The eighth meeting of the World Health Organization’s Small Countries Initiative in Europe was held in Montenegro on 2 and 3 June 2022.
In the presence of WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge and WHO experts, the Initiative’s 11 member states discussed issues in line with the roadmap “Towards better health and wellbeing in small countries of the WHO European Region, 2022–2025”.
This year, the delegates were particularly interested in the reopening of tourism and, more specifically, tourism which has been reimagined to be both safter from a health perspective and more sustainable from a planetary perspective. For the majority of the countries involved in the Initiative, the tourism industry is an important contributor to GDP.
Echoing the 67th World Tourism Organization Commission for Europe, which was held at the same time in Yerevan, Armenia, the speakers highlighted best national practices for anticipating, adapting to and dealing with crises and undertaking transformation. They also discussed their challenges, some of which are an inevitable result of the countries’ sizes (infrastructure, qualified staff, etc.).
Monaco, which was represented by Isabelle Rosabrunetto and Alexandre Bordero, presented the sustainable tourism white paper, which had helped Monegasque businesses to better safeguard local ecosystems, as well as its support for the La Francophonie Institute for Sustainable Development (IFDD) in developing sustainable tourism in small, developing island nations.
Finally, there was an opportunity for the Monaco Scientific Centre, which attended the event in its capacity as a centre collaborating with WHO, to resume discussions on the substance of the agreement which links it to the international organisation.
The Montenegro Declaration summarising the issues addressed over the course of the two days was approved by consensus.
As the debate drew to a close, Luxembourg announced that it would organise the next session of the Initiative in 2023.