Regionalism and Health Policy in South America: Tackling Germs, Brokering Norms and Contesting Power
25 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2014
Date Written: July 2014
Since the creation of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), health became a strategic driver in regional politics in South America in two ways: by redefining trans-border practices through health policies and institutions within the region; and by projecting (regional) health policies through global interventions. The paper explores these dynamics in relation to UNASUR’s policies towards access to medicine, inclusion, and demands for better governance at the World Health Organisation. It argues that regional organisations like UANSUR are significant actors in on-going attempts to address and mitigate trans-border social harms, contributing with innovative regulatory frameworks and different mechanisms of socialisation and engagement that can significant impact national policy making and management in health. But it is also argued that the significance of regional health governance as promoted by UNASUR has to be seen not only as a framework for the promotion of ‘regulatory regionalism’ (Hameiri and Jayasuriya 2009) in public health, but also for ‘regional health diplomacy’ brokering new norms and revising the terms of global health governance. This analysis hopes to contribute directly to the literature in IPE and regionalism by offering a more nuanced discussion about the links between regionalism and social policy, and new forms of regional diplomacy beyond traditional goals of trade and financial markets expansion.
Keywords: regionalism, regional health diplomacy, right to health, advocacy, UNASUR
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