Global Health Diplomacy: Understanding How and Why Health is Integrated into Foreign Policy

Title: Global Health Diplomacy: Understanding How and Why Health is Integrated into Foreign Policy
Authors: Gagnon, Michelle L.
Date: 2012
Abstract: This study explores the global health diplomacy phenomenon by focusing on how and why health is integrated into foreign policy. Over the last decade or so, precipitated primarily by a growing concern about the need to strengthen global health security and deliver on the Millennium Development Goals, foreign policymakers have been paying more attention to health as a foreign policy concern and several countries have adopted formal global health policy positions and/or strategies. To elucidate a deeper and clearer understanding of how and why health is integrated into foreign policy, this thesis used a case study research design that incorporated literature and document review and interviews with twenty informants to conduct an in-depth analysis of the United Kingdom’s (UK) Health is Global: A UK Government Strategy 2008-13. Health is Global represents the first example of a formal national global health strategy developed using a multi-stakeholder process. Briefer background case reviews of three nations that are leaders in global health diplomacy - Brazil, Norway and Switzerland, were also conducted to inform the analysis of the in-depth case. Policy analysis included categorizing data into five areas: context (why?), content (what?), actors (who?), process (how?) and impact (so what?). The Multiple Streams Model of Policymaking and Fidler’s health and foreign policy conceptualizations - revolution, remediation and regression - were used to analyze the findings. Based on this analysis, the primary reason that the countries examined have decided to focus more on global health is self-interest - to protect national and international security and their economic interests. Investing in global health was also seen as a way to enhance a state’s international reputation. In terms of self-interest, Brazil was an outlier, however. International solidarity and health as a human right have been the driving forces behind its long-term investment in development cooperation to date. Investing in health for normative reasons was also a prevalent through weaker theme in the UK, Swiss and Norwegian cases. The study highlighted the critical role that policy entrepreneurs who cross the domains of international relations and health play in the global health policymaking process. In regards to advancing a conceptual understanding of global health diplomacy, the findings propose that the whole-of-government global health policymaking process is a form of global health diplomacy. The thesis elucidated factors that underpin this process as well as lessons for other nations, in particular, Canada. While ascertaining the impact of national global health strategies was not the main objective of this thesis, the study provided an initial look at the impact of these policy instruments and processes. Such impacts include better collaboration across government actors leading to enhanced policy coherence and a more strategic focus on global health. Finally, some have argued of late that the global health revolution is over due to the current world economic crisis. Considering the level of interest in whole-of-government global health strategies and the ever growing and sophisticated world-wide global health policy community, based on this thesis, the global health revolution is alive and well.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -