Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being


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Background, mission, priorities, strategy, actors and activities

NDPHS in brief...

The Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS) is a cooperative effort of ten governments, the European Commission and eight international organisations. Also referred to as "the Partnership" on this website, the NDPHS provides a regional forum for concerted action to tackle challenges to health and social well-being in the Northern Dimension area.

For quick access to concise information about the NDPHS, its actors, mission, objectives and tools please read the NDPHS leaflet aimed at all groups of readers and the public in general.


The NDPHS was formally established at a ministerial-level meeting on 27 October 2003, in Oslo, Norway. It operates in accordance with the Declaration concerning the establishment of a NDPHS (the Oslo Declaration), which was adopted during this meeting. The Declaration lays the foundation for the Partnership’s objectives, structure, role and practical functions, main priorities, financing methods and guidelines for future development. Being multinational and multi-stakeholder in its composition, the membership of the NDPHS is comprised of nine Partner Countries, the European Commission and eight Partner Organisations (listed here).

The NDPHS is one of four existing Partnerships established within the Northern Dimension (ND) policy which involves the European Union, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation. Other two structures of the ND policy are the Northern Dimension Institute (NDI) and the Northern Dimension Business Council (NDBC).

Actors and structure

In accordance with the Oslo Declaration, NDPHS eligible partners are “the Founding partners, EU Member States and Northern Dimension Partner Countries, the European Commission and other relevant EU Institutions, regional co-operation bodies, international organisations and financing institutions. Eligible participants are interested sub-national administrative entities in the Northern Dimension area. Other countries or organisations associated with the Northern Dimension may become Partners or Participants of the Partnership in accordance with national legislation or statutes and through a procedure to be established by the Committee of Senior Representatives.”

Countries and international organisations that meet the corresponding conditions spelled out above, and are willing to become part of the NDPHS, are welcome to apply for a Partner or a Participant status with the NDPHS. When applying, they must adhere to the Rules of procedure for approval of new NDPHS Partners and Participants.

The Partnership operates at several levels, the most important being the Partnership Annual Conference (PAC), the Committee of Senior Representatives (CSR), the Meeting of the Parties (MP), Expert Groups, Task Groups and the NDPHS Secretariat. See the NDPHS organigram for an overall picture and read more about the role and composition of the above-mentioned bodies on their respective pages.

Mission and objectives 

The mission of the NDPHS is to promote the sustainable development of the Northern Dimension area by improving peoples’ health and social well-being. The Partnership aims to contribute to this process by intensifying cooperation, assisting the Partners in capacity building, and by enhancing the extent of coordination between international activities within the Northern Dimension area.

In working to achieve these objectives, the Partners focus on increasing political and administrative coherence between the countries in the Northern Dimension area, narrowing their social and economic disparities, and improving peoples’ overall quality of life.

Priority fields

The Partnership has two main priority fields in which it aims to support cooperation and coordination:

Across both priorities, gender and children’s perspectives are taken into account. Equity and social inclusion are treated as central elements in achieving the Partnership’s objectives, for which reason a strong interaction between the health and social sectors is promoted. People with disabilities and indigenous peoples are also recognised as vulnerable groups that have particular needs and therefore require special attention.

Areas of action, which are prioritised during a given period of time, are described in multiannual strategies and action plans accompanying them (see the next section). They are then further detailed, if needed, in annual work plans (see further down).

NDPHS Strategy 2020 and accompanying Action Plan

During 2015-2020, the Partnership work is guided by the new NDPHS Strategy 2020, adopted by the Committee of Senior Representatives. The Strategy includes, inter alia, the following:


The adopted overall objective indicates what the Partnership strives to achieve either independently or as one of many actors in the ND area. The cross-cutting issues are issues that accommodate broader themes and lie at the core of all actions under the specific objectives. The objectives are specific, measurable and time-bound goals that the Partnership strives to achieve. Finally, the guiding principles are general rules to be followed during the implementation of the Strategy 2020.

The Strategy 2020 is accompanied by an Action Plan, also adopted by the Committee of Senior Representatives. The Action Plan specifies expected results and indicators to measure progress towards achieving them, as well as planned activities and, finally, resources warranted for the implementation of the Strategy.

NDPHS role in EU Strategy for BSR

The NDPHS actively took part in the process of developing the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) inter alia by presenting its position paper. It has continued its engagement in the Strategy since its inception and is responsible for leading and coordinating the EUSBSR Policy Area "Health.“ Health has been included in the EUSBSR as one of the policy areas in recognition of the need to properly address the issues of public health and social well-being as important cross-cutting factors for the prosperity, security and attractiveness of the Baltic Sea Region.

Many health-related activities have been taken and are being taken by the NDPHS and other stakeholders. To learn about them and to announce your interest to become involved please visit the EUSBSR section of this website.


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