Integrating health in environmental assessments

WHO/Europe supports the integration of health into environmental assessments, such as environmental impact assessments (EIA) and strategic environmental assessments (SEA), and contributes to implementation of the SEA Protocol with regard to inclusion of health considerations.

This is done through capacity building as well as through developing methods and tools for the HIA of specific sectors within projects.

EIA should consider, among other issues, the effects of a project on health, but this aspect is often assessed poorly or not at all.

SEA facilitates the identification and prevention of possible environmental effects right from the start of a project, and enables environmental objectives to be considered on a par with socioeconomic ones. SEA, undertaken much earlier in the decision-making process than EIA, is therefore a key tool to prevent ill health and tackle health inequalities. Fields of application are diverse, transport being the most extensively explored.