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The concept of global health public goods is arguably more relevant than when it was first coined twenty years ago amid a rapidly globalizing world. National economies are now even more integrated and societies tightly connected. Health risks and benefits have the capacity to cause rapid and large-scale impacts as sharply demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic. A renewed discussion of global health public goods is thus an important starting point for addressing longstanding shortcomings in global health governance. However, renewed conversations need to avoid the same fate as past discussions. The concept needs more than a “refresh” and a clear political strategy to realize its value beyond discussions among the like-minded. Overall, the concept of global health public goods will not solve all the problems facing global health governance. But it can be an important starting point for overcoming “gridlock” by creating a defined space for collective action that enables diverse perspectives to come together.

Author: Kelley Lee
Roundtable: Health
Year: 2022