Global Health in a Turbulence Time: A Commentary

Asian Journal of WTO & International Health Law and Policy, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 27-60, March 2020

34 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2020

See all articles by Tsung-ling Lee

Tsung-ling Lee

Center for Biomedical Ethics ; Taipei Medical University

Date Written: March 27, 2020


The emergence of the 2019 novel coronavirus—or COVID-19—outbreak has resuscitated global attention on the state of global health governance. Legal scholars and political scientists have long been fascinated by global governance of health, which had galvanized intellectual discourse that began almost two decades ago. Increasingly, global health operates in a complex, multipolar world, which is informed by pluralistic values. The ever-changing configuration of players, interests and values adds complexity to the global health landscape. It is timely to reexamine the landscape of global health, where new transnational challenges—such as galvanizing a global concerted effort towards international infectious disease control, financing global health activities in a sustainable manner, and achieving Universal Health Coverage—also inform new global health configuration. The article takes a historical view and traces the evolving of the global health landscape and examines the various of norms, processes and institutions that form global governance of health. The article also identifies the strengths and weakness of the International Health Regulations—the international legal architecture for international infectious disease control—as the novel coronavirus outbreak unfolds.

Keywords: global governance of health, universal health coverage, World Health Organization, 2019 novel coronavirus, COVID-19, the right to health

Suggested Citation

Lee, Tsung-ling and Lee, Tsung-ling, Global Health in a Turbulence Time: A Commentary (March 27, 2020). Asian Journal of WTO & International Health Law and Policy, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 27-60, March 2020, Available at SSRN:

Tsung-ling Lee (Contact Author)

Taipei Medical University ( email )

250 Wu-Hsing Street
Taipei, Taipei 110

Center for Biomedical Ethics ( email )

1E Kent Ridge Road
NUHS Tower Block Level 7
Singapore, 119228

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