Global governance of human genome editing: an allusive promise or toward responsible global governance?

Global governance of gene modifying technologies (GMTs) is deeply intertwined with human security, where the potential uses and applications of GMTs can have profound implications for the world. The rapid advancement in tools such as CRISPR-Cas-9 has accelerated the developments of COVID-19 vaccines, for instance. However, human enhancement using such technologies can also be unfair and unethical, with potentially irreversible change to the human germline. As these implications are transnational and intergenerational, this suggests the need for a clearly defined international framework of governance, where such a framework on GMTs could encourage responsibility and accountability from the relevant actors. The paper focuses on the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the global governance of human genome editing as a case study to explore the WHO’s regulatory power which reflects more broadly the shifting role of international law in the global health security discourse.