Fifth high-level meeting of small countries: working together for better health and well-being for all

26–27 June 2018, Reykjavik, Iceland

As a result of an idea put forward by San Marino, the Small Countries Initiative was established in 2013 at an informal meeting held during the 63rd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in Çeşme Izmir, Turkey.

San Marino and the WHO European Office for Investment for Health and Development, Venice, Italy, of the WHO European Region for Europe, colead the Initiative that has developed into a platform involving the eight Member States in the WHO European Region with populations of less than 1 million.

Each year, member countries of the Small Country Initiative are invited to nominate ministerial-level representives for participation in the high-level meeting of small countries, providing them with the opportunity to present their health agendas and discuss how to move forward. The focus is on issues, such as the life-course approach, intersectoral action for health and resilience, health information systems (through the Small Countries Health Information Network (SCHIN)) and communication (through SCHIN’s subnetwork of communication officers in countries participating in the Initiative).

The agenda of the Fifth high-level meeting of small countries is informed by major contemporary European and global events, positioning the Small Countries Initiative as a unique forum for forward-thinking discussions. Technical topics for discussion will include:

  • adaptation of the “Roadmap to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, building on Health 2020, the European policy for health and well-being” (including the use of whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches) to the needs of small countries;
  • environment and health challenges, with a focus on climate change and water;
  • issues related to financial protection and universal health coverage (linked to topics on the agendas of the forthcoming high-level meeting, Health systems for prosperity and solidarity: leaving no one behind, Tallinn, Estonia, 13–14 June 2018, and Second International Conference on Primary Health Care: towards universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals, Astana, Kazakhstan, 25–26 October 2018);
  • initiatives in the areas of nutrition and physical activity (as a follow-up of the Malta Statement on Ending Childhood Obesity resulting from the Fourth high-level meeting of small countries, St Julian's, Malta, 26–27 June 2017);
  • resilience at the individual, community and system levels: the backbone of better health and well-being;
  • progress reports on health-information activities in the WHO European Region, and activities of SCHIN and its subnetwork of communication officers.