Executive Course on Global Health Instruments

From 13 to 15 November 2017


Organised by the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute. 


International health instruments play an important role as tools for shaping collective responses to global health challenges. They have been under constant development and renewal for decades to address the increasing complexity of determinants and drivers of health. Further, they are closely linked to health diplomacy and governance, two other pillars of global health – as both object and outcome of multilateral and multisec­toral negotiations for health and as tools for delivering and governing health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted during the last decade the two most prominent contemporary legal health instruments: the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) as a landmark in addressing the fac­tors of non-communicable diseases and a thoroughly revised International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) as the main legal framework to prevent and control the international spread of disease, including notably the outbreaks and pandemics of communicable diseases.

These two “hard” instruments will be discussed during the course and the range of “soft” international instruments and standards will be highlighted. The regulation of crucial aspects of contemporary global health governance has been driven by such codes, frameworks, strategies, classifications etc. which often carry in practice as much weight as formally binding instruments but raise delicate questions of legitimacy and accountability. In addition, international instruments which do not directly address health but nevertheless exercise a considerable potential impact on health, for example envi­ronmental treaties, have been adopted under the umbrella of international organisations other than WHO.



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