31 January 2010

Job: Project Manager HIA of California Cap and Trade:

Project Manager position at the Public Health Institute, Redmond CA USA
Health Impact Assessment of California Cap and Trade Scheme


The Public Health Institute (PHI) is a large non-profit public health organization conducting a broad range of public health research, training, and technical assistance programs in California, throughout the nation, and around the world. PHI is seeking a full time 1 year limited Project Manager for Health Impact Assessment (HIA). This position is located in Richmond, CA.

Project Manager will coordinate a HIA of the California Air Resources Board cap and trade regulations. The tasks of the overall project include completing primarily the scoping, assessment, and reporting phases of the HIA. The assessment phase includes conducting pathway analyses, analysis of baseline data, and scenarios analysis. The Project Manager will be in charge of the overall project. Duties will include conducting meetings and communicating with key stakeholders and partners, writing the final report, and conducting an evaluation of the process.

This position represents an excellent opportunity for someone with interests in health effects of climate change and policy implications.

14 January 2010

Call for Abstracts: WHO/IAIA one day HIA conference to coincide with IAIA10

Health Impact Assessment Conference

To be held at WHO in Geneva on 7 April 2010

Urban development and extractive industries: What can HIA offer?

Download the Flyer

A one-day conference on recent advances in Health Impact Assessment will take place in Geneva on 7 April 2010, hosted by WHO and the IAIA. The preliminary programme will be posted soon.

Abstracts are welcome in the two conference topic areas:

Topic 1: HIA in Cities (morning session). For this topic, we are looking for HIA examples or analysis of HIAs linked to urban development; abstracts must focus on the links between urban health and projects and programmes in sectors such as land use planning, housing, waste management and transport.

Topic 2: HIA in Extractive Industries (afternoon session). For this topic, we
are looking for HIA examples or analysis of HIAs in extractive industries dealing with natural resources, such as mining, oil and gas, forestry and logging.

Within each of these topic areas, we are particularly interested in abstracts that explore one or more of the following aspects:

a) Linkages between project management and health systems/health authorities.
b) Accountability mechanisms for HIA, such as monitoring, evaluation and followup of HIA recommendations, impact on policies and on health outcomes.
c) The use of health in stakeholder engagement and communicating about
project impacts.
d) Has the HIA resulted in modifications to plans and projects? Has it assisted in protecting and promoting health?

Instructions for applicants:
The abstracts are to be sent by e-mail only, by 15 February 2010 at the latest, to the following address: hia@who.int

Please print HIA URBAN DEVELOPMENT or HIA NATURAL RESOURCES in the Subject line.

Each abstract should be a short and concise document in Word (.doc) or pdf
format. In no more than 150 words, it should describe the experience or example and show how it relates to one or more of the criteria described above.

Selected authors will be contacted directly and asked to prepare posters based on the abstracts which will be published in the conference proceedings.

13 January 2010

Where have we been? A new way to stay up to date

The HIA Blog has been lying fallow for a little while, though this is largely because I have been using Twitter to post news and information as it crops up. Here are some recent tweets you might have missed:
You can follow the HIA Blog on Twitter. It's easy to use, mercifully brief, and you can probably check it on your mobile phone.

Did British American Tobacco influence the development of EU impact assessment regulations to favour business interests over health?

A fascinating article on the role of British American Tobacco in advocating for business-oriented forms of impact assessment in the European Union was published in PLOS Medicine today:

“Working the System”—British American Tobacco's Influence on the European Union Treaty and Its Implications for Policy: An Analysis of Internal Tobacco Industry Documents

The editor's summary describes the article far more succinctly than I can:

What Did the Researchers Do and Find?

The researchers analyzed 714 BAT internal documents (identified by searching the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, which contains more than 10 million internal tobacco company documents) that concerned attempts made by BAT to influence regulatory reforms in Europe. They also analyzed related literature from other sources (for example, academic publications) and interviewed 16 relevant people (including people who had worked at the European Commission). This analysis shows that from 1995, BAT worked with other businesses to promote European regulatory reforms (in particular, the establishment of a business-orientated form of IA) that favor large corporations. A lobbying campaign, initiated by BAT but involving a “policy network” of other companies, first helped to secure binding changes to the EU Treaty that require policymakers to minimize legislative burdens on businesses. The analysis shows that after achieving this goal, which BAT described as an “important victory,” further lobbying ensured that these treaty changes were translated into the implementation of a business-orientated form of IA within the EU. Both the tobacco industry and the chemical industry, the researchers argue, have since used the IA to delay and/or weaken EU legislation intended to protect public health.

What Do These Findings Mean?

These findings suggest that BAT and its corporate allies have fundamentally altered the way in which EU policy is made by ensuring that all significant EU policy decisions have to be assessed using a business-orientated IA. As the authors note, this situation increases the likelihood that the EU will produce policies that favor big business rather than the health of its citizens. Furthermore, these findings suggest that by establishing a network of other industries to help in lobbying for EU Treaty changes, BAT was able to distance itself from the push to establish a business-orientated IA to the extent that Commission officials were unaware of the involvement of the tobacco industry in campaigns for IA. Thus, in future, to safeguard public health, policymakers and public-health groups must pay more attention to corporate efforts to shape decision-making processes. In addition, public-health groups must take account of the ways in which IA can be used to undermine as well as support effective public-health policies and they must collaborate more closely in their efforts to ensure effective national and international policy.

This study should be of interest to all impact assessors, but particularly those who think that mandating IA's use is the solution to perceived shortcomings in policy development and planning.

Update: Media Coverage
The Guardian
New Scientist