It is widely recognised that the adverse impacts that transnational forces are having on health determinants and outcomes require more effective collective action. The Asian region has been among the most acutely affected by the health impacts of globalisation, while many health issues in the region have potentially far reaching consequences. The rapidly rising economic status of many Asian countries, coupled with their vulnerability to global health, points to the need to better understand their contributions to Global Health Governance (GHG). This article analyses Asian contributions to three key instruments underpinning GHG – the International Health Regulations (IHR), Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework (PIPF), and Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). It finds that, if Asian countries are to move, from rule takers to rule makers, there is a need to address weak capacity in the region, to go beyond traditional notions of sovereignty, and to build trust and policy processes across the region.
The impacts of globalisation on health within the region, and the potential for health issues in the region to have global consequences, suggest that strengthening GHG requires increased Asian engagement commensurate with the region’s growing economic strength.
Emergent forms of GHG have been shaped to date by a small number of high income countries. Asian state and nonstate actors have been increasingly inclined to challenge existing institutional arrangements and rules.
Without stronger technical capacity and political processes to enable meaningful participation in global health governance negotiations, Asian countries will remain rule takers rather than rule makers.