International Law between Covid-19 and the next Pandemic
Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper No. 2022-18
The manuscript is based on the lecture given by the author on 27 May 2022 in the Distinguished Global Faculty Lecture Series at Peking University.
18 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2022 Last revised: 30 Jul 2022
Date Written: July 27, 2022
What is the potentially lasting impact of the Covid-19 crisis on public international law. What will have changed after the pandemic? This contribution explores the repercussions of the pandemic on international law at large and on global governance in its interaction with domestic law. Section I recalls that the pandemic is an epitome of the dark sides of globalisation. It also examines whether and how international law has functioned as a benchmark for state behaviour before and during the pandemic. Section II explores the international legal mechanisms employed for combatting the pandemic. Section III analyses the pandemic juncture in fact and law and does not find any radical renewal but only meek reforms. Section IV predicts and evaluates future trends in international law marked by the pandemic. It concludes that the pandemic has not undermined the fundamentals of international law. Instead, only incremental change is visible. The path towards a more social and more ecocentric international legal order remains steep.
Keywords: Pandemic, public international law, solidarity (international legal principle), world health organisation, international health regulations, Grotian moment, international state responsibility, globalisation, intellectual property protection, world trade law, human rights derogations.
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