Regional organizations

The aim of various networks based on country groupings is to streamline collaboration in the European Region. WHO/Europe works with several of these networks. It seeks the added value and comparative advantage of each network it decides to join, hence avoiding duplication of work in Member States.

Council of the Baltic Sea States

The Council of the Baltic Sea States is an overall political forum for regional inter-governmental cooperation. The Members of the Council are the eleven states of the Baltic Sea Region as well as the European Commission. The states are Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden and a representative from the European Union.

Commonwealth of Independent States

The Health Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States represents nine countries and focuses on five broad areas of health: quality control of medicines; medical prevention and health systems development; epidemiological surveillance; HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; and sanitary security. The WHO/Europe participates in the Health Council meetings. Further cooperation with WHO/Europe is currently being reviewed.

Eurasian Economic Community

In 2012, the WHO Regional Office for Europe signed a memorandum of understanding with the  Eurasian Economic Community to foster closer collaboration. Areas of collaboration include:

  • the promotion of initiatives and activities aimed at the development of health care systems in EurAsEC countries;
  • technical matters in the area of health care and capacity-building;
  • the fight against epidemic and/or endemic diseases, as well as other diseases;
  • activities relating to support for maternal, newborn and child health;
  • the implementation of international food standards through support, as appropriate, for the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme;
  • activities designed to facilitate cooperation between professional and scientific organizations involved in the development of health care promotion;
  • activities designed to facilitate the participation and involvement of civil society in the implementation of health care policy and programmes.

The memorandum of understanding is currently being reviewed as the Eurasian Economic Community was formally succeeded by the Eurasian Economic Union in 2015.

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is an inter-governmental organization with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The OIC works toward ensuring to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony. WHO’s collaboration with the OIC is led by The WHO Regional Office for the Easter Mediterranean.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The WHO Regional Office for Europe cooperates with the SCO in particular in the areas of noncommunicable diseases.

Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being

The Regional Office is a founding member of the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being, which is a cooperative effort of ten governments, the European Commission and eight international organizations. It provides a forum for concerted action to tackle challenges to health and social well-being in the Northern Dimension area and oversees a number of expert and task groups that work on a variety of health issues; for example, primary health care, alcohol, noncommunicable diseases and occupational health.

The Regional Office contributed to shaping the NDPHS Strategy 2020 and has been involved in several working groups in order to align the activities with WHO policies and guidance.

South-eastern Europe Health Network

In 2002, the South-eastern Europe Health Network (SEEHN) was established under the Stability Pact for South-eastern Europe. In its early years, this was a health collaboration targeted at peace and reconciliation, but it has developed into a regional partnership that now promotes population health and health equity through an intersectoral approach. Improvement of population health in the SEEHN countries is acknowledged as one of the preconditions for employment, social cohesion and economic development, as shown in the incorporation of health indicators and health policy commitments into the regionally inclusive growth strategy, SEE 2020.

The Regional Office, through its investment in health and public health in its offices in Copenhagen and Venice, played a key supporting role in developing the health pillar and indicators of the SEE 2020 strategy. While SEEHN is currently establishing a permanent secretariat with four positions funded by regular contributions, the Regional Office remains a key technical partner.