FCGH: Addressing Frequently Raised Issues

FCGH IssuesThe Framework Convention on Global Health: Addressing Frequently Raised Issues

May 2016
Issues in this article:
1 The FCGH can build on existing treaties that codify the right to health to better implement rights-based approaches to health;
2 The value of the FCGH as a binding legal instrument;
3 The FCGH could complement other tools to address systematic governance issues;
4 The feasibility of the FCGH;
5 The need for an ambitious treaty;
6 Connections between the FCGH and other international law;
7 The FCGH would add to the current response to global health priorities;
8 The FCGH would build on and relate to existing accountability mechanisms, particularly human rights and SDG accountability mechanisms, and would include measures to help achieve impact at country level;
9 Possible FCGH mechanisms and institutional set-up;
10 Models of treaties that the FCGH could draw from.

The FCGH can build on existing treaties that codify the right to health to better implement rights-based approaches to health.

The FCGH intends to complement and reinforce strategies and tools to implement the right to health, not replace them. The FCGH could open new possibilities to advancing the right to health and speeding its implementation, and by so doing, closing unconscionable gaps in national and global health equity by:

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A FCGH – Would it Help Developing Countries to Fulfill their Duties on the Right to Health?

dutiesA FCGH – Would it Help Developing Countries to Fulfill their Duties on the Right to Health? A South African Perspective

Mark Heywood & John Shija, Section 27
September 29, 2010

It is arguable that the delivery of global health has reached an impasse. This is evident not only in unresolved debates that are raging about where to allocate health aid or how to sustain and expand funding for AIDS treatment,1 but also in challenges facing national health systems that are incapable of purely domestic resolution. But there is some irony and much opportunity in this situation. Not only have the last 20 years seen an unprecedented growth in funding for health, mainly through funding for AIDS, but there have also been a range of initiatives and ideas2 that have generated better knowledge not only of the determinants of health,3 but also of how to attain it.4 Scientists, public health experts and activists have created a store of intellectual knowledge, technology and ideas which, if properly and fairly deployed, might provide the opportunity to re-launch tangible progress towards the progressive realization of the right to health on a global scale.It is in this context that Professor Lawrence Gostin and now a growing band of fellow travelers have floated the idea of a Global Framework Convention on Health (FCGH)5. Gostin summarizes the FCGH as:
     A global health governance scheme that incorporates a bottom-up strategy that strives to do the following: build capacity, so that all countries have enduring and effective health systems; set priorities, so that international assistance is directed to meeting basic survival needs; engage stakeholders, so that a wide variety of state and non-state participants can contribute their resources and expertise; coordinate activities, so that programs among the proliferating number of participants operating around the world are harmonized; and evaluate and monitor progress, to ensure that goals are met and promises kept.6

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All Aboard The FCGH Express!

All aboardAll Aboard The FCGH Express!

(Posted on imaxi.org 4 Nov. 2016)

Over a year ago, a concept caught our attention and sparked our passions. We heard of the proposed Framework Convention on Global Health  (FCGH), an initiative to develop a legally-binding global health treaty based on the right to health, aimed at closing national and global health inequities. After many frustrating years of activism to advance the right to health, the FCGH idea seemed to be laying tracks in the right(s-based) direction.

We began to study the documents, to exchange e-mails with the welcoming Eric Friedman, point-person of the initiative, and started to mobilise a number of our peers and colleagues. Our interest was not only in the improvements the FCGH could bring to health and well-being, but also in the potential for community participation in the entire process — from drafting, organising and negotiating all the way to advocating for its ratification by individual governments in the future. We saw the development of the FCGH as an opportunity to build a broad-based collaboration between academics, experts and activists, and to practice the meaningful participation of many diverse and marginalised communities in the process. In other words, the practices and process of developing the FCGH excites us.

However, as we learned more, we realised that the initiative had been around for some eight years, circulating amongst a few well-known academics, mostly from prestigious institutions in the US and UK. Although we have been quite involved in global health activism, no one from our communities had ever heard about the FCGH initiative. An innovative idea that could move the world forward seemed to be stuck in the ‘Ivory Towers’.

The FCGH has a very impressive intellectual pedigree, but well-respected academics from elite institutions often have only a theoretical understanding of the realities of living with illness or disabilities while struggling with poverty, inequity or discrimination. Nor have many actually collaborated with any social activists on the ground. Perhaps this explains why, after some eight years, the FCGH initiative has had limited success reaching beyond colleagues working at universities, think-tanks, UN agencies and big NGOs to a broader base of people or organisations, specifically from the communities most in need of ‘health justice’.

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