Using impact assessment in environment and health: a framework




More  and  more,  countries  are  faced  with  the  challenge  of addressing  the  burden  of  disease  arising  from  environmental exposures. Capacity building in environment and health has been recognized as a critical need among Member States of the WHO European Region, and the European Union. To address this need the  WHO  European  Centre  for  Environment  and  Health  is assisting WHO Member States to  use health impact assessment  (HIA)  and  health  in  environmental  assessments  (EA)  like environmental  impact  assessments  (EIA)  and  strategic environmental assessments (SEA).  In order to further reduce citizens’ environmental health burden  of  disease  and  tackle  environmental  health  inequities,  a framework  for  the  analysis  of  environment  and  health interactions  through  environmental  and  health  impact assessments is presented in this report. Key stakeholders such as practitioners  in  public  health  and  environmental  agencies  at various  levels  participate  in  a  joint  workshop  to  analyse  impact assessments of selected projects, plans, programmes or policies outside  the  health  sector  and  to  place  them  in  the  context  of other  major  families  of  health  determinants,  such  as  lifestyle, socioeconomic  factors,  health  care  etc.  Gaps  in  capacity  and knowledge  are  discussed  as  well  as  how  existing  environment and health data resources in the country can be used for impact assessment.  Based  on  the  analysis  and  discussions  a  country specific  action  plan  is  developed  for  enhanced  integration  of health in environmental assessments and the implementation of standalone HIA if desired.