The Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS)

Partnership in public health in the Baltic region

The Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS) was established in 2003 by what is known as the Oslo Declaration. The Partnership’s mission is to promote sustainable development by improving peoples’ health and social well-being. The Partnership aims to contribute to intensifying cooperation on improving health care provision in the Baltic region.

It is intended to help minimise the regional differences in the access to medical benefits and services as well as achieving a general improvement in peoples' quality of life and the demographic situation overall. The Partnership aims to achieve this by intensifying cooperation among the States bordering the Baltic Sea, by assisting the partners and participants in capacity building, and by enhancing the coordination of international activities in the region.

The main objectives of the Health Partnership

  • reducing the spread of communicable diseases (for example, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis) and what are known as lifestyle diseases (NCDs such as cardiovascular disease) and
  • ameliorating the population's health status by means of improving health care provision and promoting healthy lifestyles

The Health Partnership works closely with other actors in the health care systems of the region (such as WHO EURO), to avoid duplication of efforts and to make use of synergies. In doing so, it builds on and supports existing national and international activities within this area of focus.

At present, ten governments (Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, the Russian Federation and Sweden), the European Commission and eight international organisations such as WHO EURO, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) collaborate within the NDPHS.

The topic of 'health' is also one of the priorities of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). The coordinator in this context is the NDPHS, which consequently has the possibility of drawing attention to specific aspects within European health policy. These also include what are known as non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance.

Germany as Chair of the NDPHS

Under Germany’s chair, the new NDPHS Strategy 2020 and accompanying Action Plan were adopted in 2015.
Moreover, the expert groups (EG) were adapted to changed tasks and new working groups set up.

Based on a long-term analysis of the comparative advantages of NDPHS over other public health actors in the region, the German chair focused on the drafting and adoption of the NDPHS Strategy 2020 and the accompanying Action Plan. In the process, the areas where the partnership can offer added public health value were strengthened. 

The aim has been, and remains, to make it possible for the Partnership to be used more effectively and thereby become more attractive. This is to be achieved, among other things, by making more intensive use of the regional and bilateral co-operation schemes that already exist among organisations, institutions and the Member States.