WHO’s Next — The United States and the World Health Organization

Compare and contrast global governance on the environment and human rights

It is important to point out the fact that global governance plays a key role in ensuring a collaborative and cooperative international effort in regards to advancing and promoting essential legislative norms, values, and rights. However, global governance measures are not equally embedded in regards to the environment and human rights. The main similarity between these two issues is rooted in the notion that they are globally recognized and prioritized as critical subjects. For example, the UN is a representative organization, which upholds and advocates for global environmental challenges as well as outlines key components of human rights preservation. Nonetheless, one should be aware that in practice, environmental issues are more demonstrative of global governance than human rights issues. In other words, global governance measures are more actively applied in the case of environmental concerns rather than human rights ones. For example, major successes have been achieved in regard to marine plastic pollution measures, where the global oceans were partially restored due to global governance (Vince and Hardesty, 2017).

In the case of human rights, although global governance is attempting to promote them, in practice, these rights are state-centric. For example, the UN and many outstanding legislators put a great deal of effort into developing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (Sun, 2019). In other words, the promotion and preservation of human rights are ensured by the states and nations rather than global governance since it is mostly up to each individual country and its government to either protect or violate the human rights of its citizens. Therefore, the key difference between global governance on the environment and global governance on human rights is manifested in the notion of the former being more implemented in practice compared to the latter.

Evaluate global health governance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 outbreak greatly exposed the flaws and weaknesses of state-centric health governance and clearly showed how important global governance is in regards to ensuring global public safety. The pandemic illuminated the crucial role of the WHO as an organization, which is directly responsible for being a leader in designing and developing proper response mechanisms and protocols of action. One should be aware that global governance needs to be embedded and integrated into public health safety measures in order to avoid or prevent disastrous consequences of future crises. For the most part, WHO only played mainly a recommendation-based role with no real authority or power to enforce the proper response measures. For example, the WHO can only wait for invitations from a country to be able to investigate the causes and processes of the outbreak (Bloom, Farmer, and Rubin, 2020). In other words, such an organization is unable to go past through political barriers and derive key knowledge in a timely manner. Therefore, due to lack of enforcing power, WHO is demonstrates global governance at a recommendation-based state, where no mandatory policies can be imposed upon countries.

It can be argued that the level of global health governance at the moment is mostly state-centric, meaning that it is an individual nation, which has a real authority to impose policies and legislations. COVID-19 pandemic revealed that in a globalized world, global health governance is of paramount importance, which means that organizations, such as WHO, need to obtain or be given more power and authority to prepare for future global health problems. In other words, there is an evident demand for more collaboration and cooperation among nations for the benefit of a global society.

Should the internet be the subject of global governance?

Internet had and still has a substantial impact on the state of the world and global activities. It directly affects and transforms the global economy, governance, international politics and promotes globalization processes directly by connecting people. However, such a transformative instrument comes with a wide range of global concerns and dangers, such as cyber security. Despite these challenges, the internet is a highly powerful tool, which can promote democracy and democratic values and bring down totalitarian regimes through information availability. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to subject the internet to global governance in order to ensure global access to it in developing nations as well as protect the user data privacy and corresponding violations.

Although it will be one of the most difficult tasks to integrate proper global governance on the internet due to rapidly changing political environments and technological advancements, all of the human population should have access to the internet and ensuring human rights online (Nye, 2014). In other words, global governance of the internet should not hinder its strength but rather control or limit its flaws and weaknesses, where the entire ecosystem or cyberspace only empowers the individuals and provides equal access to education, communication, and online infrastructure. Therefore, the internet needs to be regulated through a collaborative and cooperative effort of all nations rather than being fragmented as it is at the current moment. Such a fragmented state is and will be a source of internet inequality, which will further exacerbate a wide range of categories of inequalities among countries.

Reference List

Bloom, B. R., Farmer, P. E., and Rubin, E. J. (2020) ‘WHO’s next — the United States and the World Health Organization’, The New England Journal of Medicine, 383(1), pp. 676-677.

Nye, J. S. (2014) ‘The regime complex for managing global cyber activities’, Global Commission on Internet Governance, 1, pp. 1-20.

Sun, P. (2019) ‘Pengchun Chang’s Contributions to International Human Rights in Global Governance’, Human Rights Quarterly, 41(4), pp. 982-1002.

Vince, J., and Hardesty, B. D. (2017) ‘Plastic pollution challenges in marine and coastal environments: from local to global governance’, Restoration Ecology, 25(1), pp. 123-128.

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