Workshop in Estonia facilitates capacity building in health and environmental impact assessment

A national workshop was held 14–15 June 2012 to facilitate dialogue between the health and environment sectors in Estonia and to address capacity gaps in implementing health and environmental impact assessments. The Estonian Health Board organized the workshop in collaboration with other national institutions, the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health and the WHO Country Office in Estonia. 

The aim of this two-day workshop was to review together with Estonian health and environment experts their experience in carrying out health and environmental impact assessments and how health issues are considered in these assessments. Estonian case studies were analysed, paying particular attention to what went well and what could be improved in future assessments. To facilitate integration of health into environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental assessments, capacity gaps within the health and environment sectors were analysed and options for in-depth training were discussed. 

Multicountry initiative

The workshop was part of the multicountry project "Capacity Building in Environment and Health (CBEH)", co-funded by the European Commission, Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO). Estonia is one of eight Member States of the European Union (EU) participating in this project, whose overall objective is to strengthen in-country capacity in several Member States to deal with environment and health issues. 

An international training workshop on environment and health was also held in Riga, Latvia, 19–23 March 2012, for 70 representatives of the environment and health sectors from the eight participating EU Member States. Aims of the event were to provide new insights on pressing environment and health topics, offer in-depth training options on specific areas in environment and health, and to provide opportunities for networking among participants of different sectors and countries. 

The training in Latvia was structured around four components: 

  • key lectures delivered by international experts;
  • case studies presented by country representatives;
  • parallel in-depth modules related to health in impact assessments and quantitative methods;
  • training of trainers.