The meaning of global security is difficult to define since it involves many aspects. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the concept includes at least seven dimensions, one of which is health care. In this view, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has renewed the question over whether infectious diseases may and should be considered as threats to peace and international security. The issue has already been highlighted in the context of previous large-scale infectious disease outbreaks, and it reflects the idea that pandemics are inextricably related to the concept of security. Indeed, the negative consequences and instabilities that they might represent in terms of international peace and security are well known: among these are the dangers of compounding existing difficulties, causing economic decline, social division, and political destabilization, all of which might lead to conflict intensification. This subject obtained significant attention in the aftermath of HIV/AIDS infection, when the rising concerns about international security led the Security Council to approve the Resolutions No. 1308/2000 and No.1983/2011 in response. Considering that "if left unchecked, the HIV/AIDS pandemic may pose a risk to stability and security," the Council suggested to strengthen national and international measures to counter the infection but without explicitly recognizing the disease as a threat to international peace and security. An explicit securitization of health has been enacted for the first time with the outbreak of Ebola; indeed, in accordance with the Art. 39 of the United Nations Charter, the Resolution no. 2177/2014 clearly recognized this pandemic as a threat to international peace and security. However, the decision had no significant consequences; for instance, no coercive measures were authorized in accordance with Articles 41 and 42 of the Charter, and no armed forces were deployed to the affected areas to counter the virus's spread. Considering the Council's previous trend, it was expected that the COVID-19 pandemic, for its huge importance, would have been formally recognized as a risk to global peace and security as well. Instead, Resolutions Nos. 2532/2020 and 2565/2021 only recommend a global ceasefire and a broader international cooperation, despite the rising perception that highly pathogenic infectious diseases might cause several international instabilities, compromising political, economic, and social institutions. There might be a variety of reasons for opting to operate under Chapter VI of the Charter rather than Chapter VII. For example, it is reasonable to assume that the Council did not want to interfere excessively in national pandemic management, or that imposing mandatory measures on such a large number of countries was challenging. Furthermore, others suggest that this choice was made with the intention of not overlapping or interfering with the functions of the World Health Organization (WHO). Nonetheless, currently there is a great debate about whether infectious diseases should be considered a threat to national and international security, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, there is relevant literature claiming that securitization of health appears to have significant advantages. The most prevalent arguments refer to the two theoretical approaches of human security and biosecurity, but there are also other that emphasize the benefits of increased financing, political support for health issues and more international cooperation. Since the debate appears to be divided between those who agree that infectious diseases are a clear security threat and those who argue that only conventional politics should be recognized in this sense, the purpose of this article is to examine the meaning of international security in the aftermath of a severe infection disease such as SARS-Cov-2, particularly in light of its potential development or future pandemics. The essay specifically sought to evaluate to what extent and in what forms the COVID-19 pandemic represents a threat to global security, taking into consideration the weaknesses highlighted within health systems and the historic chance to change the idea of global security.
The meaning of global security after the COVID-19 pandemic: Is health securitization the solution? / Barletta, Mariangela. - (2022). (Intervento presentato al convegno 2022 ESIL Research Forum tenutosi a Glasgow).