Advancing the Right to Health Through Global Organizations: The Potential Role of a Framework Convention on Global Health

Health and Human Rights, Vol. 15, pp. 71-86, 2013

Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 13-056

17 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2013  

Eric Friedman

Georgetown University Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

Kent Buse

UNAIDS

Date Written: June 2013

Abstract

Organizations, partnerships, and alliances form the building blocks of global governance. Global health organizations thus have the potential to play a formative role in determining the extent to which people are able to realize their right to health.

This article examines how major global health organizations, such as WHO, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, UNAIDS, and GAVI approach human rights concerns, including equality, accountability, and inclusive participation. We argue that organizational support for the right to health must transition from ad hoc and partial to permanent and comprehensive.

Drawing on the literature and our knowledge of global health organizations, we offer good practices that point to ways in which such agencies can advance the right to health, covering nine areas: 1) participation and representation in governance processes; 2) leadership and organizational ethos; 3) internal policies; 4) norm-setting and promotion; 5) organizational leadership through advocacy and communication; 6) monitoring and accountability; 7) capacity building; 8) funding policies; and 9) partnerships and engagement. In each of these areas, we offer elements of a proposed Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH), which would commit state parties to support these standards through their board membership and other interactions with these agencies. We also explain how the FCGH could incorporate these organizations into its overall financing framework, initiate a new forum where they collaborate with each other, as well as organizations in other regimes, to advance the right to health, and ensure sufficient funding for right to health capacity building.

We urge major global health organizations to follow the leadership of the UN Secretary-General and UNAIDS to champion the FCGH. It is only through a rights-based approach, enshrined in a new Convention, that we can expect to achieve health for all in our lifetimes.

Keywords: global health, health inequalities, health disparities, global health governance, global health priorities, international health responsibilities

JEL Classification: K00, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Eric and Gostin, Lawrence O. and Buse, Kent, Advancing the Right to Health Through Global Organizations: The Potential Role of a Framework Convention on Global Health (June 2013). Health and Human Rights, Vol. 15, pp. 71-86, 2013; Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 13-056. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2281470

Eric Friedman

Georgetown University Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Lawrence O. Gostin (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9038 (Phone)
202-662-9055 (Fax)

Kent Buse

UNAIDS ( email )

Geneva
Switzerland

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