This has been a tumultuous year, but hopefully you share our feeling at the Secretariat that the end of the year is not as grim as its beginning.
The events that started on 24 February hit our Partnership hard. Continuation of activities with one Partner became impossible. Among its consequences was that a large amount of funding that was supposed to finance most of the practical activities of the Partnership in 2022-2023 became unavailable. In addition, travel remained limited for the first part of the year, so we had to rely on electronic means of communication to address this crisis and in parallel continue doing our regular work.
But we persevered. And, as it starts to emerge now, this year has given us the impetus to find a fresh start, regenerate and grow.
We have just adopted the new NDPHS Strategy that will guide the Partnership’s work in 2023-2025. Change is the underlying theme of the Strategy. This Partnership will become better in providing useful outcomes, communicating more efficiently, and engaging new stakeholders. Looking back at the year, we see that this change is already happening.
Striving to deliver more practical outcomes, our Partnership engaged in the new “Arts on Prescription” project, which over the coming three years will develop a guide for establishing Arts on Prescription schemes that is adaptable to the local and regional circumstances. In addition, we are developing and soon submitting for funding an NDPHS project that will produce tailored solutions for improving the capacity of occupational safety and health professionals and SME owners and managers to deal with psychosocial risks at the workplace.
We have also worked to upscale our storytelling and communication. The NDPHS website, our main tool for communication, has been remade and is launched in its new form. We have started the podcast “Tune in Health,” to give voice to the various storytellers of our region and beyond, and especially the stakeholders not represented in the Partnership’s formal constellations.
In the second part of the year, after two years of seeing each other only online, our Expert Groups and governing bodies resumed in person meetings. The Committee of Senior Representatives met in Stockholm on 8-9 September, to discuss issues such as the future of the Partnership, the new NDPHS Strategy and the pressing themes of antimicrobial resistance and mental health.
Meeting the familiar faces in person was not only more enjoyable, but also more productive than online meetings. However, we need to be careful not to become a closed club and therefore engagement of new stakeholders has been high on our agenda this year and will continue in the future. Among this year’s achievements was the establishment of a network for cooperation of municipalities in the Baltic Sea region. Initially the network will focus on issues related to alcohol and substance use, and eventually the thematic scope can be expanded. We also appreciate that our role as Health Policy Area Coordinator in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region has provided us with a perfect forum for engaging with other sectors and promoting the Health in All Policies approach.