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UN 101

The foxes are guarding the chicken coop

The majority of UN member states are not full-fledged democracies.

Number of UN member states that are full-fledged democracies or "fully free" according to Freedom House: 87

Number of UN member states: 193

Percentage of UN member states which are full-fledged democracies: 45%

UN Members

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Andorra
  • Angola
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Costa Rica
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Democratic People's Republic of Korea
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Denmark
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia,
    (Federated States of)
  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Republic of Korea
  • Republic of Moldova
  • Republic of Montenegro
  • Republic of Serbia
  • Romania
  • Russian Federation
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • São Tomé and Príncipe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Swaziland
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syrian Arab Republic
  • Tajikistan
  • Thailand
  • The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • United Republic of Tanzania
  • United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe


The rules of the game: one (undemocratic or democratic) state - one vote

Intergovernmental groups and alliances are extremely important actors within the UN system. Much of the operations of the UN, including appointments and elections to UN bodies, closed-door negotiations, and information-sharing sessions, take place in the context of five regional groups. Other intergovernmental coalitions also play key roles in determining UN priorities and outcomes. The influence of these coalitions, however, has no connection to the degree to which they adhere to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. For example, the current chair of the "non-aligned movement" - which includes a majority of UN member states - is Iran.

Total: 193 UN member states

Regional Groups

Asian Group 54
African Group 54
Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) 33
Western European and Others Group (WEOG) 29 (United States is here)
Eastern European Group (CEIT) 23


Other Groups

G77 & China 132 (69% of UN members)
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) 119 (61% of UN members)
Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) 56 (largest bloc in NAM & G-77)
League of Arab States 21 (largest bloc in OIC)
African Union 54
European Union (EU) 28
JUSCANZ (sub-set of the WEOG) 14/15 (United States is here)


Regional groups

The United Nations is unofficially divided into five regional groupings. 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 the Western European and Others Group (WEOG), the Eastern European Group (now referred to as CEIT - countries with economies in transition), Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), the Asian Group and the African Group. The breakdown of numbers of UN member states is: WEOG 29, CEIT, 23, GRULAC, 33, Asian 54 and African 54. The United States is not a member of any regional group, but attends meetings of WEOG and is a member for electoral purposes.

The African Group includes the following countries: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte D'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of South Sudan, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Asian Group includes Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Yemen.

The Eastern European Group (CEIT) includes Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine.

The Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC) include Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The Western European and Other Group (WEOG) includes Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom. Except for exclusion from the International Atomic Energy Agency, Israel is a member of WEOG in most UN fora, agencies, and bodies, although in some cases its membership is "temporary" until such time as the Asian regional group (Israel's geographic location) admits it. Although the United States is not officially in WEOG, for all practical purposes it is a full member.

Other bodies or groups functioning within the UN system:

The G77 & China is a loosely affiliated group of developing countries whose goal is to advance the economic well-being of the Third World. The Group of 77 was established in 1964. They called themselves the largest Third World coalition in the United Nations. It now numbers 132 UN members: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte D'Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was originally formed as a bloc of countries that would remain neutral during the Cold War. It is "non-aligned" in name only and operates as a voting and negotiating bloc throughout the UN system. The NAM held its first gathering of heads of government in 1961. It includes 119 UN member states: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Democratic People's Republic of the Congo, Côte D'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, United Republic of Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is intended to work together to promote the interest of Muslims worldwide, or in its words, the focus of the OIC includes "Islamic solidarity" and "non-interference in the internal affairs of member states." The OIC is the largest single subset of both the G-77 and the NAM. It was established in 1969 and now includes 56 UN member states: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Côte D'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen.

The League of Arab States, focusing on cooperation and stronger relationships among its member states, is the largest bloc within the OIC and includes 21 UN member states: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

The European Union (EU) is an international organization that coordinates cooperation among member states on issues such as trade, development and security, and includes 28 UN member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, United Kingdom. (Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are candidate countries but no date has been set for them to become a member state. Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo are potential candidate countries.)

The African Union, formerly the Organization of African Unity, formed to encourage independence, and advancing stability, development, trade and the well-being of the African continent, includes 54 UN member states: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte D'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry (Guinea), Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of South Sudan, Rwanda, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. (Morocco has chosen not to be a member because of the membership of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara).)

JUSCANZ – a sub-set of the WEOG regional group, is usually comprised of 14 or 15 UN member states: Japan, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Andorra, Korea, Liechtenstein, Mexico, San Marino, Turkey and sometimes Israel.

Official UN inter-governmental entities and organizations:

Intergovernmental organizations have sought to associate themselves formally with the UN in order to influence the UN political landscape. Intergovernmental entities or organizations which have been granted the ability to participate as officially recognized observers in the sessions and work of the General Assembly are: African and Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, African Union, Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization, Andean Community, Association of Caribbean States, Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, Caribbean Community, Collective Security Treaty Organization, Commonwealth of Independent States, Commonwealth Secretariat, Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries, Community of Sahelo-Saharan States, Council of Europe, Central American Integration System, Customs Cooperation Council, East African Community, Economic Community of Central African States, Economic Community of West African States, Economic Cooperation Organization, Eurasian Economic Community, European Community, European Union, GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Moldova), International Centre for Migration Policy Development, International Development Law Institute, International Hydrographic Organization, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, International Organization for Migration, International Organization of la Francophonie, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Latin American Economic System, Latin American Parliament, League of Arab States, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Organization for Eastern Caribbean States, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization of American States, Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum, Partners in Population and Development, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Southern African Development Community. Very few of these intergovernmental entities and organizations include the United States.