The Global Health Security Agenda in an Age of Biosecurity

JAMA, Vol. 312, No. 1, pp. 27-28, 2014

3 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2014 Last revised: 4 Jul 2014

See all articles by Lawrence O. Gostin

Lawrence O. Gostin

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

Alexandra Phelan

Center for Global Health Science & Security; Georgetown University, Law Center

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Historically, the Oval Office has been a leader in global health assistance. From the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) under the Bush Administration, to the Global Health Initiative launched by President Obama in 2009. However, unlike PEPFAR and PMI, the Global Health Initiative met an untimely end with the launch of a bold new global health measure by the Obama Administration: the Global Health Security Agenda (GHS Agenda). The GHS Agenda aims to “accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats” through a US-led diplomatic collaboration with 30 countries, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and public/private entities.

The intertwining of global health and security follows a line of international agreements, including the revised International Health Regulations (2005), aimed at improving surveillance and response to public health emergencies of international concern. By mid-2012 however, only 22% of WHO member states had implemented the required core competencies. The GHS Agenda aims to address these global deficiencies in infectious disease preparedness. In doing so, the United States faces formidable obstacles including America’s lack of legal legitimacy in setting global norms, as well as the same domestic coordination difficulties that resulted in the dissolution of the Global Health Initiative, and the potential impediment of passing the President’s budget through a hostile Congress. While the securitization of global health has its criticisms, it also has the potential to be transformative, succeeding where international organizations have not always been able to, building a safer and healthier world.

Keywords: biosecurity, global health security, global health initiative, GHS agenda

JEL Classification: K00, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Gostin, Lawrence O. and Phelan, Alexandra, The Global Health Security Agenda in an Age of Biosecurity (2014). JAMA, Vol. 312, No. 1, pp. 27-28, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2461850

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)

Alexandra Phelan

Center for Global Health Science & Security

3900 Reservoir Road, N.W.
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Georgetown University, Law Center ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

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