The participation of micro-states, small in area, population and human and economic resources, may weaken an international organization. There are many small territorial entities which have achieved political independence and are thus eligible for membership in major intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations. These organizations, which subscribe to the principle of universality, have been unable to formulate criteria for a lower limit by which to exclude the smallest states which, despite their willingness, do not have the resources to permit them to participate fully in the work of such organizations.
Countries with a population of one million or less are considered micro-states, or micro-territories. There are presently some 94 that fit this definition: in the African region there are 16; in the Americas, 24; in Asia, 7; in Oceania 23; and in Europe, 24.
A great deal of caution needs to be exercised in listing together States and territories according to the criterion of their resident population. Included in lists of micro-states, for example, is the Vatican, which claims to represent several hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics world-wide, and such affluent states as Luxembourg, Monaco, and the United Arab Emirates. It is difficult to see the purpose in aggregating a list which includes such diversity as Gabon, Bermuda, Malta, Iceland, and all the island republics of Oceania. Obviously many small states can work very well in international organizations. The argument that they cannot is put forward by the bloc of developed countries that fears the democratic power of one nation-one vote international organization politics.