The WHO in Global Food Safety Governance: A Preliminary Mapping of its Normative Capacities and Activities
International Food Law and Policy (Gabriella Steier & Kiran Patel eds., 2016 Forthcoming)
18 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2016
Date Written: December 15, 2015
The WHO is generally regarded as the first appropriate international body to play a crucial role in international cooperation of food safety governance, since such normative activity is within the ordinary understanding of the WHO’s public health authority and mandates. WHO member states have recognized that ensuring food safety constitutes an essential and priority public health function. The broad mandates and normative tools assigned to the WHO by its Constitution empower the WHO to actively engage in and provide leadership in global food safety governance. This paper examines the normative functions of the WHO in ensuring food safety as an essential component in the broader context of achieving public health across the globe. After reviewing the normative functions of the WHO, it further looks at the agency’s normative activities on the ground, that is, what influences the WHO has in shaping and reshaping global food safety governance. This paper points out the origins and repercussions of the clear and enduring gap between the normative capacities and activities of the WHO, and concludes by offering a few recommendations for a stronger pivotal role in global food safety governance.
Keywords: food safety, WHO, global health governance
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