Each Party to the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol is represented at sessions of the Convention
bodies by a national delegation consisting of one or more officials empowered to represent and
negotiate on behalf of their government.
Based on the tradition of the United Nations, Parties are organized into five regional groups, mainly
for the purposes of electing the Bureau, namely: African States, Asian States, Eastern European
States, Latin American and the Caribbean States, and the Western European and Other States (the
"Other States" include Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the
United States of America, but not Japan, which is in the Asian Group).
The five regional groups, however, are not usually used to present the substantive interests of
Parties and several other groupings are more important for climate negotiations.
Developing countries generally work through the Group of 77 to establish common negotiating
positions. The G-77 was founded in 1964 in the context of the UN Conference on Trade and Development
(UNCTAD) and now functions throughout the UN system. As at May 2014, there are 133 members in the
Group. The country holding the Chair of the G-77 in New York (which rotates every year) often speaks
for the G-77 and China as a whole. However, because the G-77 and China is a diverse group with
differing interests on climate change issues, individual developing countries also intervenes in
debates, as do groups within the G-77, such as the African States, the Small Island Developing States
and the group of Least Developed Countries.
The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is a coalition of some 40 low-lying islands, most of which
are members of the G-77 that are particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise. SIDS countries are united
by the threat that climate change poses to their survival and frequently adopt a common stance in
negotiations. They were the first to propose a draft text during the Kyoto Protocol negotiations
calling for cuts in carbon dioxide emissions of 20% from 1990 levels by 2005.
The 48 countries defined as Least Developed Countries by the UN regularly work together in the wider
UN system. They have become increasingly active in the climate change process, often working together
to defend their particular interests, for example with regard to vulnerability and adaptation to
climate change. Previously there were 49 countries in the LDCs Group. However, in 2014 Samoa
graduated from the LDCs.
The 28 members of the European Union meet in private to agree on common negotiating positions. The
country that holds the EU Presidency - a position that rotates every six months - then speaks for the
European Union and its 28 member states. As a regional economic integration organization, the
European Union itself can be, and is, a Party to the Convention. However, it does not have a separate
vote from its members. Croatia is the latest country to join the European Union in 2013.
The Umbrella Group is a loose coalition of non-EU developed countries which formed following the
adoption of the Kyoto Protocol. Although there is no formal list, the Group is usually made up of
Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, Norway, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the
The Environmental Integrity Group (EIG), formed in 2000, comprises Mexico, Liechtenstein, Monaco, the
Republic of Korea and Switzerland.
Several other groups also work together in the climate change process, including countries from the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a group of countries of Central Asia, Caucasus,
Albania and Moldova (CACAM), the Cartagena Dialogue and the Independent Alliance of Latin America and
the Caribbean (AILAC).