Abstract and Keywords
This chapter discusses how the landscape for global health governance has evolved. It finds that the political importance of health as an international and global issue has changed radically. International health organizations started with a mandate to control the spread of infectious diseases between countries as a by-product of trade. Today, their work is central to economic development, poverty reduction, human rights, sustainable development, and the effective management of globalization. Any modern understating of the role and functions of International Organizations (IOs) in the field of health must now take into account the actions and interactions of a much wider range of institutional actors. While the World Health Organization (WHO) and IOs are most effective in meeting the need for legislative instruments, norms, standards and other global public goods, it is also the part of their agenda that is hardest to finance. There are many other players — internationally and locally — that are more adept at providing finance, implementing projects, and providing hands-on technical support in developing countries than normative IOs. Furthermore, the growing number of institutions involved in global health suggests the need for a much clearer division of labour in order to allow each one to play to its respective strengths.
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