Global health security

Finland has a long track record of promoting global health security through cross-sectoral cooperation. In an increasingly interconnected world, all countries need to have the capability to prevent, detect, and respond to health threats and emergencies that carry broad health consequences. Multisectoral commitment across relevant sectors – such as human and animal health, agriculture, food safety, finance, transport and logistics, development and civil protection – is of key importance. 

The International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) is an international agreement between 196 countries including all WHO Member States. The agreement concerns the measures taken by WHO and its Member States to prepare for, and respond to, cross-border health threats. Finland has implemented the agreement at the national level.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, international processes have been initiated to enhance health security. These processes include the drafting of WHO’s new international accord on pandemic preparedness and response, and assessing whether the International Health Regulations should be updated based on lessons learned from the pandemic. 

In addition to participating in multilateral organisations such as WHO, Finland also participates in the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), which focuses on the prevention of cross-border bio and health security threats, and the JEE Alliance, which promotes the building of health security capacity to support the implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005).

The participating countries have agreed to build their capacities to detect, assess and report public health events. WHO enhances health security and the implementation of the International Health Regulations by, for example, organising voluntary Joint External Evaluations (JEE). A report is published at the end of the evaluation. The purpose of Joint External Evaluations is to help countries recognise gaps in their existing health systems and preparedness, and prepare a cross-sectoral plan to address those gaps. Finland’s Joint External Evaluation was carried out in 2017.

Finland’s cross-sectoral health security cooperation is based on the comprehensive security approach. In Finland, cross-sectoral health security cooperation is coordinated by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The work is monitored by a cross-sectoral health security steering group that includes representation from all administrative sectors. The health security steering group has a rotating chairmanship.

Further information

Outi Kuivasniemi, Director for International Affairs 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, International Affairs Unit (KVY) 0295163117  


Satu Leino, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, International Affairs Unit (KVY) 0295163498