• From a complexity perspective on governance, multilateral diplomacy is based on interactions between people, ideas, norms, policies and institutions.
  • This article uses a computer-assisted methodology to better understand governance systems as a network of norms. All World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions that were available from 1948 to 2022 were collected from the WHO Institutional Repository for Information Sharing (IRIS) database.
  • Regular expressions were used to identify how resolutions cite other resolutions and the resulting relationships were analysed as a normative network.
  • The findings show that WHA resolutions constitute a complex network of interconnected global health issues. This network is characterised by several community patterns. While chain-like patterns are associated with specific diseases programmes, radial patterns are characteristic of highly important procedural decisions that member states reaffirm in similar situations. Finally, densely connected communities correspond to contested topics and emergencies.
  • While these emergent patterns suggest the relevance of using network analysis to understand global health norms in international organisations, we reflect on how this computational approach can be extended to provide new understandings of how multilateral governance systems work, and to address some important contemporary questions about the effects of regime complexity on global health diplomacy

Wernli, D., Falcone, J.-L., Davidshofer, S., Lee, K., Chopard, B., & Levrat, N. (2023). Emergent patterns in global health diplomacy: a network analysis of the resolutions adopted by the World Health Assembly from 1948 to 2022. BMJ Global Health, 8(4), e011211. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2022-011211