The Northern Dimension of the European Union

The Northern Dimension of the European Union

A Ministerial Conference in Oslo 27 October 2003 with 15 countries and 8 international organisations represented established the Northern Dimension Partnership for Public Health and Social Wellbeing. Russia participates in this partnership, which is the major superstructure for the cooperation in the fields of health and social issues in Norway's adjacent areas. In 2006-2007 Lithuania chairs the partnership, with Norway as deputy.

The priorities of the partnership are in line with the Barents cooperation programme on health and related social issues, with objectives of reducing major infectious diseases and lifestyle-related diseases and to promote a healthy and good lifestyle. Initiatives to improve the conditions of children shall be given priority, as well as indigenous people and vulnerable groups.

The Partnership shall not run programmes by itself, but stimulate to increased and better coordinated efforts by its partners. The partnership is organised with annual Partner Meetings, and at least every second year a meeting at Ministerial Level shall be held. Between the ministerial meetings the partnership is lead by a committee of senior representatives. The partnership has a small secretariat located in Stockholm, as well as expert groups on primary health, prison health, hiv/aids, work-related health and lifestyle/alcohol. Norway shall particularly support the work on prison health.

The need for increased effort and coordination in the cooperation on health and social issues with Russia and the adjacent areas are still considered as important by Norway. The Northern Dimension of the EU and a strong partnership is also important for international relations, both related to EU-Russian relations and to Norway's relations with both the EU and to Russia.