Dark Sides of the Proposed Framework Convention on Global Health's Many Virtues: A Systematic Review and Critical Analysis

Health and Human Rights, June 2013, Vol. 15 No. 1

18 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2016

See all articles by Steven Hoffman

Steven Hoffman

York University; Harvard University

John-Arne Røttingen

Norwegian Knowledge Center for the Health Services

Date Written: June 2013

Abstract

The costs of any proposal for new international law must be fully evaluated and compare with benefits and competing alternatives to ensure adoption will not create more problems than solutions. A systematic review of the research literature was conducted to categorize and assess limitations and unintended negative consequences associated with the proposed Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH). A critical analysis then interpreted these findings using economic, ethical, legal, and political science perspectives. Of the 442 documents retrieved, nine met the inclusion criteria. Collectively, these documents highlighted that an FCGH could duplicate other efforts, lack feasibility, and have questionable impact. The critical analysis reveals that negative consequences can result from the FCGH’s proposed form of international law and proposed functions of influencing national budgets, realizing health rights and resetting global governance for health. These include the direct costs of international law, opportunity costs, reducing political dialogue by legalizing political interactions, petrifying principles that may have only contemporary relevance, imposing foreign values on less powerful countries, forcing externally defined goals on countries, prioritizing individual rights over population-wide well-being, further complicating global governance for health, weakening the World Health Organization (WHO), reducing participation opportunities for non-state actors, and offering sub-optimal solutions for global health challenges. Four options for revising the FCGH proposal are developed to address its weaknesses and strengthen its potential for impact. These include: 1) abandoning international law as the primary commitment mechanism and instead pursuing agreement towards a less formal “framework for global health”; 2) seeking fundamental constitutional reform of WHO to address gaps in global governance for health; 3) mobilizing for a separate political platform that completely bypasses WHO; or 4) narrowing the scope of sought changes to one particular governance issues such as financing for global health needs.

Keywords: international, law, global, health, world, organization, WHO, framework, convention, FCGH, political, foreign, policy, constitution, reform

Suggested Citation

Hoffman, Steven and Røttingen, John-Arne, Dark Sides of the Proposed Framework Convention on Global Health's Many Virtues: A Systematic Review and Critical Analysis (June 2013). Health and Human Rights, June 2013, Vol. 15 No. 1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2726375

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

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