Co-shaping Global Health: Institutional solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic has put into very sharp focus both the strengths and weaknesses of the current Global Health institutional landscape.

The creation and experiences of the ACT-Accelerator, and levels of cooperation achieved between multiple agencies, the rapid development of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics, and the distribution of many of these tools around the world, was remarkable, and provides a glimpse of what may be possible. But at the same time lack of equitable access to tools, weaknesses of health systems especially, but not only, in the developing world, disputes about intellectual property, weak or unmet promises of funding, and concerns about transparency, participation, and governance, have shown that there is much work still to be done.

We are at a point where we are able both to look back and look forward. There is wide consensus that the global health system needs to be better prepared for future pandemics, while still dealing with the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, at the same time there is a need reinvigorate the broader agendas on health and the SDG3. Many activists and academics have put forward proposals especially around intellectual property and global health financing that, if implemented, could have greatly beneficial effects. At the same time many of these proposals are closely related to ideas that have been put forward many times in recent decades but have not received traction with powerful global health interests and agents or governments and other donors, and there is little sign that COVID-19 will be the tipping point that makes all the difference.

The purpose of this workshop, organised by The Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, and linked to the Future of the Global Health Initiatives process, is to try to understand how to prepare for the future in a more incremental fashion, by building on demonstrated achievements of the recent past, rather than by proposing entirely new schemes. We start with the question: what are the most promising developments in global health in recent times (not only around infectious disease)? Once identified, a series of further questions arise. Are they capable of being scaled up for wider benefit? What would be needed for that to happen, and who would have the resources, agency, and motivation to do so? We envisage an active workshop with a developing dialogue between activists, academics and policymakers to consolidate existing successes and begin to address weaknesses as well as opportunities in the global health architecture when it comes to the system’s abilities to better support countries.


Introduction: objectives and context

Jonathan Wolff, Blavatnik School of Government

John-Arne Røttingen, Ambassador for Global Health at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway

Panel one

African innovations

Caesar Atuire, University of Ghana and University of Oxford

Shifting power and strengthening accountability – Opportunities for incremental progress

David McCoy, United Nations University

Whose expertise do we and should we value?

Mishal Khan (online), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

12:00–13:00 Lunch

Panel two

Decentering the global in global health governance

Sophie Harman, Queen Mary, University of London

From survive to thrive: What works and what (probably) does not

Jolene Skordis, UCL

Financial innovation for pandemic preparedness

Felix Stein, University of Oslo

Panel three

Reforming global health initiatives: what are the challenges and lessons from recent literature?

Sophie Witter, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

Governance of global health institutions

Suerie Moon (online), Geneva Graduate Institute


Tim Grant Evans, McGill University

16:45–17:15 Break

Next steps

How can further research and academic analyses contribute to reforming the global and regional health systems and architecture?

How can insights from the conference be further deliberated and disseminated?

18:15 Drinks reception