Global health policies and policy tools

The tools for achieving improved global health include international agreements, laws and regulations, policies, action to engage communities including, academic, business and civil, funding mechanisms, international partnerships for health, and improved governance procedures to ensure policy cohesion by establishing priorities for European action on global health.

Over the course of several decades, there has been a silent revolution in the way governments do business (Salamon, 2002). The main catalysts for this have been the forces of globalization, and the blurring of the division between states and markets. The result has been an unprecedented level of innovation in the design of new policy tools. Among these tools of international cooperation are international treaties and agreements, which European states have signed up to as members of – for example – the World Trade Organization or the World Health Organization. Examples include the WHO International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005)  and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) (2003).

Policy tools include measures designed to engage governments, academic, business and civil society communities, as well as the creation of new funding and market mechanisms, such as; those designed to reduce carbon emissions; differential patenting, notably in the area of medicines for the poor; and risk management products like weather insurance for poor countries. In addition, there has been an explosion in the number of global initiatives and partnerships to support the implementation of tools, as well as the financing of programmes.

More recently, States have begun to develop their own global health policies. The following are a list of current global health policies developed at a national level, as well as the EU strategy on global health:

Swiss Foreign Health Policy

UK: Health is Global

US Global Health Strategy 2011