Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1. Why do we need a treaty on the right to health when a number of other treaties already include this right?
A1: First, the FCGH would go beyond defining the right to include binding norms on measures countries should take to implement the FCGH. Second, the FCGH could provide clarifications on achieving the right to health in an increasingly interdependent world. Third, the FCGH could clarify ambiguities in the right to health (such as the standards attached to progressive realization) and further detail the right. And fourth, the FCGH could include accountability and enforcement measures that go beyond existing treaties. The Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities demonstrates how providing specific measures for states to take to implement already binding human rights and clarifying the meaning of key elements of the right to health (such as non-discrimination in the case of the disabilities convention) can be transformative.

Q2: Why is it important to have a treaty, rather than a non-binding international agreement?
A2: A treaty has the greatest potential for creating powerful norms that states feel under strong pressure to implement, as with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The legally binding nature of the treaty can open up or strengthen enforcement possibilities, including through the courts, while increasing political pressure to comply. And regimes that risk undermining the right to health, such as the areas of trade, intellectual property, and investment, are themselves grounded in treaties; a similarly forceful instrument is needed to counter the potential harm of these other legal regimes.
More Frequently Asked Questions are coming soon — if you have any questions, please let us know them.