16 April 2008

Canadian Senate Mulls HIA Requirement

By Marla Orenstein, Habitat Health Impact Consulting

The Canadian Senate Subcommittee on Population Health has released an interim report on its study of the determinants of health. The purpose of the interim report is to outline the major issues facing the development of population health policy in Canada; to present policy options to improve overall health status and reduce health disparities; and to launch a public debate on the role of the federal government in population health policy.

One of the policy options considered in the report is establishing a federal requirement for the application of HIA to all new public policy proposals. This requirement - if implemented - would bring Canada in line with Sweden and New Zealand, where HIA has become an integral government process.

The report forms the basis for public hearings and consultations that will be held across Canada. Public input is being sought through June 30, 2008. Specific questions relevant to HIA that the subcommittee has raised include: Should the federal government establish a mechanism to allow for or require the application of HIA to all new public policy proposals? Would new legislation be required to do so? Is it realistic to envision HIA as a routine component of all new federal policies and programs? If HIA were to be introduced as a component of federal population health policy, what should be the role and responsibilities of Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and central agencies such as Finance Canada and the Treasury Board?

Do you have strong opinions about these issues? Even if you are not in Canada, I urge you to respond directly to the committee at SOC-AFF-SOC@sen.parl.gc.ca

Promoting Healthy Public Policy: New Zealand Health Impact Assessment Practitioners' Workshop

Promoting Healthy Public Policy
Health Impact Assessment Practitioners' Workshop
9 June 2008, Christchurch Convention Centre, 9.30am - 4.30pm

This event is being organised by the Health Impact Assessment Support Unit in collaboration with Christchurch Community Public Health to further develop the Unit's Learning by Doing approach: creating capacity and building an evidence base on HIA in New Zealand.

The outcomes for the event are to develop a learning network for HIA, share current work from around the country and increase collaborative working on HIA.

It should be attended by HIA practitioners, local, regional and central government people involved in policy making and those who want to improve their knowledge and understanding of HIA.

Deadline for registration is Friday 16 May 2008. More information from http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/hiasupportunit-newsandevents

8 April 2008

World Health Day: The Health Impacts of Climate Change

Hurricanes destroy banana plantations in Honduras Severe droughts in Mali Flooding in Uganda
Hurricanes destroy banana plantations in Honduras,
Severe droughts in Mali;
Flooding in Uganda
The theme of this year's World Health Day is protecting health from climate change. As you're all aware climate change represents a major challenge to public health in general and health impact assessment in particular, both in terms of adaptation and mitigation.

Coinciding with the 2008 World Health Day, China has announced that it is starting a program looking at the health impacts of climate change in conjunction with the World Health Organization and funded by the Spanish government.

World Health Day 2008 PSA

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan's World Health Day Message

Image Credits: Details at www.who.int/world-health-day/media/photo_gallery/en/index.html

7 April 2008

Sydney: The Other City

For those in Sydney

Sydney: The Other City
Building a Sustainable Western Sydney by 2030

Tuesday, 29th and Wednesday 30th April, 2008
Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, 597 High Street, Penrith

Book time in your diaries now for this major two-day conference which will put the spotlight on Sydney's "Other City", Western Sydney.

Managing Western Sydney's growth is the major challenge to all levels of government as well as the community and private sectors if we are to build a region that is economically, socially, culturally and environmentally sustainable. A wide range of speakers including the Hon. Anthony Albanese MP, Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Prof. Peter Newman, Curtin University, Prof. Phil O'Neill, University of Western Sydney and Prof. Bill Randolph, University of NSW will address the regional sustainability challenge in series of presentations, panels and workshops. Other confirmed speakers include the Hon. Barbara Perry, NSW Minister for Western Sydney and the Hon. Paul Lynch MP, NSW Minister for Local Government.

I hope you can join our speakers as well as representaives of all three levels of Government and other key organisations to help in planning funding and building a sustainable future for Western Sydney.

Further information and registration details will be distributed shortly. In the meantime, please contact WSROC on 02 9671 4333 or esme@wsroc.com.au if you have any questions.

Clr Tony Hay
Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils Ltd
PO Box 63
Blacktown NSW 2148
Ph: +61 2 9671 4333
Fax: +61 2 9621 7741
Web: www.wsroc.com.au