Day: February 26, 2021

75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: FORMATION OF WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

A specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for public health, the World Health Organisation (WHO) combined the operations of the former League of Nations Health Organisation and the Office International d’Hygiene Publique. Its expanded mandate included advocating for universal healthcare, monitoring risks to public health, coordinating responses to health emergencies and promoting human health …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

A landmark institution in international law created in The Hague in 1998 and starting operations four years later, the International Criminal Court has become a controversial but important force for international justice.   With 123 member states, the ICC is the only permanent international court with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: LAUNCH OF THE EURO

Economic and monetary union was a recurring ambition for the European Economic Community and then the European Union from the 1960s onwards. However, it was a difficult journey, as troubled international currency markets threatened the common price system of the EEC’s cornerstone Common Agriculture Policy and the 1970s oil crisis disrupted attempts to stabilise exchange …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: TREATY OF ROME

Beginning narrowly in 1951 as the European Coal and Steel Community, the foundational rules of what is now the European Union were agreed in the Treaty of Rome. In 1957, the treaty was signed by Belgium, France, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and (West) Germany. This established the European Economic Community, which changed its name …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: CREATION OF WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION

First discussed during the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment, an economically destructive era of protectionism and trade wars began to be reversed by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of 1947.   The GATT was actually plan B, following the failure of negotiating governments to create an International Trade Organization. The deal, …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: INDIAN INDEPENDENCE

The culmination of years of campaigning and resistance by national heroes such as Mahatma Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose, Indian independence signalled the post-Second World War acceleration of decolonization by the imperial powers of Western Europe. World maps were redrawn, and local leaders empowered (as well as previously suppressed regional and ethnic conflicts unleashed), as …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: EU REACH LEGISLATION

Taking seven years to negotiate, and reckoned to be the most complex legislation ever adopted by the European Union, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals regulation was by far the most comprehensive effort the world has seen to protect human health from dangerous chemicals used in manufacturing.   Over 143,000 chemicals were pre-registered …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: THE SUPERFUND ACT

The principle that the polluter should pay for repairing damage done to the environment is a good one, and increasingly recognized as best practice by policy makers. America’s Superfund Act, passed in 1980, was a milestone in backing this principle with the full force of law. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, its …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: BAN ON IVORY TRADE

Saving endangered species has been on the global policy making agenda at least since 1963, when the International Union for the Conservation of Nature drafted the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which took effect in 1975.   The African elephant became the face of this movement, as …

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75 PIVOTAL PUBLIC POLICIES: COLOMBIA’S DEDICATED BIKE LANES

Cycling is arguably the healthiest, most environmentally-friendly method of urban transportation—providing the rider is safe from being squashed by bigger beasts of the road, such as cars and trucks. Dedicated bike lanes are the key to that, and are now in widespread use around the world. Colombia was the pioneer of this policy, led by …

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