Waterloo, Canada - The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), a leading Canadian think tank focused on the study of international affairs, and The Munk Centre (University of Toronto) will co-host a conference entitled Global Health Governance – Past Practice: Future Innovation in Waterloo, Canada on November 11 and 12.

Approximately 30 participants ranging from academics, national and international policy-makers, health practitioners and NGO representatives will be present during the meeting. The Honourable Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Canadian Minister of Public Health and Dr. James Orbinski, of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have agreed to present keynote speeches during the meeting. Students, academics and other interested persons are invited to attend the discussions. The Kitchener-Waterloo Rotary Club will also hold a fundraising event based on the conference work to assist in improving global health.

The Waterloo conference will follow an initial meeting to be held in Ottawa on November 10th that will examine past practices relayed to global health governance issues; the Waterloo meeting will address future innovation of this project. The conference discussions will examine how the current global health governance system has adapted to mobilize the contributions of civil society, a diverse group of systemically significant countries and international institutions on the issues of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), possible pandemic threats such as the avian flu, and access to essential medicines.

The aim of the conference is to strengthen the recognition of global health governance as an essential item on the international agenda. Over the past five years, a serious collective effort has been placed on mobilizing strategies, partnerships and actions to address the most pressing of the global health concerns. Yet the problem still remains that current international institutions and multilateral cooperation are lagging behind the rapid changes in global health conditions. An effective response to the global health challenge will require a comprehensive understanding of these and a multitude of other interdependent factors that today influence the delivery of health as a global public good. The first step is uncovering the politically salient framework and set of universal ideas that can properly guide policy at the international level on this matter.

A publication from this conference is planned through Ashgate, forthcoming in Winter 2006 with Dr. Andrew F. Cooper, CIGI Distinguished Fellow and Associate Director, Dr. John Kirton, and Dr. Ted Schrecker as the co-editors of this volume.

The opinions expressed in this article/multimedia are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or its Board of Directors.