30 October 2013

IAIA14 Impact Assessment for Social and Economic Development

34th Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment
8-11 April 2014 | Enjoy, Casino & Resort, Hotel del Mar | Viña del Mar, Chile
Opportunities for students described in the attached flyer

Abstracts for both paper and poster submissions are invited through 6 December 2013.  For more information and to sign up to receive updates about this conference please visit www.iaia.org/iaia14.  IAIA conferences are interdisciplinary, and more than 800 delegates from over 80 nations are expected to attend.

During IAIA14, participants will be encouraged to discuss how the various instruments of impact assessment can assist developers, industry, decision-makers, financial institutions, development cooperation providers, and the public to integrate environmental, social, and other concerns in the following areas of interest:

  • Cultural heritage
  • Public participation
  • Social conflict
  • Sustainable development
  • SEA/EIA in Latin America
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Governance
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Land use planning and management
  • Agriculture, forestry and fisheries
  • Natural disasters
  • Environmental management systems
  • Health impact assessment
  • Social impact assessment
  • Strategic environmental assessment
  • Environmental IA law, policies and practice
  • Capacity building for better IA systems
  • EIA methodology and practice
  • Monitoring and follow-up
  • Environmental compliance and enforcement
  • Communication in impact assessment
  • Evaluation and evolution of national EIA systems

Many more topics are proposed,  along with training courses, technical visits, and networking opportunities.

For more information, abstracts submission, updates and registration, go to www.iaia.org/iaia14.   We hope to see you in Chile!

22 October 2013

Janette Sadik-Khan: To revitalise planning try new things that are cheap

New York's Transportation Commissioner on what NYC has done to try to change street life, via Francesca in the LinkedIn group.

16 October 2013

Bulletin politiques publiques et santé, le 7 octobre 2013


L'Association de santé publique de la Colombie-Britannique tiendra cette conférence régionale, ainsi qu’une séance avec le Ministère de la Santé sur les priorités émergentes en santé, les 4 et 5 novembre 2013, à Victoria.

Le programme de la réunion de l'American Public Health Association aborde les questions actuelles et émergentes en science, politique etpratique de la santé dans le but de prévenir les maladies et promouvoir la santé. L’événement aura lieu du 2 au 6 novembre 2013, à Boston.


Ce numéro d’octobre 2013 du bulletin « Investir pour l’avenir » porte sur les politiques publiques. On y présente notamment des outils pour promouvoir les saines habitudes de vie, des évaluations d’impact sur la santé pour soutenir les municipalités en Montérégie, des outils pratiques pour améliorer l’offre alimentaire dans les écoles dans le Centre-du-Québec, etc.

10 October 2013

How does HIA bring change?

A guest post from Jonathan Heller from the Human Impact Partners From the HIP blog:
There is a dirty little secret among HIA practitioners: We don’t all agree about what makes the work we are doing effective and about how doing HIA will lead to change. This became clear to me during conversations that started during the “Advocacy and Objectivity in HIA” panel at HIA of the Americas earlier this year. But these differences crystalized for me flying home last week from the National HIA Meeting
The terms advocacy, bias and subjective have been thrown around a lot lately in the HIA field – terms that reveal deep differences among practitioners. I think there are at least three distinct theories of change held among our community. 
1. Data alone.  Subscribers to this theory of change believe all HIA practitioners need to do is to provide decision makers with data about health and health disparities. Armed with that data, decision makers will make better decisions.
2. Data and consensus. Subscribers to this theory believe that the best way to make change is to reach out to stakeholders with diverse views, which usually include community members and, depending on the HIA, could include people from different agencies, project proponents, and decision makers from across the political spectrum. With data and good facilitation, consensus can be reached regarding the impacts, recommendations, and report. That process and the findings will lead to decision makers making better decisions.
3. Data and Power. Subscribers to this theory believe that change is most likely to come from strong data combined with an HIA process that is used to build power in disenfranchised communities that face inequities. With this increased power and strong data, the voices of those most impacted will be heard and decision makers will make better decisions. 
Each of these theories has its merit and each may have its time and place. Each has examples it can hold up that show that it leads to decisions that improve health.
But, in our experience, if HIA is really a tool to achieve health and reduce inequities, combining data and power is the most effective way of getting there. History shows that the other two are challenging ways to truly change policies, plans, and projects that create inequities, especially if those in power don’t have the will to do so or if there is ideological tension around the proposal my ding. Those in power, in favor of a status quo that benefits them and is harming the disenfranchised, are simply not willing to yield power in the face of mere data.  And the compromises that result from consensus building between those who have power and those who do not usually support at best a middle ground that does not significantly benefit those most harmfully effected by decisions.
This is why at Human Impact Partners we do our HIAs in partnership with community organizing groups whose focus is building leadership in low-income communities and communities of color, lifting the voices of populations left out of decision-making discourse, and building the power of those communities.  
We know the data and power theory works. With our partners, we’ve used it over the last couple of years to win over $40 million in affordable housing in South Los Angeles (our USC and Farmers FieldHIAs), substantial increases in funds for alternatives to incarceration in Republican-controlled Wisconsin, and better policies for racial integration of schools in Minnesota. We’ve used it to raise awareness about the harmful impacts of detentions and deportations on immigrant children and families. And, through those processes, we’ve left behind not just awareness and better policies, but more importantly, a community that is more engaged in our democracy and more empowered to fight on their own behalf in the future.
In Closing the Gap in a Generation, the World Health Organization Commission on the Social Determinants of Health declared: “Any serious effort to reduce health inequities will involve changing the distribution of power within society and global regions, empowering individuals and groups to represent strongly and effectively their needs and interests and, in so doing, to challenge and change the unfair and steeply graded distribution of social resources (the conditions for health) to which all, as citizens, have claims and rights.” The great Brazilian philosopher and educator Paulo Freire said it more simply: “Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral."

9 October 2013

Health Impact Assessments in Australia and New Zealand 2005-2009

Overview of HIAs in Australia and New Zealand during the study period
I'm excited that several colleagues and I have published a paper on HIAs conducted in Australia and New Zealand between 2005 and 2009:

This paper is essentially a census of practice. It's the first paper from an Australian Research Council-funded study of the impact and effectiveness of HIAs conducted in Australia and New Zealand. The best thing is it's an open access publication, so anyone can access the entire article for free.

The flow chart below gives an overview of how HIAs were selected for inclusion in the study. We don't think we included every HIA done - a number were not possible to find or were never publicly released - but the study represents one of the more systematic and comprehensive attempts to describe HIA practice internationally.

A total of 115 potentially eligible HIAs were identified; 55 met the study's inclusion criteria
Please let us know what you think in the comments.