Polycentrism in Global Health Governance Scholarship; Comment on “Four Challenges That Global Health Networks Face”

Document Type: Commentary

Author

Institute of Political Science, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany

Abstract

Drawing on an in-depth analysis of eight global health networks, a recent essay in this journal argued that global health networks face four challenges to their effectiveness: problem definition, positioning, coalition-building, and governance. While sharing the argument of the essay concerned, in this commentary, we argue that these analytical concepts can be used to explicate a concept that has implicitly been used in global health governance scholarship for quite a few years. While already prominent in the discussion of climate change governance, for instance, global health governance scholarship could make progress by looking at global health governance as being polycentric. Concisely, polycentric forms of governance mix scales, mechanisms, and actors. Drawing on the essay, we propose a polycentric approach to the study of global health governance that incorporates coalitionbuilding tactics, internal governance and global political priority as explanatory factors.

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