The Forschungstätte der Evangelischen Studiengemeinschaft e.V. / Institute for Interdisciplinary Research (FEST) and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law are engaged in a research project on International Health Governance (IHG). Its goal is to apply the International Public Authority (IPA) approach in order to characterize and explain IHG in the face of ongoing structural changes in public international law.
This IHG perspective purports to recognize the relevant actors involved in the goal of providing an adequate standard of health for persons. While the international human right to health still focuses on states and their obligation of guaranteeing minimum standards, IHG encompasses a broader picture of states alongside international organizations, NGOs, private actors and public-private partnerships (PPP's), all of them acting within the purview of legal norms as well as under ethical convictions. The 2014-2016 West African Ebola crisis provides a relevant example for examining the response of different actors aiding states unable to respond quickly and effectively. Consequently, this research deals with the following questions: What are the responsibilities of IHG actors and how does law coordinate their actions? How does the human right to health address the intertwined features with other fields such as environmental law? With the ultimate goal of delivering timely and effective responses to health hazards requiring an international coordination, the interplay between the regulatory frameworks and their structural shortcomings merits closer scrutiny.
UPCOMING EVENT: HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT IN INTERNATIONAL LAW
Under the aegis of the International Health Governance (IHG) project, an upcoming conference entitled Health and the Environment in International Law - Actors, Norms and Responsibilities, will take place on 17-18 October, 2018, at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law.
This conference aims at exploring the contribution of international law, in both fields of health law and environmental law, to the prevention of known and emerging environmental risks to public health. In line with the objectives of the IHG project, the debate will also focus on the identification of major actors and relevant responsibilities within the framework of global health and environmental governance. For this purpose, an analysis of the exercise of international public authority (IPA) by international institutions involved in environmental health issues will also be welcome. This will lead to addressing both legally binding and non-binding instruments, as well as international institutions that are not necessarily intergovernmental, thus encompassing private or hybrid actors such as public-private partnerships that deal, in one way or another, with environmental health.
The conference will address the legal aspects of the intersections between health and the environment with regards to climate change, biodiversity, pollution of air and water, and natural disasters. Special focus will be put on contemporary challenges to international law under the following interconnected topics:
- effects of climate change as a leading environmental determinant of health; climate change and the right to health; the Paris Agreement; and SDGs 3 and 13;
- biodiversity and human health, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and sharing of pathogens under the Nagoya Protocol;
- right to water, water management and control of waterborne diseases (with particular regard to the UNECE Protocol on Water and Health), quality of air and control of airborne diseases, pollution-reduction strategies, right to a healthy environment, food security, food safety, SDGs 2, 6 and 11; and
- natural disasters and weather-related disasters, emergency preparedness and response, intersections between health law-environmental law-disaster law.
The draft programme of this event will be published shortly.
An initial international workshop took place on March 3-4, 2016. The workshop's theme was International Health Governance of Disease Outbreaks, with Professor Michael Marx (managing director "evaplan International Health" at the University Hospital in Heidelberg, Germany) as keynote speaker. You can find the programme in the download section below.
The workshop was followed by an edited volume. See below for further details.
Online symposium during April, 2016, on the topic of International Health Governance of Disease Outbreaks, taking place at the Völkerrechtsblog (see here).
As a result of the Workshop, which took place at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in March, 2016, the book The Governance of Disease Outbreaks - International Health Law: Lessons from the Ebola Crisis and Beyond (edited by Leonie Vierck, Pedro Villarreal and Katarina Weilert), has been published with Nomos (2017). The publication has been possible thanks to a collaboration between the Forschungstätte der Evangelischen Studiengemeinschaft e.V. / Institute for Interdisciplinary Research (FEST) and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, also with support from the Frankfurt Normative Orders Cluster and the Bundesministerium für Gesundheit/Federal Ministry of Health of Germany (BMG).
This edited volume is directed at experts in international law, practitioners in international institutions, and other experts who would like to familiarize themselves with the legal framework of infectious disease governance. Using the West African Ebola crisis of 2014 as a case study, this book is part of a larger collaborative project on international health governance.
As there is a persistent risk of the occurrence of infectious disease epidemics and pandemics, it is all the more important to frame the underlying mechanisms, legal and otherwise, to deal with such problems. The aim of the book is thus to critically contribute to the ongoing debates related to instruments such as the International Health Regulations, as well as the role of international organizations such as the World Health Organization.
Against this backdrop, the authors explain the context and substantive legal framework of the Ebola crisis, while also highlighting its human rights aspects, institutional law (such as the debate on the securitization of health) and the limits to a purely legal approach to the subject. Thus, the authors herein come from various backgrounds such as law, public health, political science and anthropology.
The book can be purchased here.
Please find a long concept paper for our IHG project here as well as the documents of our initial workshop in March 2016 (open until end of November 2015).