Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

Thematic Guide: Global health policy and governance

photo: WHO Virot
Whose voice is heard at the World Health Assembly?

How can civil society raise its voice and get involved in global health policy? What does good governance for health - at a national and global level - mean to us? Our thematic guide to internet resources leads you beyond the limits of the Medicus Mundi International Network. Any important resources missing? Please let us know.

The MMI global health governance team.


Hot topics in global health policy and governance

Civil society & global health: networks and movements

  • People's Health Movement (PHM)
    "The PHM has its roots deep in the grassroots people's movement and owes its genesis to many health networks and activists who have been concerned by the growing inequities in health over the last 25 years. The PHM calls for a revitalisation of the principles of the Alma-Ata Declaration which promised Health for All by the year 2000 and complete revision of international and domestic policy that has shown to impact negatively on health status and systems."
  • The Global Health Watch
    "A call to all health workers to broaden and strengthen the global community of health advocates who are taking action on global ill-health and inequalities, and their underlying political and economic determinants."
  • Action for Global Health
    "A cross-Europe network of NGOs and charities, calling for Europe to act now to enable developing countries to achieve the health Millennium Development Goals by 2015."
  • Equinet
    "The Regional Network on Equity in Health in Southern Africa, is a network of professionals, civil society members, policy makers, state officials and others within the region who have come together as an equity catalyst, to promote and realise shared values of equity and social justice in health."
  • Health Action International (HAI)

    HAI is a non-profit, independent, worldwide network of over 200 members including consumer groups, public interest NGOs, health care providers, academics, media and individuals in more than 70 countries. HAI works towards a world in which all people, especially the poor and marginalised, are able to exercise their human right to health. HAI’s contribution is through advocating for increased access to essential medicines and improved rational use of medicines

  • Economic Governance for Health
    “Mobilize health workers and global health advocates to speak out and act on global economic governance.”
  • Health Workforce Advocacy Initiative
    The civil-society led network of the Global Health Workforce Alliance
  • Medicus Mundi International Network
    Last, but not least: "Medicus Mundi International is the Network of private not-for-profit organisations working in the field of international health cooperation and advocacy"

Civil society: campaigns and projects

Campaigns and projects come and go. The links below refer to selecte ongoing global campaigns.

  • Democratising Global Health Governance
    Including: WHO Watch

    The MMI Network participates in a project directed to changing the patterns of global decision making and implementation in matters which affect the global health crisis. The original project proposal emerged out of the Workshop on Democratising Global Health Governance held in Geneva on 14-15 May, 2010.
  • The Right to Health and Health Care Campaign
    "The overall idea of the campaign is to change the international approach to health and development, and, via a ‘Global Action Plan on the Right to Health Care,’ convincingly show how quality essential health care services (based upon the Alma Ata Primary Health Care model could be made available NOW to every human being on earth, provided certain key reallocation of priorities and resources."
  • NGO Code of Conduct for Health Systems Strengthening
    "A response to the recent growth in the number of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) associated with increase in aid flows to the health sector. It is intended as a tool for service organizations – and eventually, funders and host governments. The code serves as a guide to encourage NGO practices that contribute to building public health systems and discourage those that are harmful. The document was drafted by a coalition of activist or service delivery organizations, including Health Alliance International, Partners in Health, Health GAP, and Action Aid International." The MMI Network endorsed the Code in 2010.
  • Beyond 2015
    "A global campaign aiming to influence the creation of a post 2015 development framework." The MMI Network is a member of the campaign. 
  • Conflicts of Interest Coalition
    Coalition around a civil society statement on the lack of clarity regarding the role of the private sector in public policy-making in relation to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) sent to the President of the United Nations General Assembly 2011.

Global health policy and governance: debates







  • A public sector for the whole world could end aid as we know it
    Jonathan Glennie
  • Global health diplomacy: health promotion and smart power
    Manuel Manrique Gil, ISGlobal
  • The global health regime
    (US) Council on Foreign Relations issue brief on global health challenges and lack of coordination and coherence, August 2012 (update)
  • Future global priorities or beyond 2015
    Gorik Ooms at AIDS 2012 conference, July 2012
  • Demanding implementation of the right to health – what next?
    Mark Heywood, 3rd People's Health Assembly, July 2012
    ppt slides as pdf
  • Global governance for health: WHO, EU and Trojan multilateralism
    Remco van de Pas, 3rd People's Health Assembly, July 2012
    ppt slides as pdf
  • Global health – frameworks and institutions
    Remco van de Pas, Global health summer course University of Utrecht, July 2012
    ppt slides as pdf
  • Global health and national borders: the ethics of foreign aid in a time of financial crisis
    Mira Johri, Ryoa Chung, Angus Dawson and Ted Schrecker
  • ‘Reshaping global health’ – a radical proposal for global health?
    Blog by Andrew Harmer on Dybul, Peter Piot and Julio Frenk (see below) and interesting debate with Gorik Ooms, June 2012
  • Reshaping global health. Time for a structural and philosophical shift.
    Mark Dybul, Peter Piot and Julio Frenk, June 2012
  • From the Earth Summit to Rio+20: integration of health and sustainable development
    Andy Haines, George Alleyne, Ilona Kickbusch, Carlos Dora, June 2012
  • Manifesto "Health for All: Justice for All". Global Campaign for a Framework Convention on Global Health
    JALI, May 2012
  • Global health governance and financing mechanisms
    Samantha Battams and Thiago Luchesi, May 2012


