The COVID-19 pandemic was a major test of the limits of international cooperation. The recognition that states cannot unilaterally control disease spread in a globalized world led to international efforts over many years to develop systems to enable international cooperation during global health emergencies. But when the COVID crisis happened, these arrangements were found wanting. What we in fact witnessed were responses that were driven by national self-interest and inter-state competition, seen most clearly in the failure of efforts to ensure equitable global sharing of vaccines. What are the political lessons that are being learned from these experiences? And how likely is it that post-pandemic developments such as those around a new Pandemic Treaty will result in a more cooperative approach to future health emergencies?
Simon Rushton is a Professor of International Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Sheffield. His research interests focus on the global politics of health, peace and conflict, and participatory research methods. His work has looked in particular at international responses to infectious diseases; the links between health and international security; the changing architecture of global health governance; healthcare delivery in conflict and other crisis situations; and post-conflict peacebuilding. Simon joined the BISA Executive Committee as an elected trustee in 2020.
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