The Copernican shift in global health

Santiago ALCáZAR

The author argues in this paper that the current economy- and trade-centred world is shifting towards a more health-centred world. He draws parallels with the radical mind shift provoked by Nicolaus Copernicus in putting the sun at centre stage, which had unforeseen impact in areas unconnected to astronomy. Despite the fact that economy and trade remain central to foreign policy, the social cluster has gained growing influence and importance. The 13th International AIDS Conference, held in Durban in 2000, laid the foundations for incorporating health into foreign policy. As a result, the link between human rights and access to medicines was established. This had an impact on trade negotiations. The Ministerial Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health (the Doha Declaration) states that nothing in the TRIPS Agreement should prevent members of the World Trade Organization from taking measures to protect public health. The author analyses this Copernican shift in the diplomatic arena from trade to health, and highlights the important role played by Brazil in these developments, which resulted in the Millennium Declaration, the Doha Declaration and the Oslo eclaration giving health precedence over trade.