Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


David P. Fidler

First Page



This Article has tried to provide a comprehensive analysis of the role of international law in WHO's future. Whether WHO realizes it, international law has had and will continue to have effects on international health policy. In the future, WHO has a choice: It can continue to act as if international law plays no role in global public health or it can build the commitment and capacity needed to integrate international law into its endeavors and into the creation of global health jurisprudence. Building such commitment and capacity will not resurrect WHO to its past glories, but they may very well help WHO become more adept at facing the multidimensional challenges now multiplying that will complicate the successful implementation of WHO's global agenda for health. In addition, such commitment and capacity will be necessary to promote the development of global health jurisprudence, to stimulate vertical and horizontal dynamics supporting this development, and to generate dialogue on the principles of global health jurisprudence.

Lawyers are not doctors' best friends. But the globalization of public health makes at times for strange bedfellows. WHO's new leadership should be encouraged to make both international law and global health jurisprudence new and essential elements of global health policy.