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International efforts to promote public health1 

International efforts to promote public health1
International efforts to promote public health1

Douglas Bettcher

, Katherine DeLand

, Gemma Lien

, Fernando Gonzalez-Martinez

, Anne Huvos

, Steven Solomon

, Ulrike Schwerdtfeger

, Haik Nikogosian

, Angelika Tritscher

, and Julia Dalzell

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date: 16 May 2022

Since the nineteenth-century International Sanitary Conferences, norms, standards, agreements, and regulations have been used as governance tools in public health diplomacy. With globalization attaining an unprecedented level at the end of the twentieth century, it appeared that some public goods were increasingly difficult to provide efficiently at the state level. The reason for this is that as states increased their interconnectedness, the interrelation between domestic public goods common to the interacting states also increased. Correlatively, the singular nature of some of what were once solely domestic public goods progressively declined and the creation and maintenance of those public goods became shared enterprises. This led to the emergence of the concept of the global public good (GPG). This chapter examines the ideas of health as a GPG and international law in general, and international health instruments in particular, as intermediate GPGs utilized to protect and promote health. Through the presentation of case studies examining five international instruments, the chapter focuses on the evolution and implementation of emerging, salient international health-specific legal agreements. As the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to grow into its normative role, it is likely that additional opportunities to exercise its constitutional quasi-legislative powers will present themselves. The examples of intermediate GPGs examined in this chapter have laid a solid foundation on which WHO and its Member States may build, to continue working toward achieving the GPG of health.

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