International Investment Agreements (IIAs) form parts of broader economic policy efforts by governments to attract foreign investment. However, industry actors have used them to dispute health policy measures in critical areas, including tobacco control and access to medicines. Governments find themselves caught between the interests of investors (companies), and the health of their citizens.
Recognising these risks, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that health safeguards be built into IIAs. However, their adoption has been limited and inconsistent, reflecting limited engagement by the health sector and a lack of knowledge regarding best practice safeguards.
This collaboration brings together legal, public health and global policy scholars from Australia and globally, with data scientists, and collaborators from the World Health Organization. It will generate new evidence to improve policy making in this important area. It aims to identify:
1) best-practice options to successfully safeguard health in IIAs, and
2) strategies for public health actors to support the inclusion of health safeguards in future IIAs.
The end-point of the research is better investment policy, that enables and protects the adoption of strong health policy measures at the national level.
Hero image by Mathias Reding on Unsplash