20 April 2010

Thailand’s New Rules & Procedures for the Health Impact Assessment of Public Policies

Thailand's National Health Commission Office has issued revised rules and procedures for HIA's use:

Rules and Procedures for the Health Impact Assessment of Public Policies [294Kb]

The document clarifies the rights and obligations of citizens, government and industry in relation to HIA. It's an interesting read and provides a detailed account of Thailand's far-reaching health impact assessment regulations.

Much of the recent media coverage of the Mab Ta Phut case in Thailand has focused on the burden that HIA is placing on business. This document provides a more balanced and nuanced perspective on the regulations and practices that underpin Thailand's innovative approach to 'healthy development'.

Adelaide Statement on Health in All Policies

A statement has been developed following last week's WHO/South Australian Government Health in All Policies Conference.

The Adelaide Statement on Health in All Policies [PDF 205Kb] sets out the rationale for the HiAP approach, identifies some of its drivers and mechanisms, and discusses the role the health sector will play.

This version of the statement was developed at the conference and is not finalised, however it has been approved for dissemination. If you have any comments please make them below and I'll make sure they're brought to the attention of those finalising the statement.

UNSW Receives International Association for Impact Assessment 2010 Instititonal Award

The Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation (CHETRE) has received the International Association for Impact Assessment's 2010 Institutional Award. The award recognises CHETRE's "outstanding commitment to health impact assessment capacity building"

CHETRE is part of the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity at the University of New South Wales. CHETRE is only the second health-focused institution to receive the award (the Thai Health Systems Research Institute received it in 2005) and only the second Australian institution (the Commonwealth EPA received it in 1996, which is now part of the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts).

Patrick Harris from CHETRE receiving the award

Past Institutional Award recipients include:
  • 2009 Capacity Development and Linkages for Environmental Assessment in Africa (CLEAA, Tanzania)
  • 2008 Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA, Canada)
  • 2007 Swedish International Development Cooperation (Sweden)
  • 2006 Task Team on SEA of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD (OECD/DAC, United Kingdom)
  • 2005 Health Systems Research Institute (Thailand)
  • 2004 African Development Bank (Tunisia)
  • 2003 Southern African Institute for Environmental Assessment (SAIEA, Namibia)
  • 2001 International Institute for Environment Development (IIED, UK)
  • 2001 World Commission on Dams (South Africa)
  • 2000 International Union for Conservation of Nature (Switzerland)
  • 1999 The Netherlands Ministry of Housing & Spatial Planning (The Netherlands) and The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (UK)
  • 1998 Japanese Department of Environment, Division of Environmental Assessment (Japan)
  • 1997 Manchester EIA Centre (UK)
  • 1996 Australian Environmental Protection Agency (Australia)
  • 1995 Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (Canada)
  • 1994 US President’s Council on Environmental Quality (USA)

14 April 2010

A Different Kind of Health Reform: Health in All Policies

While everyone is debating the details of the Australian Government’s final position on health reform and next Monday’s Council of Australian Governments meeting another, quieter debate is underway. A conference organised by the World Health Organization and the South Australian Government is debating how to ensure that health is considered in all government policies.

This approach, known as Health in All Policies, seeks to make ensuring health and wellbeing a shared goal across government. Increasingly the issues that health systems and governments face worldwide are complex and lie beyond the direct control of health ministries. These are issues like ageing populations, sustainability of financing, rising rates of chronic disease, pandemics, and an increasing recognition of the importance of early childhood in determining health throughout a person’s life.

Heal in All Policies recognises this and seeks to make health not only a feature of joined-up government but also the driving force for it. As South Australian Premier Mike Rann noted when he opened the conference, health expenditure will account for the entire South Australian Government budget by 2030 unless bold steps are taken.

Health in All Policies originated from Finland as a major initiative under its Presidency of the European Union in 2006. In Australia, the South Australian Government has led the charge. It has built Health in All Policies into South Australia’s Strategic Plan and health lens analyses are undertaken on policies across government.

Health in All Policies is not an entirely new idea. Twenty-two years ago another Adelaide WHO conference developed Recommendations on Healthy Public Policy that emphasised the important role of all government policy in ensuring people’s health. There has been intersectoral action for health since then, but it hasn’t necessarily resulted in lasting changes to the way health ministries relate to other government agencies.

The impetus for re-focusing on the role of intersectoral policy now is that we face a number of “wicked problems” in health that have implications across government. These are issues such as rising rates of obesity that involve a complex array of stakeholders, a lack of agreement about what the nature of the problem actually is, interlocking constraints and constraints on resources. Wicked problems can’t be solved, only managed.

Health in All Policies is not a panacea but it does represent an important shift from the health sector describing the importance of the determinants of health to working constructively across government on them. It’s an ambitious vision to make health an explicit goal of all of government, rather than a silo to be maintained.

This activity is not without risk however. Having failed to reorient health systems to prevention are we now going to fail spectacularly to reorient the whole of government?

There is some cause for hope however. Reform is in the air, and increasing health costs are providing a renewed focus on a broader prevention agenda. South Australia, whilst still in the early days of its Health in All Policies agenda, has demonstrated that high-level action is possible in Australia.

More Information on HiAP

Health in All Policies – South Australian Department of Health

Health in All Policies – European Union

Ben Harris-Roxas is participating in the Health in All Policies Conference and his views don’t represent the organisers’.

12 April 2010

New Guidance: Methodology for Integrated Environmental and Health Impact Assessment - A focus on Latin America and the Carribean

The United Nations Environment Program has put out new guidance on a Methodology for Integrated Environmental and Health Impact Assessment - A focus on Latin America and the Carribean.

You can download the guidance here [PDF 14 Mb], and it's available in Spanish [Metodología para una evaluación integrada de medio ambiente y salud. Un enfoque en América Latina y el Caribe].

Health in All Policies Conference in Adelaide

I'm heading to Adelaide today for the WHO/South Australian Government Health in All Policies Conference. The program is available from:


Are there any particular aspects of the conference you'd like hear more about? Let me know in the comments and I'll report back.

1 April 2010

New Zealand HIA eNews: You've done HIA training, what next?

In this issue:
  • Profile: Les Milligan, Nelson Marlborough DHB
  • 12 Practical Tips for Keeping HIA on Your Agenda After Attending Training
  • Getting In and Doing It: How mentoring can help you
  • Invitation to Attend & Present at the 3rd Asia & Pacific Regional HIA Conference
  • 'Ala Mo'ui and its Relevance to HIA
  • International Articles, Websites and Short Films of Interest
Download eNews PDF 117Kb

New HIA Gateway Resources

Merseyside LTP SEA and HIA

Sustianability Appraisal of the Core Strategy - Bristol

Sustainabilty Appraisal (SA) Scoping Report: Basingstoke

"Streetcar" Bus Rapid Transport HIA: N. Staffordshire

Draft Policy 21 - Social and Health Impact Assessment Policy

Good Practice Guidance on HIA: Mining and Metal Operations (ICMM)

Putting Health in the Policy Picture

A Spatial Planning Checklist

Current Use:
Development of a Canadian HIA Course - Preliminary Version (NCCHPP)

Conference Abstracts - 7th International HIA Conference in Wales 2006

Conference Programme - 7th International HIA Conference in Wales 2006

Policy Documents:
Putting Health in the Policy Picture

Training Courses:
2-Day HIA Training Course, Sydney, 3rd-4th June 2010

Planning for Health & Well-being

3rd Asia and Pacific HIA Conference,Dunedin, NZ, 17th-19th November 2010

Climate Change Symposium - Washington D. C. 2010

Climate Change Symposium - Denmark 2010