Platform for a Framework Convention on Global Health

By editorial intern Laura Faas

A new website devoted to the Framework Convention on Global Health is intended to “facilitate engagement, advocacy, and support from people across the world for adopting and implementing a Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH), aimed at helping eradicate persistent health inequities and establishing the right to health for all.” Though the recently launched website is only in its initial stages, the Steering Committee for the FCGH promises to incorporate additional features—including a blog and a regularly published newsletter—aimed specifically at achieving greater participation in FCGH development. Welcoming suggestions for and feedback on the platform and its website, the Committee vows to make the site “interactive and participatory.”

The Steering Committee strives toward the development of a legally binding global health treaty grounded in the right to health that engages both national and global health inequities. Extending beyond universal health coverage, the guiding principles and recommendations of the FCGH would address broader social determinants of health—various social, economic, political, and environmental conditions in which people live. An FCGH is further poised to offer a valuable contribution to the post-2015 agenda by establishing specific standards and accountability measures to facilitate the realization of post-2015 global commitments.

Inclusive and international in scale, the Platform for a Framework Convention on Global Health is designed to increase the involvement of an expanding cohort of partners and civil society actors in developing this legally binding global health treaty. Through the platform, stakeholders can partake in the FCGH development process, and work within countries to build support and advocate for the treaty. By providing contact information for each region, the platform further encourages interested parties to learn more and get involved.

Relevant to the launch of the platform’s new website is Health and Human Rights 15/1, a special issue on a Framework Convention on Global Health. Steering Committee member Alicia Ely Yamin and other Committee members served as  guest editors and authors for HHR 15/1. Eric A. Friedman, Larry Gostin, and Yamin drafted the issue’s Introduction, discussing the relevance of an FCGH to the right to health. Another Committee member, Kent Buse, co-authored a paper arguing that lessons of civil activism and leadership gleaned from HIV-related human rights achievements provide valuable perspectives on gaining support for the development of an FCGH. Additionally, Friedman, Gostin, and Buse together wrote a paper analyzing the applicability of nine good practices of global health organizations to elements of a Framework Convention on Global Health.

According to the Committee, the FCGH should

  • Set general standards for global health and participatory processes to be adapted to national and local levels, to create inclusive, equitable, universal health systems, without discrimination, empowering governments and people to achieve such systems;
  • Establish a clear national and international health financing framework, with enforceable norms;
  • Establish accountability around well-defined obligations for the social determinants of health, at the least creating obligations to give force to Health in All Policies and advancing the “do no harm” principle embedded in the right to health, respecting this right in all contexts;
  • Establish precise, enforceable human rights obligations and empower people and civil society to assert and secure the right to health and related rights, from facilitating human rights education to ensuring the justiciability of the right to health and giving full force to the principles of non-discrimination and equality;
  • Ensure compliance with, including but not limited to, timelines, indicators, benchmarks, and targets; rigorous and transparent reporting, monitoring, and evaluation; inclusive platforms for remedying non-compliance, and; incentives and sanctions.

All parties interested in joining or learning more about the platform are encouraged to contact their regional representatives.

Platform for an FCGH website:

Related articles:

Health and Human Rights: Realizing the right to health through a Framework Convention on Global Health? A Health and Human Rights special issue

Health and Human Rights: Effective access to justice against state and non-state actors in the Framework Convention on Global Health: A proposal

Health and Human Rights: Global health rights: Employing human rights to develop and implement the Framework Convention on Global Health

Health and Human Rights: Respecting the right to access to medicines: Implications of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for the pharmaceutical industry

Health and Human Rights: Traditional/alternative medicines and the right to health: Key elements for a convention on global health