How Many and Why? Size Variation of National Delegations to Plenary Meetings of International Organizations

  • Václav Vlček Charles University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic,
Keywords: national delegations, delegation size, plenary meeting, international organizations, international negotiations


This article provides new insights into size variation of national delegations to plenary meetings of international organizations. Plenaries are supreme decision-making bodies representing a symbol of national sovereignty as all member states of the given organization can participate in the negotiations and collective decision-making. However, this article argues that the right to participate in plenaries is utilized differently by different countries, which may have political and normative implications for international organizations and global governance as such. Drawing upon an actor-centred institutionalist approach and a newly created dataset covering seventeen plenary meetings, I suggest there is considerable variation in the delegation size caused by country-based factors. Namely, financial capacities, ideational capacities and national interests motivate states to delegate more representatives. In contrast, regional partnerships enable countries to rely on their partners and delegate fewer representatives. Finally, administrative capacities, the nature of the domestic political regime, and the institutional design of international organizations have no or only an inconclusive effect in this regard.

Author Biography

Václav Vlček, Charles University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic,

Václav Vlček is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Political Studies, the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University. His areas of interest are international organizations and the European Union. In his recent research, he focuses on national delegations to plenary meetings of international organizations and ministers’ participation in the Council of the EU meetings.

Research Articles