The Stellenbosch Consensus on the International Legal Obligation to Collaborate and Assist in Addressing Pandemics: Clarifying Article 44 of the International Health Regulations

International Organizations Law Review (2020), DOI No: 10.1163/15723747-2020024

32 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2020 Last revised: 8 Jan 2021

See all articles by Margherita Cinà

Margherita Cinà

York University

Steven Hoffman

York University

Gian Luca Burci

University of Geneva - Graduate Institute, Geneva (IHEID)

Thana Cristina de Campos

University of Cambridge

Danwood Chirwa

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Faculty of Law

Stéphanie Dagron

University of Geneva

Mark Eccleston-Turner

Keele University, Staffordshire, United Kingdom

Lisa Forman

University of Toronto

Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

Roojin Habibi

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Benjamin Mason Meier

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Stefania Negri

University of Salerno

Gorik Ooms

Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM)

Sharifah Sekalala

University of Warwick

Allyn Taylor

University of Washington - School of Law

Alicia Ely Yamin

Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics; Harvard University - Harvard Law School; Partners in Health; Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) - Center on Law and Social Transformation

Date Written: December 2, 2020

Abstract

The International Health Regulations (IHR), of which the World Health Organization is custodian, govern how countries collectively promote global health security, including prevention, detection, and response to potential global health emergencies such as the ongoing covid-19 pandemic. While Article 44 of this binding legal instrument requires countries to collaborate and assist each other in meeting their respective obligations, recent events demonstrate that the precise nature and scope of these legal obligations are ill-understood. A shared understanding of the level and type of collaboration legally required by the IHR is a necessary step in ensuring these obligations can be acted upon and fully realized, and in fostering global solidarity and resilience in the face of future pandemics. In this consensus statement, public international law scholars specializing in global health consider the legal meaning of Article 44 using the interpretive framework of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

Keywords: Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties; treaty interpretation; international health regulations; international organizations; World Health Organization; international duty to assist; global health governance; international human rights law

Suggested Citation

Cinà, Margherita and Hoffman, Steven and Burci, Gian Luca and de Campos, Thana Cristina and Chirwa, Danwood and Dagron, Stéphanie and Eccleston-Turner, Mark and Forman, Lisa and Gostin, Lawrence O. and Habibi, Roojin and Meier, Benjamin Mason and Negri, Stefania and Ooms, Gorik and Sekalala, Sharifah and Taylor, Allyn and Yamin, Alicia Ely, The Stellenbosch Consensus on the International Legal Obligation to Collaborate and Assist in Addressing Pandemics: Clarifying Article 44 of the International Health Regulations (December 2, 2020). International Organizations Law Review (2020), DOI No: 10.1163/15723747-2020024 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3750193

Margherita Cinà

York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Steven Hoffman

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/team/steven-hoffman

Gian Luca Burci

University of Geneva - Graduate Institute, Geneva (IHEID) ( email )

Geneva
Switzerland

Thana Cristina De Campos

University of Cambridge ( email )

Trinity Ln
Cambridge, CB2 1TN
United Kingdom

Danwood Chirwa

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Private Bag
Rondebosch 7701
South Africa

Stéphanie Dagron

University of Geneva ( email )

102 Bd Carl-Vogt
Genève, CH - 1205
Switzerland

Mark Eccleston-Turner

Keele University, Staffordshire, United Kingdom ( email )

School of Politics, Philosophy, International Rela
Staffordshire, SD
United Kingdom

Lisa Forman

University of Toronto ( email )

Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G8
Canada

Lawrence O. Gostin (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9038 (Phone)
202-662-9055 (Fax)

Roojin Habibi

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Benjamin Mason Meier

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ( email )

CB 3435
103 Abernethy Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States
919-962-0542 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.benjaminmasonmeier.com/

Stefania Negri

University of Salerno ( email )

Via Giovanni Paolo II, 132
Fisciano, Salerno 84084
Italy

Gorik Ooms

Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) ( email )

Antwerp
Belgium

Sharifah Sekalala

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Allyn Taylor

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States

Alicia Ely Yamin

Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics ( email )

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02155
United States

Harvard University - Harvard Law School ( email )

1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Partners in Health ( email )

641 Huntington Ave, 1st Floor
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) - Center on Law and Social Transformation ( email )

PO Box 6033 Postterminalen
Bergen, NO-5892
Norway

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