Before 2012
  • Advancing the Global Health Agenda
    Ilona Kickbusch in: UN Chronicle, December 2011
  • Why we need a Commission on Global Governance for Health
    Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, France, Indonesia, Norway, Senegal, Thailand in: The Lancet, December 2011
  • Are the ‘Good Times’ Over? Looking to the Future of Global Health Governance
    Owain David Williams and Simon Rushton in: GHG, November 2011
  • Governance for health in the 21st century
    Ilona Kickbusch and David Gleicher for WHO Europe, August 2011
  • Revitalising primary health care requires an equitable global economic system - now more than ever
    David Sanders et al. in: JECH (2009/2011)
  • Global Health: What it has been so far, what it should be, and what it could become
    G. Ooms et al., ITM Antwerp, June 2011 
  • Time to untie the knots: the WHO reform and the need of democratizing global health.
    Statement of Delhi consultation, May 2011
  • Towards a global agreement on national and global responsibilities for health.
    LO Gostin et al. in: PLoS Medicine, May 2011
  • Realising the Right to Health in Our Lifetimes? Towards a Framework Convention on the Right to Health.
    Section27 discussion document, March 2011
  • Global health and foreign policy
    UN General Assembly resolution, December 2010
  • The end of Official Development Assistance (ODA):
    The birth of hypercollective action
    JM Severino/O Ray, CGDev 2010
  • The 10 challenges of global health governance
    Ilona Kickbusch, presentation delivered at the June 2010 "Global Health: Together we can make it" conference in Brussels
  • The Global Health System: Actors, Norms, and Expectations in Transition.
    Nicole A. Szlezák et al. in: PLoS Med 7(1).
  • Civil Society Organizations and the Functions of Global Health Governance:
    What Role within Intergovernmental Organizations?
    Kelley Lee in: Global Health Governance (2010)
  • International obligations through collective rights: Moving from foreign health assistance to global health governance
    Benjamin Mason Meier and Ashley M. Fox in: Health and Human Rights Vol 12, No 1: (2010)
  • The Challenges of Global Health Governance.
    David P. Fidler, Council on Foreign Relations working paper, May 2010 (pdf)
  • Addressing global health governance challenges through a new mechanism: the proposal for a Committee C of the World Health Assembly
    Ilona Kickbusch et al. in: JLME  (2010, pdf)
  • Evolution of Global health policies since the Alma Ata Conference: A long way back towards Health for All
    "The history since the declaration of Alma Ata recounts about privatisation, fragmentation and confused global health governance." Eduardo Missoni, in: Bulletin of Medicus Mundi Switzerland (2009)
  • Global health governance
    Chapter of: Global Health Watch 2, October 2008 (pdf)
  • Global health: a pressing foreign policy issue of our time.
    Oslo Ministerial Declaration, 20 March 2007

This section of the guide is updated monthly
Source: MMI updates on Twitter


Civil society gateways to WHO and UN

  • WHO: Register of non-State actors

    "For WHO to fulfil its leadership role in global health and to act as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work, it proactively engages with non-State actors for the advancement and protection of public health in order to foster the use of non-State actors’ resources in favour of public health and to encourage non-State actors to improve their own activities to protect and promote public health. WHO defines a non-State actor as an entity that is not part of any State or a public institution. WHO engages with non-State actors ranging from grass roots community organizations to nongovernmental organizations, from philanthropic foundations to academic institutions, and from laboratory networks to private commercial enterprises and professional or patients’ groups, to name a few."

  • United Nations: Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS)
    "We promote dynamic partnerships between the United Nations and non-governmental organisations. By providing information, advice, expertise and consulting and support service, NGLS is part of the United Nations effort to strengthen dialogue and win support for economic and social development.


Global health updates: A biased selection


Recent events


Short URL of this page:

Document Actions