i4C-5 Treaties

Many have called for new global health laws in order to codify access to medicines or the development of new technologies. But the agreement and implementation of new multilateral legal instruments is time-consuming and expensive such that rewards from the effort must justify the costs. In this study we will systematically review the research literature on the impact of international law on health and its social determinants and conduct the first quasi-experimental evaluation of an international law. 

International Law's Effects on Health and its Social Determinants:

The lack of synthesized evidence addressing the effectiveness of international law has posed a significant barrier to understanding the value, feasibility and applicability of international law for health and related challenges, leaving only fragmented and suboptimal information for decision-makers. The overall goal of this study is to systematically review all empirical impact evaluations of international law interventions related to health and its social determinants. Through review, we will contribute to a better understanding of the nature and expected benefits and possible harms of international law, thereby providing important evidence-based guidance on when and how it can be effectively introduced and implemented by national governments and international institutions to address global health and related challenges. 

Evaluation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: 

Responsible for approximately six million deaths and nearly $500 billion worth of economic damage each year, the global tobacco epidemic is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide. Although many efforts have been made to support global tobacco control, relatively little information is easily available about the nature of the epidemic at a global scale, with most existing databases limited to a small number of countries and years. This lack of readily available data has impeded efforts to understand the tobacco epidemic and evaluate tobacco control interventions’ effects. Many interventions have been shown to be efficacious at a national level, but their global effectiveness has largely been presumed. This project will address these gaps by first, systematically reviewing and analyzing global tobacco consumption data available from 1985- 2013, and developing a publicly available database of these data. Using this data, this project will analyze global trends in tobacco consumption across region, income-economy and other stratifying factors. In addition, this project will evaluate the conditional effects of the 2003 international tobacco control treaty (FCTC) on state policy and tobacco consumption with a robust quasi-experimental design, estimate the impact of the FCTC on smoking-related deaths, and finally, assess the cost-effectiveness of the FCTC as measured in per years of life saved.


i4C-5 Project Team

Steven J. Hoffman

Steven J. Hoffman

Director, Global Strategy Lab
Associate Professor of Law, University of Ottawa
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Population & Public Health
Lathika Sritharan

Lathika Sritharan

Research Coordinator, Global Strategy Lab
Assistant Director, Global Health Law Clinic