8 May 2020

Health Impact Assessment: Current practice internationally

Mirko Winkler led a team that undertook a survey of 122 HIA practitioners across 29 countries. The findings highlight that:
  • HIA is being used worldwide
  • Capacity is concentrated at the beginner and intermediate levels, though a higher proportion of respondents from Europe reported having more than ten years of HIA experience
  • there is a need for more advanced capacity building and training offerings internationally
  • strengthening the policies and legal frameworks under which HIAs are undertaken remains relevant.
Twenty-four percent of respondents were from the Asia Pacific, and practices across our region are reflected in the overall results.

Health Impact Assessment: A practical guide that I wrote with Patrick Harris, Elizabeth Harris, and Lynn Kemp (Harris et al. 2007) was identified as the fifth most-used HIA guidance internationally, after WHO guides, Martin Birley’s book on HIA (Birley, 2011), and the IAIA Best Practice Principles (Quigley et al. 2006).

In general respondents were split on whether HIA’s use is continuing to increase or has stagnated, a debate that has relevance across the Asia Pacific region. Of particular important to our region, the paper emphasises that:
Finally, there is an increasing recognition of the role that biodiversity and ecosystem services play in the relationship “healthy planet, healthy people”, and the role that impact assessments play. In an outlook for the future, and additionally to providing a framework for safeguarding health in sustainable development, HIA has the potential to be contributory to the operationalisation of “planetary health”

References

Quigley, R., L. den Broeder, P Furu, A Bond, B Cave, and R Bos. “Health Impact Assessment International Best Practice Principles.” Fargo, North Dakota: International Association for Impact Assessment, 2006.
Winkler, Mirko S., Peter Furu, Francesca Viliani, Ben Cave, Mark Divall, Geetha Ramesh, Ben Harris-Roxas, and Astrid M. Knoblauch. “Current Global Health Impact Assessment Practice.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 9 (April 25, 2020): 2988. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17092988.
Harris, P., B. Harris-Roxas, E. Harris, and L. Kemp. “Health Impact Assessment: A Practical Guide.” Sydney: UNSW Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity and NSW Health, 2007.
Martin Birley. Health Impact Assessment: Principles and Practice. London: Routledge, 2011.

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