Strengthening health in environmental assessments in Estonia. Gap analysis and way forward
In the frame of a project on capacity building in environment and health (CBEH), co-funded by the European Commission, a workshop took place in June 2012 to review the specific capacity needs Estonia in relation to: implementation of Health Impact Assessment (HIA); further integration of health in environmental assessments (EA); and use of methods for quantitative risk assessment in local assessments.
HIA is a prospective process – it looks at the potential effects of policies, plans, programmes and projects on health. One of the drivers for looking into HIA and its implementation in Estonia was the occurrence of a number of fires in the area of the city of Kunda. This focus provided a platform to examine ways of working between environment and health and to develop a programme for HIA at a country level.
One of the key findings was the need to define clear roles and responsibilities between environment and health for the implementation of risk assessment and HIA. Consequently, the main outcome was a plan for the integration of health in EA. Using information provided by participants on existing EA activities, one project was specifically identified as being useful to develop those needs.