24 August 2010

An Asia Pacific Health Impact Forum: An idea whose time has come?

The use of health impact assessment (HIA) has expanded rapidly throughout the Asia Pacific, with several hundred people now having some level of experience with conducting HIAs. These people are scattered however, with limited ability to share experiences, ask questions or seek help.

I'd like to propose a new grouping to help meet these needs: an Asia Pacific Health Impact Forum.

I envisage this forum as a mechanism for information sharing and exchange between individual HIA practitioners (organisations would not necessarily be members). Some of its functions may include promoting the use of HIA across the Asia Pacific region, supporting HIA events, and acting as a mechanism for contacting HIA practitioners.

The forum is not intended to be an association, nor is it intended to replace existing regional initiatives such as WPRO's Thematic Working Group on HIA. In many ways it is about providing a framework for existing ad-hoc activites such as the Asia Pacific HIA HIA listserv and determining venues for Asia Pacific HIA conferences.

I'd like this post to provide a starting point for discussion. What do you think? Please let me know in the comments. Specifically:
  • What should be the aims of the forum?
  • Who should be members of the forum?
  • Which countries should be included in the forum?
  • What should the forum’s core activities be?
  • Should there be a forum Chair? How should they be determined?
  • Should the forum be affiliated with the International Association for Impact Assessment?
  • Do we even need a forum?