Ilona Kickbusch

"We are in transition from what seemed a relatively reliable state defined and structured world of international health to a diffuse political space of global health in which new forms of distributed power and new patterns of power sharing emerge….even the most cursory analysis of global health governance shows that existing mechanisms of governance and resource flows are insufficient to address the problems at stake and to generate the political will necessary for action."

Global Health Governance

A new governance space
Exploring the expanded responsibility for health within society has always been at the core of Ilona Kickbusch´s work and she has pushed the agenda both in her academic work and her work at the WHO. She was one of the first to apply concepts of global governance to the global health arena.

At present her main interest lies in analyzing the new political space of global health which allows for new forms of power and new patterns of power sharing to emerge. She has suggested analyzing this space along three dimensions with the aim to establish Health as a global public good.

  • Global health governance: which refers mainly to those institutions and processes of governance which are related to an explicit health mandate, such as the World Health Organization
  • Global governance for health: which refers mainly to those institutions and processes of global governance which have a direct and indirect health impact, such as the World Trade Organisation – many of these are related to the social determinants of health
  • Governance for global health: this refers to the institutions and mechanisms established at the national and regional level to contribute to global health governance and/or to governance for global health – such as national global health strategies or regional strategies for global health.

These three dimensions are described in more detail in A New Governance Space for Health” with Martina Marianna Cassar Szabo in: Special issue / Supplement of Global Health Action. Editors: Tewabech Bishaw, Thomas Krafft, Ulrich Laaser Associate Editors: Helmut Brand, Christoph Aluttis in: Glob Health Action 2014, 7: 23507

Some other key readings:

  • How should the WHO reform? An analysis and review of the literature. with Andrew Cassels, Michaela Told, Ioana Ghiga GLOBAL HEALTH PROGRAMME WORKING PAPER NO. 11 | 2014
  • A Game Change in Global Health: the best is yet to come. In: Public Health reviews (2013). 35, No 1
  • Addressing global health governance challenges through a new mechanism: the proposal for a Committee C of the World Health Assembly. Ilona Kickbusch, Wolfgang Hein, Gaudenz Silberschmidt in: Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics Fall 2010, JLME 38.3.
  • Moving Global Health Governance forward. Chapter 15 in: Buse et al Making Sense of Global Health Governance. A Policy Perspective. Palgrave MacMillan 2009 



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