Regional Power Revisited: How to Explain Differences in Coherency and Success of Regional Organizations in the United Nations General Assembly1

In: International Negotiation
Author: Diana Panke1
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The United Nations General Assembly is the International Organization (IO) with the broadest worldwide membership. While regional organizations are not members themselves, they can and often do become active through their own member states. This article addresses two questions: Do regional organizations differ in their ability to speak with one voice in IOs and, if so, why? Are some regional organizations more successful than others and, if so, why? Based on liberal theory and a mixed-methods approach, the research suggests, firstly, that regional organizations are in a better position to engage in collective action in IOs if they can develop group positions for a broad range of items. This is easier the greater the capacities and the stronger the incentives of the member states, the smaller the number of actors participating in regional organizations’ coordination meetings, and the more homogenous groups are. Secondly, regional organizations are especially successful in IOs if they have common positions that their experienced and knowledgeable member states can push via argumentative strategies and if regional organizations can rely on the larger membership when it comes to playing two-level games in UNGA negotiations (tied-hands strategy) and when it comes to voting in IOs.

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