Preprint has been submitted for publication in journal
Preprint / Version 1

Multilateralism, world order and Covid-19: current issues and future challenges for WHO


  • Celia Almeida Fundação Osvaldo Cruz (Fiocruz), Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca (Ensp) – Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
  • Rodrigo Pires de Campos Universidade de Brasília (UNB), Instituto de Relações Internacionais (IREL) – Brasília (DF), Brasil.



Pandemics, World Order, Multilateralism, WHO, Covid-19


This essay discusses the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the light of debates about the capitalist world order and multilateralism, analyzing the confrontation of pandemics (including Covid-19) in the dynamics of the interstate system in a heterogeneous world, with asymmetries of wealth and power and led by hegemonic powers. The working hypothesis is that the changes in the credibility of the WHO, and the UN, and demands for reforms date back to the last decade of the 20th century and are closely related to issues related to global, general and sectoral, governance, which, by its turn, are linked to the transformations of multilateralism and the capitalist world order throughout the post-war and post-cold war. Through a world-system critical historical approach, supported by literature review and official WHO documents, the essay concludes that the undermining of the organization and the constant scrutiny to which it has been subjected for decades, beyond occasional failures or 'lack of capacity', result from a dual dynamic, internal and external, imposed by the transformations of the 'new liberal world order' after the cold war, associated with the advance of nationalisms and global capitalism.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...




Health Sciences