The forthcoming Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting of the South-eastern Europe Health Network will take place on November 18, 2014 in Skopje.

Its realization is of undisputed importance given the context of the political, economic, social and health changes that have taken place in the region since the endorsement of the SEE Health Network Memorandum of Understanding in 2008 and particularly with regards to the implementation of the Banja Luka Pledge (2011), the SEE 2020 Growth Strategy recently endorsed (22 November 2013) by the SEE Ministers of Economy, the EU 2020 Strategy and the WHO Europe Health 2020 Policy Framework (2012) as well as the European Action Plan for Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services (2012).

The health reforms and the Whole-of-Government approach to the implementation of the WHO European Policy Framework for health and wellbeing – Health 2020, as well as the human resources for health, their mobility and the educational programmes will be in the focus of the meeting.

Considering the disastrous flooding that affected several SEEHN countries, the meeting will serve as an excellent opportunity to not only discuss emergencies, preparedness and response in the SEE region but to also create a mechanism, a Task Force, which will be put in place so to address crisis health preparedness aid in the SEEHN region. In this context, a Preparedness and response simulation exercise will be implemented at the Alexander the Great Airport in Skopje.

The participation of Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, will once again denote the continuous support of the WHO as a key partner in the process of Network establishing, development and functioning.

By providing for strengthened leadership, managerial and technical opportunities for the Network and further development of the regional cooperation in public health in SEE, this Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting will overview the Network activities throughout 2014, which has been an extremely intensive year for the regional collaboration for health, and will also set the trajectory for the following year.

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