020.

(29) Whitfield 2010.

(30) Leigh-Phippard 1999, p. 96; Prantl 2006.

(31) Endeley 2009; Laatikainen 2003; Weiss 2009; Braveboy-Wagner 2010.

(32) Smith and Laatikainen 2020.

(33) Smith 2017.

(34) Kissack 2010.

(35) Blavoukos and Bourantonis 2011; Tallberg 2006; Odell 2005; Elgstrom 2003.

(36) UNPGA 2018-2019.

(37) Laatikainen 2015, 212.

(38) Jackson and Nexon 1999.

TABLE 1 The European Union in regional practices at the UN

UN regionalism     Relation to UN           Examples
/regionalized      multilateralism

1. Regional        To assure                - Africa Group
electoral groups   equitable                - Asia Group
                   geographic               - Eastern European Group
                   distribution of          - Latin American and
                   seats in                   Caribbean Group
                   limited                  - Western European and
                   membership                 Other Group
                   of the UN
2. Formal          To cooperate             - European Union
regional           interorganizationally;   - African Union
organizations as   ROs have                 - Association of Southeast
observers          autonomous existence       Asian Nations
                   outside of the UN;       - Caribbean Community
                   relations with             (CARICOM)
                   UN may be
                   shaped by
                   Chapter VIII
                   of the UN
                   Charter; ROs
                   have varying
                   levels of
3. Regionalized    To pursue collective     - African Group
political groups   interests in UN          - Group of 77 and China
                   deliberations;           - Nordic Group
                   largely functions        - Non-Aligned Movement
                   within UN                - Canada, Australia and New
                   multilateralism;           Zealand (CANZ)
                   multiple areas of
                   collective agreement
4. Single-issue    Small groups             - Friends of R2P
political groups   of states                - Cairns Group
(cross-regional)   from different             (agriculture)
                   geographic               - Alliance of Small Island
                   regions that share a       States (climate change)
                   strong common            - New Agenda Coalition
                   position                   (disarmament)
                   in negotiations; often
                   working with
                   organizations and
                   experts; contact
                   for mediation efforts
5. Cochairs and    Two ambassadors          "2030 Agenda for Sustainable
negotiation        appointed by the         Development" cochairs Amb.
facilitators       UNPGA,                   Olof Skoog (Sweden) and Amb.
                   facilitators or          Sheila Carey (Bahamas)
                   cochairs are             (2018)
                   from Global
                   North and
                   Global South
                   to facilitate

UN regionalism/regionalized   EU as formal regional organization in
practices                     relation to UN regionalism/regional

1. Regional                   The EU is divided among three electoral
electoral groups              groups (WEOG, EEG, and Asia); WEOG
                              candidatures are contested, though
                              sometimes shared (Italian and the
                              Netherlands seat on the UN Security
                              Council). No intersection between formal
                              regions and informal practices
2. Formal                     EU enhanced observer status campaign was
regional                      contested vigorously by other regional
organizations as              groups such as CARICOM; to date no other
observers                     regional integration organization has
                              sought or obtained enhanced observer
3. Regionalized               The E U Member States are obliged to act
political groups              as a disciplined negotiating bloc in areas
                              of agreed policy such as climate; Member
                              States may seek other group affiliations
                              when there is no agreed policy (e.g.,
                              Nordic Group)
4. Single-issue               EU as an actor is sidelined as EU member
political groups              states participate in different
(cross-regional)              cross-regional groups; EU seeks
                              cross-regional alliances (e.g., death
                              penalty); AOSIS divided between regional
                              grouping--Caribbean and Pacific Island
5. Cochairs and               EU delegation is not able to serve as
negotiation                   cochair or facilitator; EU Member States
facilitators                  often selected because they are affiliated
                              with a major political grouping and can
                              "bring the rest along"

Note: EU, European Union; ROs, regional organizations; UNPGA, United
Nations President of the General Assembly; R2P, Responsibility to
Protect; WEOG, West European and Other Group; EEG, Eastern European
Group; AO SIS, Alliance of Small Island States.
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Author:Laatikainen, Katie Verlin
Publication:Global Governance
Geographic Code:4E0WE
Date:Apr 1, 2020
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