By Raad Fadaak

This paper traces the uneven and recent history of ‘global health security’ (GHS) as a conceptual space that emerged in the 1990s, and questions how it is undergoing transformation today. It argues that GHS has shifted – from at one time exclusively referring to revisions occurring to international public health norms (the International Health Regulations), to now marking a complex arena where multiple actors debate and re-consider what counts as both ‘preparedness’ and measurable health systems strengthening ‘action’. This shift is explored here in three ways: (1) by focusing on early landmarks of conceptual change occurring in the idea of ‘global health security’ across the 2000s; (2) by evincing these changes through a case-study on the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA); and (3) by highlighting some of the effects that this change introduces in thinking about—and acting on behalf of—GHS. These changes that have taken place over the last decade have far-reaching effects on both global health policy and project development.