With this approach Positiiviset, HivFinland, organised a seminar in Helsinki in October 2019. The seminar was an official side event of Finland's Presidency of the Council of the EU, which Finland held from 1 July to 31 December 2019. Finland had two main themes as regards social and health policy: the economy of wellbeing and gender equality.

Positiiviset, HivFinland, wanted to take an opportunity to celebrate organisation’s 30th anniversary with a whole day seminar about what “Economy of Wellbeing” means for us? Will this policy orientation put ALL people and their wellbeing at the centre of policy and decision making? 

Here you can find a summary of the seminar “Wellbeing Economy – a Way to Sustainability in the HIV and AIDS Response?“

The economy of the wellbeing emphasises the interlinkage between economic growth and people’s well-being. Both are needed, and they reinforce one another. Finnish social and health sector NGOs see these three policy domains fundamental in building the future of Europe:

  1. Wellbeing in all policies
  2. Equality and basic rights and
  3. Participation in society and dynamic civil society.

Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the role of civil society, NGOs and communities have been remarkable in the response. This hasn’t changed, we can’t have sustainable response without communities and NGOs.

To ensure health and wellbeing for all we need to know our epidemics, we need prevention, care and treatment, we need human rights, respectful drug policies and comprehensive harm reduction. And very importantly, to overcome the three big barriers to wellbeing: stigma, discrimination and criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission.

Presidencies of the Council of the EU are not necessarily world changing periods, but as a policy orientation and governance approach Economy of Wellbeing is very welcome.   

During the Finnish EU presidency council conclusions on the Economy of Wellbeing were adopted by the EPSCO (Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs) Council at its meeting held on 24 October 2019.

To pick up just few lines, council conclusions are acknowledging for example:

The Economy of Wellbeing is based on a sound and sustainable economic policy. It highlights the importance of investing in effective, efficient and equitable policy measures and structures ensuring access for all to public services including health and social services, long-term care, the promotion of health and preventive measures, social protection as well as education, training and life-long learning.

As health is defined within the WHO as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, the basic principles of the organization resonate strongly with wellbeing economy approach. WHO place health as a primary goal of human life “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being”.

Sini Pasanen

Executive Director, Positiiviset, HivFinland
Steering Committee Chair, AIDS Action Europe



Council conclusions on the Economy of Wellbeing

SOSTE: Finnish social and health sector NGOs promoting Wellbeing Economy during Finland’s EU presidency (second page in English)

You can also watch the seminar on YouTube