New FCGH Briefing Paper

BriefingThis briefing paper provides the overall vision of the Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH), how the FCGH would respond to 4 core failings of national and global governance for health, possible treaty models of treaties and other international frameworks that the FCGH could learn from, and an FCGH call to action, including for a World Health Organization (WHO) FCGH working group.


A Rights-Based Framework for the SDGs and Beyond:
A Framework Convention on Global Health
April 2018

A growing movement is galvanizing around a proposed Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH) – a global treaty based in human rights and aimed at national and global health equality. On December 10, 2017 – Human Rights Day – a coalition of supporters formed the FCGH Alliance. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued the following call to action in his report in advance of the June 2016 High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS: “I further encourage the international community to consider and recognize the value of a comprehensive framework convention on global health.” It is now time for the international community, from individual states to the Director-General of the World Health Organization – the organization mandated to lead the world on global health, and with the right to health as a core constitutional principle – to answer this call.

The FCGH Vision

All people, wherever they live, ought to be able to easily access comprehensive quality universal health coverage in a health system that does not discriminate, and that equally serves poor and rich. All should be able to readily access other universal needs for good health, such as clean water and nutritious food. The right to health, and the equality, accountability, and participation that are central to it, should be infused throughout the health system and integrated in other sectors and legal regimes, both domestically and internationally.
Filling in gaps in accountability, governance, financing, and human rights, the FCGH would help achieve the health goals and targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, while establishing a rights-based framework for health for the post-SDG era.

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FCGH – Establishing International Benchmarks for Accountability and Justiciability

FCGH – Establishing International Benchmarks for Accountability and Justiciability for the Right to Health

The distinction of Human Rights into two genres, to wit: Primary (‘Fundamental rights’) and Secondary (‘Economic, Social and Cultural {ECOSOC} rights‘), though basically theoretical, assumes a life of its own in jurisdictions where this dichotomy is entrenched as law or in a territory’s constitution. Fundamental Rights refer to such rights as the Right to Life, Freedom of Movement, Freedom of Association and mostly ‘political rights’; whilst ECOSOC rights refer to such rights as the right to education, housing and good environment, amongst others.

In most countries, Primary rights are justiciable (remedies for their violations can be secured through judicial processes); on the converse, Secondary rights are often non-justiciable (States cannot be compelled to provide these rights or ensure their enjoyment).

The right to health is often times classified as Secondary rights, and in some jurisdictions for some health issues, as tertiary. In a number of states, however, the right to Health is rendered non-justiciable. These rights are regarded as rights the state will accord its citizens whensoever the authorities consider their states have sufficient resources to accommodate such.

With the advent of increasingly invasive and modern technologies, the world has fast evolved into a global village where it takes mere hours for the most egregious of health situations to be transmitted and/or replicated from one corner of the globe to the other. It thus becomes imperative, for the health and safety of all wherever, that global minimum standards in accountability and justifiability for health rights be mutually agreed upon and enforced by all members of the international community.

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Dear Director-General Dr. Tedros

Dear Dr. TedrosDear Director-General Dr. Tedros,

September 6, 2017
Congratulations on your appointment as the new WHO Director-General. We recognize the mighty responsibility of your office, with its tremendous potential for bringing better health to the world’s people – and above all, to the poor, marginalized, and discriminated against, to whom you have long voiced your commitment. We were heartened to hear you state so powerfully upon your appointment that WHO must “put the right to health at the core of its functions, and be the global vanguard to champion them.”

One powerful tool to do just that is a proposed Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH), which would be a global treaty based on the right to health and aimed at national and global health equity. It could help put the right to health not only at the core of WHO’s functions, but also at the core of the global policy agenda, with WHO in the lead. The treaty would contribute to priorities that you have articulated in your vision for WHO, including universal health coverage, the rights of women and other marginalized populations, the Sustainable Development Goals, and health emergencies, along with a reinvigorated WHO (please see the Annex).

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