Current Developments

The governance of disease outbreaks in international health law

From Ebola to COVID-19 (Part II)

In the first part of this two-part post, we broadly addressed the legal framework provided by the International Health Regulations (IHR), a binding legal instrument within the aegis of the World Health Organization (WHO). In the following subsections, we turn to two more legal dimensions, which were directly at stake during the 2014-2016 West African Ebola crisis and are also present in the COVID-19 pandemic, namely: 1) the role played …

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Current Developments

The governance of disease outbreaks in international health law

From Ebola to COVID-19 (Part I)

A deadly virus starts spreading in several communities. Reports are issued warning of the potential fallout if no action is taken. Yet both national authorities, as well as the WHO, the United Nations as such, and the international community as a whole are subjected to harsh criticism for ignoring the initial warning signs. Had they acted sooner, some say, more lives could have been saved. An overreliance on epidemiological assessments …

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Book ReviewResponse

Global information governance in pandemic times

In the geopolitics of global health information, international institutional law is more important than ever

The main argument of my book, which we are discussing in this symposium, is that international institutions are not only diplomatic fora, lawmakers or financiers, but also act and govern through information, knowledge and expertise. Their informational activities are governed by a body of law that strikes an uneasy balance between international cooperation, state sovereignty and individual rights. This balance is becoming all the more salient in times of a …

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Current Developments

The 2019-2020 novel coronavirus outbreak and the importance of good faith for international law

The 2019-2020 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak first identified in Wuhan, China currently stands at the center of the international community’s focus. The World Health Organization (WHO) issues daily situation reports on the virus’ spread. Alternatively, other sources are constantly being updated thanks to almost real-time tracking technology (see also the website created by members of the John Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering). At the time of writing, the …

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Internet Governance ForumSymposium

The Contract for the Web: The newest manifestation of digital constitutionalism?

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is intended to bring together the multistakeholder community to talk about the current and the future Internet. It is distinctly not supposed to bring about agreements that bind these actors to certain norms. Disregarding this custom, the Contract for the Web (Contract) was launched on November 25, 2019 on “Day Zero” of this year’s IGF in Berlin. Whether the Contract will turn out to be …

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Internet Governance ForumSymposium

A tale of two foundational orders

How international law and Internet governance protect the future of (us on) the Internet

The Internet – as a global technological facility enabling information and communication creation and exchange – has become an object of regulation by international law. But more than that: the Internet’s security, stability, robustness, resilience and functionality (its integrity) has crystallized into a global common interest. Internet integrity has become essential for the effective administration for all private and statal critical infrastructural resources. States are not able to regulate through …

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Internet Governance ForumSymposium

Three eras of digital governance

To understand where digital governance is going, we must take stock of where it’s been, because the timbre of mainstream thinking around digital governance today is dramatically different than it was when study of “Internet governance” coalesced in the late 1990s. Perhaps the most obvious change has been from emphasizing networked technologies’ positive effects and promise – couched around concepts like connectivity, innovation, and, by this author, “generativity” – to …

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Internet Governance ForumSymposium

Thoughts on ‘one World, one Net, one Vision’

Joint Symposium on the Internet Governance Forum 2019 of the United Nations

That the Internet is more than a global infrastructure is old news. But the changes and challenges to our global understanding of territorial boarders, governance, sovereignty and communication are still ongoing and many questions still remain unanswered or unconsidered. The Internet is subject to diverse developments and has many challenges in store for the law. The Internet Governance Forum With the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in …

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Discussion

Research questions arising from practice of law

Communicating between the spheres of research and practice

So, how do you actually select what you are researching? Obviously, personal motivation is a key factor in this process (not least because you will need considerable motivation to sustain yourself while writing an entire book or series of papers). Neglecting this aspect for the moment, we turn our attention to another key trigger for research question selection and the focus of this article. We argue that some of the …

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