Soft law and the inclusion of non-state actors to international health law: the example of the WHO/UNICEF Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes
While international health cooperation has historically been an interstate endeavour, the acceleration of globalisation and the related decline of the importance of national states at the international plane gave rise to a plethora of new actors: it is no longer only states, but also international organisations, multinational companies, and non-governmental organisations that play an important role with regard to public health protection. For example, at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, civil society actors were protagonists in the HIV/AIDS movement, while governments failed to respond adequately to the rampant spread of the pandemic (famous examples in this regard are the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in the United States and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in South Africa. The latter filed a seminal case at the constitutional court in order to ensure availability of a drug preventing mother-to-child-transmission of HIV (Minister of Health v Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) (2002) 5 SA 721 (CC), Case CCT 8/02). Furthermore, with the intensification of public-private partnerships, the private sector and hence multinational enterprises play an increasing role in international health cooperation. In this vein, WHO engages for example in various disease-specific collaboration projects with the pharmaceutical industry.