Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being
|Northern Dimension area|
|Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden|
|Partnership Annual Conference|
The Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS) is a transnational cooperative effort of ten governments, the European Commission and eight international organisations to tackle challenges regarding health and social well-being issues in the Northern Dimension area.
The cooperation network arose out of the Northern Dimension Forum on Social Protection and Health held in the city of Joensuu, Finland, 2002. Only one year later the NDPHS was officially established by the so-called Oslo Declaration. Today the Partnership constitutes "an umbrella for activities on the regional, subregional and local levels, serving as a forum for coordination and synergies among the various actors."
According to the founding document the main goal of the NDPHS is "to promote sustainable development in the Northern Dimension area through improving human health and social wellbeing." In doing so, reducing the spread of major communicable diseases and preventing life-style related non-communicable diseases as well as enhancing peoples’ levels of social well-being and promoting socially rewarding lifestyles are further tasks of the NDPHS. All in all, as stated in the Oslo Declaration, "[t]he activities (…) should contribute to greater political and administrative coherence in the area, narrowing of social and economic differences, and to a general improvement of the quality of life and of the demographic situation."
The NDPHS is part of the Northern Dimension policy, which is a common policy shared by four equal partners: the European Union, Norway, Iceland and the Russian Federation. The policy’s main objectives are to provide a common framework for the promotion of dialogue and concrete cooperation, to strengthen stability and well-being, intensify economic cooperation, and promote economic integration, competitiveness and sustainable development in Northern Europe. The major decision-making body of the NDPHS network is the Partnership Annual Conference (PAC) which formulates the overall policy orientation of the Partnership. Another important body is the Committee of Senior Representatives (CSR) which is composed of high representatives from national administrations and decides amongst other on financial issues of the Partnership and the establishment of Expert Groups. Currently the Partnership is chaired by Estonia and co-chaired by Latvia. The Chair rotates every two years. The major practical work e.g. the implementation of the NDPHS Strategy 2020 and its accompanying Action Plan, including elaboration and implementation of concrete projects is then done in the Expert Groups, according to their Terms of Reference. The Expert Groups consist of high level experts who have profound expertise in their related fields and experience in project management. The following expert-level structures are operating within the NDPHS after the restructuring that took place in 2015:
- Expert Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (EG AMR)
- Expert Group on Alcohol and Substance Abuse (EG ASA)
- Expert Group on HIV, TB and Associated Infections (EG HIV, TB&AI)
- Expert Group on Non-communicable Diseases (EG NCD)
- Expert Group on Occupational Safety and Health (EG OSH)
- Expert Group on Primary Healthcare (EG PHC)
- Expert Group on Prison Health (EG PH)
The Partnership engages in a number of activities, including: policy and expertise exchange, information sharing and dialogue, project development and implementation, information production and dissemination and advocacy. The Partnership also works towards raising the awareness of the tremendous impact that health of populations has on the economic prosperity of the countries. Another priority is helping to convey relevant results and recommendations from ongoing and completed projects to the policy level.
Furthermore, the Partnership is the Policy Area Coordinator for “Health” in the EU Strategy of the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR).
Currently, the following countries hold Partner status:
Furthermore, the following organizations are Partners of the NDPHS:
- European Commission
- Baltic Sea States Subregional Co-operation (BSSSC)
- Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC)
- Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS)
- International Labour Organisation (ILO)
- International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
- Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM)
- Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
- World Health Organisation (WHO)
- Aasland, Aadne, 2008: Assessing the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being, in: Aalto, Pami/Blakkisrud, Helge/Smith, Hanna (eds.): The New Northern Dimension of the European Neighbourhood, CEPS, Brussels, p. 91.
- Oslo Declaration, p. 2