Global Health Law

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The creation of the division of global health law in 2019 reflects the importance of law as a fundamental instrument of international governance and more specifically as a central determinant of global health. Global health law is a field of international law with its own institutions, as well as its own group of norms composed of fundamental principles and values (e.g. human rights) and numerous ordinary norms concerning for example infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases or the uneven distribution of the health workforce around the world.

International law has been increasingly resorted to in global health as part of solutions to address global issues that can’t be solved by states alone. The primary objectives of the “Global Health Law” division are as follows:

1. Clarify the role of the fundamental principles and values considered as foundations of global health law; more specifically, linkages between health and human rights, and between health and the principle of solidarity.

2. Improve the legal knowledge about global health law instruments (hard law as well as soft law instruments: International Health Regulations, WHO Framework Convention on tobacco control; WHO Global Code of Practice on the International recruitment of health personnel, etc.).

3. Contribute to the discussions required for the implementation of these instruments.

4. Contribute to the further development of new/additional instruments to address old and new global health issues/challenges.

Prof. Dagron’s work includes the development, the content and the implementation of all the norms that compose global health law, focusing on the way they are developed, interpreted and implemented, how they potentially interfere with each other, as well as their weaknesses and/or the possible improvements for the future. Her research also focuses on the strong linkages between health and human rights and the impacts of a human rights-based approach, while taking/applying a social justice approach to the development and implementation of legal instruments in the field of global health. Future research projects are therefore closely linked with these subjects including more precisely the following issues: the right to health of vulnerable populations, the conditions for acceptable limitations on human rights in the case of a public health crisis, the revision of the IHR and the development of new treaties in the field of global health. Upcoming projects also include an analysis of the applicable legal norms for safety and security at work, as well as a study of the linkages between Universal Health Coverage and Global Health Security.


Prof. Dagron has published numerous analyses concerning the content and implementation of legal instruments. More specifically, she has published on the IHR, the responses to public emergencies developed by states as well as on the linkages between global health law and the development strategy of the international community (anchored in the Agenda 2030). She has also participated in several conferences addressing the role of human rights for global health and has published multiple articles addressing the meaning and content of the right to health more generally, as well as the importance of all human rights for the protection and promotion of health. More specifically, Prof. Dagron has used this lens to tackle the issue of access to medicines for tuberculosis patients, access to unproven interventions during public health emergencies and access to health services for vulnerable persons (including migrants and children). She has also published on the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on human rights and the meaning of a human rights-based approach for the preparation of states for future health crises, as well as, more specifically, on the impacts on human rights of the use of new technologies for public health surveillance in this context (see a list of selected publications below).