Small countries initiative


For further information, contact:

WHO European Office for Investment for Health and Development
C/O Ospedale S. Giovanni e Paolo – Corridoio San Domenico
6777 Castello
30122 Venice, Italy

WHO established the small countries initiative so that countries in the WHO European Region with a population of less than 2 million people can share their knowledge on implementing Health 2020.

The 11 members of the initiative are:

  • Andorra
  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Iceland
  • Latvia
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • San Marino
  • Slovenia

The initiative was established in 2013 at an informal meeting in Turkey, during the 63rd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe.

The first high-level meeting of small countries was organized in July 2014, hosted by San Marino, to discuss how the countries could advance implementation of Health 2020.

San Marino is co-leading the initiative with WHO/Europe's European Office for Investment for Health and Development, Venice, Italy.

Key action areas

These countries' commitment to implementing Health 2020 led to the formulation of the San  Marino Manifesto and to an agreement to work on 4 key actions:

  1. document how to align national health policies to Health 2020;
  2. develop joint capacity-building events and structures between WHO/Europe and participants in the small countries initiative to promote health and reduce health inequities;
  3. create a supportive environment for Health 2020 through better engagement of the media as an implementation partner; and
  4. create a platform for sharing experiences and mutual learning about Health 2020 implementation.

The small countries initiative gained additional momentum at the 64th session of the Regional Committee. The second high-level meeting will take place in Andorra (2–3 July 2015) and focus on policies to reduce health inequalities, and multisectoral and life-course approaches to health promotion and disease prevention.