Hope Springs Anew for the FCGH and Right to Health

The Framework Convention on Global Health Alliance: Hope Springs Anew for the FCGH and Right to Health

By Eric Friedman

It is always spring for human rights. Old ideas embedded in fundamental values do not lose the boundless hope and energy of their birth. In a country that holds its first democratic election or peaceful transition of power, democracy is more than an idea and practice that has existed for centuries, but a new reality worthy of celebration as though a birth in the family, for it may be the new birth of a nation. Human rights are not only principles laid out nearly seven decades ago in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with roots far deeper, but a constant struggle and promise — today’s cause, today’s hope.

And so it is with the proposed treaty on the right to health, the Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH), first proposed a decade ago. While we have seen significant improvements in global health in the ensuing years, the needs that it would address – health equity, accountability, participation, national and global governance for health, health financing – remain every bit as pressing today, fundamental to securing health justice and a healthy future. And like a country that has just experienced its first peaceful transition of power to a new government, or people exercising newfound freedoms, the FCGH is experiencing a rebirth.

That rebirth comes with the formation of the Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH) Alliance on December 10, 2017 – this past Human Rights Day. The FCGH Alliance is a new NGO, formed under the Swiss Civil Code and with its address both in Geneva and in the hopes and commitment of people and organizations throughout the world in the global network that will be the Alliance’s driving force.

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Welcome to the Framework Convention on Global Health Alliance

WelcomeWelcome to the Framework Convention on Global Health Alliance.

The FCGH Alliance membership includes more than 30 organizations and individuals from Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America, and Europe that believe that unconscionable global and local health inequities are fundamentally unjust. Over the past few years, more and more global health luminaries and leading NGOs have called for a Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH), for using the strongest instrument of international law to advance the quest for health equity.

In the globalization era, the highest attainable level of health cannot be achieved by States acting on their own. A FCGH treaty would facilitate the coordinated global effort needed to achieve the highest attainable level of health everywhere. It would reform global governance for health to enhance accountability, transparency, and civil society participation and protect the right to health in trade, investment, climate change, and other international regimes, while catalyzing governments to institutionalize the right to health at community through to national levels.

We know this is an ambitious undertaking, but we are convinced that a FCGH would be a historical shift in global health, a powerful instrument for global health with justice. We hope that you will join us in this wonderful and challenging project that will transform lives and communities all around the world.

Martin Hevia, Chair
FCGH Alliance, Geneva
7 January, 2018

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Dr. Martín Hevia is Dean and Professor at the School of Law, Torcuato di Tella University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He earned his doctorate in law in 2007 at the University of Toronto, Canada and his law degree in 2001 at the Torcuato Di Tella University. Currently, he serves as Vice-President of the Ibero-American Association of Law Schools. He has been a keen supporter of a Framework Convention on Global Health for many years, and has recently been elected as the first Chair of the FCGH Alliance.

A vote for the World’s health, absent from the headlines

Vote FCGHA vote for the world’s health, absent from the headlines

10 November 2016

The World Health Organization process of selecting a new director-general moves into high gear this week. As the U.S. presidential election has held global attention for much of 2016, this is likely the most important vote the world isn’t watching. We cannot afford to ignore the WHO leadership choice, which comes in the midst of a global health crisis.

That crisis is the ongoing epidemic of health inequalities. It is an emergency that lurks beneath the headlines, existing instead in the daily realities of vast portions of the world’s population. We come from two countries, South Africa and Bangladesh, where our governments and civil society are making tremendous efforts to improve the health of our people. We have seen important strides, including scaling up HIV/AIDS treatment in South Africa and unprecedented progress in child and maternal health in Bangladesh.

Yet we continue to see snapshots of huge global inequalities of health on a regular basis. In a sprawling township outside Cape Town, many residents live in wood, tin, and plastic shacks, with toilets far and few between. The latrines are often unusable and, even when functioning, unsafe for women and children to access. In isolated parts of Bangladesh, meanwhile, it is still not unusual for a woman to give birth on the dirt floor of her own home without any trained personnel present.

Read moreA vote for the World’s health, absent from the headlines