Thursday 29 Sep 2022 | 08:19 | SYDNEY
Thursday 29 Sep 2022 | 08:19 | SYDNEY

Reader Riposte: A point of history about Australia place in the UN

19 October 2012 08:58

Brenton Baldwin writes:

Many writers have described the awkwardly-titled Western European and Others Group (WEOG) to which Australia belongs during its successful campaign for a UN Security Council seat; this is how that odd geographical delineation came about:

Following the enlargement of the UN Security Council  in 1965, no special provision was made for representation of the British Commonwealth countries and Australia, Canada and New Zealand were incorporated into the membership of WEOG.

Today, WEOG comprises members of the European Union (EU), non-EU Western European countries, Scandinavia, North America, Australia and New Zealand. The existence of WEOG is the unfortunate by-product of the UN's inability to reform and modernise itself. Despite the diverse background of the group's geographical membership, WEOG member states do share broadly similar levels of economic development as well as common political values.

WEOG practices a market-driven approach in determining its candidates for election to the Security Council. This method has produced a regular pattern of contested candidatures. In an effort to pre-empt rival bidding members, WEOG members have increasingly announced their candidacies for election to the Security Council further in advance, with early endorsements from fellow regional members perceived as advantageous.

To achieve desired outcomes, WEOG members have historically split into sub-groupings to campaign for each other and advance their own interests. The most prominent WEOG sub-groupings are: the Nordics (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), Benelux (Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) and CANZ, comprising Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Since 2001, no CANZ country has served as an elected member of the Security Council. New Zealand last served in 1993-1994. Canada recently failed to secure a seat on the Security Council for the 2011-12 term and has not served on the Security Council since 1999-2000. Of the three CANZ nations, Australia has easily fared the worst, having been absent from the Security Council table for almost 27 years.

This is an extract from a longer item, which can be read here.