The Western European and Others Group (WEOG) is one of five unofficial Regional Groups in the United Nations that act as voting blocs and negotiation forums. Regional voting blocs were formed in 1961 to encourage voting to various UN bodies from regional groups. As of 2010, there are 28 member states, plus one observer. Almost all members are in Western Europe, but the WEOG is unusual in that geography is not the sole defining factor; Europe is divided between the WEOG and the Eastern European Group, and the WEOG also contains Canada, Australia, New Zealand, which are culturally and politically descended from Western European states but are located far away from them. Israel is also a permanent member, due to its strong cultural and historical links with Western Europe and its inability to join the Asian Group due to opposition by Arab countries. The group also contains one observer, the United States, which has voluntarily chosen not to participate as a member, and attends meetings as an observer only. However, it is considered to be a member for putting forward candidates for electoral purposes in the United Nations General Assembly.Turkey participates fully in both the WEOG and the Asian Group, but for electoral purposes is considered a member of the WEOG only.
In 2000, the first anniversary of Nauru's UN membership in the Asian Group prompted a call by that country for a new Oceania regional grouping including Australia and New Zealand within the United Nations regional voting system.
A related group is JUSCANZ. This is an alliance of Japan, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and others. It essentially includes most major non-European Union members of the WEOG, plus Japan. It ensures the European Union is not able to dominate WEOG discussions and proposals.
Quotas for the five regional groups ensure that for most elections to UN bodies the number of seats available to members of the WEOG is set. For example, two of the ten non-permanent seats of the Security Council are reserved for states from the WEOG. Similarly, 13 of ECOSOC's 54 members come from the WEOG. Seven of the 47 seats on the United Nations Human Rights Council go to the WEOG.
Israel is geographically located in Asia, but the Arab nations have blocked Israel from joining the Asia-Pacific Group. After years of discussions marked by opposition from key European nations (reportedly led by Ireland, Spain, and France), Israel became a temporary member of the Western Europeans and Others Group in May 2000, enabling it to put forward candidates for election to various UN General Assembly bodies. The United States Congress called for the permanent inclusion of Israel in 2004. Israel was invited to become a permanent member in 2014.
As the Western European Group changed significantly over time, the number of its members had also changed.
|Years||Number of members||Notes|
|1961-1964||20||Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States (observer) joins the WEOG.|
|1964-1973||21||Malta joins the UN.|
|1973-1990||22||West Germany joins the UN.|
|1990||23||German reunification, West Germany becomes Germany, Liechtenstein joins the UN.|
|1992||24||San Marino joins the UN as part of WEOG.|
|1993-2000||26||Monaco and Andorra join the UN as part of WEOG.|
|2000-2002||27||Israel joins the WEOG.|
|2002-present||28||Switzerland joins the UN as part of WEOG.|