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International Organization in TimeFragmentation and Reform$
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Tine Hanrieder

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198705833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198705833.001.0001

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Locking in a Pan American Headstart

Locking in a Pan American Headstart

The Long Founding Moment of the World Health Organization

(p.47) 3 Locking in a Pan American Headstart
International Organization in Time

Tine Hanrieder

Oxford University Press

The chapter analyzes the WHO’s long founding moment between 1946 and 1951. It shows how the WHO’s constitutional design was undermined by struggles over institutional power and unforeseen historical developments. By 1951, the WHO’s actual regionalization far exceeded constitutional provisions, but was deeply locked-in nevertheless. The chapter starts from the initial deadlock over the WHO’s federal structure. It then retraces how the preexisting Pan American Sanitary Bureau built up resistance before the constitution entered into force in 1948, after an unforeseen delay that was due to Cold War tensions. The Bureau’s quasi-autonomy within the WHO was cemented in a special agreement that is in force until today, and that was emulated by all newly created regional offices. Regional self-governance was subsequently locked-in through the formation of regional coalitions for budgetary bargaining. The futile attempts at recentralization in the 1950s and 1960s testify to the irreversibility of regional fragmentation.

Keywords:   founding moment, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, regional organizations, WHO constitution, lock-in

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