The Global Health Law of Tomorrow
Prof Gian Luca Burchi
Abstract: For a number of historical, technical and political reasons, the core of international law rules dedicated primarily to the protection and promotion of human health is very limited. As a consequence, many international rules that have a deep impact on global health are part of legal regimes with very different purposes than health protection. Health is literally scattered through such regimes as a normative or policy factor, with complex mutual interactions. This consideration leads to two overarching topics of a legal nature that will form the object of my presentation. Firstly, promoting health against contemporary challenges requires overcoming the current fragmentation and seeking common normative threads that can strengthen the role of health when applying existing international agreements and assessing the scope and limits of states’ rights and obligations. Secondly, is there legal and political space for more global health law? Calls for new international health law instruments sometimes seem the product of advocacy rather than serious analysis and may divert attention and resources from the priority of managing current legal instruments in the interest of global health. However, certain health problems could intrinsically require international normative solutions.
Prof Gian Luca Burchi has been Adjunct Professor of International Law at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva since 2010, Director of the Joint LLM in Global Health Law and International Institutions co-organized by the Graduate Institute and the Georgetown University School of Law, and Senior Fellow in the Global Health Centre of the Graduate Institute. Professor Burci was the Legal Counsel of the World Health Organization between April 2005 and February 2016. Prior to that appointment, he was Senior Legal Officer in the World Health Organization between 1998 and 2005, legal officer in the Office of the Legal Counsel of the United Nations from 1989 to 1998, and legal officer in the International Atomic Energy Agency between 1988 and 1989. His research interests focus on the law of international immunities, the law and governance of international organizations, global health law and governance, and the role of the Security Council. He is currently member of the editorial board of the International Organization Law Review. Professor Burci is the co-author of a book on the World Health Organization (2004) and of a large number of articles and book chapters, most recently on the responsibility and immunities of international organizations and public-private partnerships. A national of Italy, Professor Burci holds a doctorate in law from the University of Genoa (Italy).