Assessing Proposals for New Global Health Treaties: An Analytic Framework

American Journal of Public Health, 105:8 (August 2015)

Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2016-08

10 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2016 Last revised: 4 May 2016

See all articles by Steven Hoffman

Steven Hoffman

York University; Harvard University

John-Arne Røttingen

Norwegian Knowledge Center for the Health Services

Julio Frenk

Harvard University - T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Date Written: May 2016

Abstract

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, there is great pressure for new international treaties to address various health challenges. However, it is unclear how effective these types of treaties are in addressing global health challenges in fact they may be totally inappropriate in certain circumstances. We have presented an analytic framework and four criteria for assessing when global health treaties have reasonable prospects of yielding net positive effects. First, there should be a significant transnational dimension to the problem. Second, the goal and expected benefits should justify the coercive nature of treaties. Third, proposed international treaties should have a reasonable chance of achieving benefits. Fourth, treaties should be the best commitment mechanism among the many competing alternatives. When applying this framework to the current calls for global health treaties none fully met the four criteria. Efforts aiming to better use or revise existing international instruments may be more productive than advocating for new treaties.

Keywords: world, interconnected, globalization, health, international, security, treaty, treaties, transnational, dimension, framework, instruments

Suggested Citation

Hoffman, Steven and Røttingen, John-Arne and Frenk, Julio, Assessing Proposals for New Global Health Treaties: An Analytic Framework (May 2016). American Journal of Public Health, 105:8 (August 2015); Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2016-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2702520

Steven Hoffman (Contact Author)

York University ( email )

Global Strategy Lab
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada
+1-416-736-2100 ext 33364 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.globalstrategylab.org/people/steven-hoffman

Harvard University ( email )

Department of Global Health & Population
665 Huntington Avenue, Building 1, Room 1104
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/steven-hoffman/

John-Arne Røttingen

Norwegian Knowledge Center for the Health Services ( email )

Norway

Julio Frenk

Harvard University - T.H. Chan School of Public Health ( email )

677 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02115
United States

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