Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance

European Governance of Health Crisis and Disaster Management

Concepts, Tools and Processes

07Dec2018 09:00 - 17:00


A symposium jointly organized by Mark L. Flear (Queen’s University Belfast) and Anniek de Ruijter (Amsterdam)

Over the past decade we have witnessed an increased readiness and growing infrastructure on the part of ‘Europe’ (EU, Council of Europe and WHO) to engage in emergency governance. Many, if not most, of the key examples centre on or implicate public health. Preparedness planning for terrorist attacks and pandemics provides perhaps the most obvious and recurrent example. But there is also the ongoing migration crisis, affecting the southern fringes of the EU in particular. Volcanic eruptions have grounded air travel for fear of lost lives from planes falling from the sky. And further back, BSE/CJD led to fears of an impact on human health as a result of farming techniques for cows. Aspects of the EU’s developing infrastructure and engagement with these issues have been touched upon within legal scholarship. However, there has been little attempt to map and unpack European governance of health crises and disaster management (EHCDM). This symposium attempts to provide the groundwork for such an enterprise and from there to contribute towards an awareness and reflection with regard to the common core norms and values that shape the mechanisms that underpin future responses to emergencies in Europe. The symposium does this by asking its participants to consider the norms and values embedded within the concepts, tools and processes of EHCDM and to reflect on how and to what extent these represent a distinctly ‘European’ approach. Participants will speak to one of these frames.

Through attention to these frames, the symposium intends to provide a platform for exploring the key governance elements of EHCDM through several theoretical and analytical approaches, while highlighting the importance of interdisciplinary analyses. Participants will provide a conceptual history of EHCDM, shedding light on how key regulatory and administrative tools have developed against the backdrop of scientific and social-political change, and how they have been utilized in practice. A focus on these elements also attends to the social, historical and political situatedness of EHCDM, making clear the need to develop new approaches that can adapt to developments in scientific-technical knowledge and society. The intention is to publish contributions from the symposium in a peer-reviewed edited collection or in a special issue for a high-impact journal with a leading publisher.

The symposium is co-financed by ACES

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Published by  Amsterdam Law School