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Emergency Powers of International OrganizationsBetween Normalization and Containment$
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Christian Kreuder-Sonnen

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198832935

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198832935.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021

WHO Emergency Powers for Global Health Security

WHO Emergency Powers for Global Health Security

(p.152) 6 WHO Emergency Powers for Global Health Security
Emergency Powers of International Organizations

Christian Kreuder-Sonnen

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 analyzes two consecutive cases of exceptionalism in the World Health Organization (WHO). In the first case study, it explains how the WHO’s assumption of emergency powers in the 2003 SARS crisis led to their legal normalization. To confront the SARS outbreak, the WHO resorted to unprecedented emergency measures infringing on states’ sovereignty. Building on arguments of functionality, the WHO managed to create a broad consensus on the general appropriateness of such measures. They were thus enshrined in the new International Health Regulations in 2005 and came to their first reuse in the second case: the adoption of emergency powers during the H1N1 influenza “pandemic” in 2009. Due to a very mild course of the outbreak, however, this time it incited a societal backlash against the WHO. The emergency measures were delegitimized as excessive and futile, forcing the WHO to accept a procedural containment of its emergency powers.

Keywords:   China, emergency powers, International Health Regulations, pandemic, SARS, sovereignty, transparency, World Health Organization

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