25 September 2013

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24 September 2013

Follow the 2nd Annual U.S. National HIA Meeting at #NatHIA13

The Second Annual U.S. National Health Impact Assessment Meeting is taking place in Washington from 24-26 September. You can follow along using the #NatHIA13 hashtag on Twitter - join the discussion!

16 September 2013

International HIA Conference, Geneva, 2-4 October - Book Now

Dear fellow HIA practitioners, esteemed colleagues and friends, 

I have the great pleasure in informing you about the 13th International Conference on Health Impact Assessment which is being held in Geneva, Switzerland between 2 to 4 October 2013. 

This event is being co-hosted by the University of Geneva, WHO and Health Promotion Switzerland. 

This is an important opportunity for the HIA community to come together and take stock of recent progress with HIA uptake and utilization in different policy and development related contexts. 

Particular focus will be given to the role of HIA as an instrument in facilitating the attainment of Health in All Policies objectives agreed to at the 8th World Conference on Health Promotion which took place in Helsinki in June of this year. 

Conference participants will include impact assessment practitioners, representatives of academic institutions, and some individuals from government agencies charged with commissioning and oversight of health impact assessment activities. 

For more details about the conference, see here a link to the website which contains more information about the programme, registration process, and invited speakers 

I look forward to seeing you there!

Regards and best wishes, 
Carlos Dora, MD, PhD. 
Co-ordinator Public Health and the Environment Department 
World Health Organization Switzerland

The full conference URL is http://www.unige.ch/medecine/eis2013/Programme_en.html

12 September 2013

The application of Equator Principles in high-income OECD countries

Map of the Ichthys LNG Project Area
in North West Australia
There's a very interesting post by Mehrdad Nazari about the use of the Equator Principles and related performance standards in an Australian setting:

The Equator Principles website highlights that “Designated Countries [such as Australia and other high income OECD countries] are those countries deemed to have robust environmental and social governance, legislation systems and institutional capacity designed to protect their people and the natural environment”. The EPIII also notes that for “Projects located in Designated Countries, the Assessment process evaluates compliance with relevant host country laws, regulations and permits that pertain to environmental and social issues”. In the preceding paragraph, the EPIII highlights that for “Projects located in Non-Designated Countries, the Assessment process evaluates compliance with the then applicable IFC Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability (Performance Standards) and the World Bank Group Environmental, Health and Safety Guidelines (EHS Guidelines) (Exhibit III).”
Despite the proponents in the Ichthys LNG Project reportedly used the EPIII performance standards in an Australian context. Read the post in full here.

Speaking in a purely personal capacity I'd like to see more use of the Equator Principles in developed countries. They're rigorous and well-understood internationally, and can help to allay international investor concerns and facilitate due diligence on a project. An excellent point is made in the comments for Mehrdad's piece:
Although Australia is a developed country, projects like this are usually situated in remote areas which have many of the same characteristics as developing nations: delicate & untouched environment, indigenous traditional landowners, etc. Local laws regulate these issues but, by hedging its bets, the bank does not have to due diligence local law to the same extent – and the syndicate’s lawyers don’t have to convince 41 credit committees.
Thanks to Martin Birley for alerting me to the piece.

6 September 2013

Integrating Health in Impact Assessment: opportunities for Health Promotion post 2015

IAIA members together with WHO Europe and the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) have conducted a research about “Health Inclusion in Impact Assessment”. The preliminary findings were presented in Calgary at IAIA2013 to other Impact Assessment practitioners. This joint discussion further refined the papers, the overall conclusions, and recommendations on the way forward. The final publication will be available on all Institutions websites in the coming months. In the mean time we present a poster at the 8th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health, starting next week in Copenhagen. The poster focuses on the role that Impact Assessment can play in the post 2015 agenda. This is a crucial time when new global sustainable goals are under scrutiny and discussion. The Final Report of the Global Thematic Consultation on Health states that “Health is central to sustainable development: health is a beneficiary of development, a contributor to development, and a key indicator of what people-centred, rights-based, inclusive, and equitable development seeks to achieve.” In this new post 2015 development framework the contributions of other sectors to health and wellbeing are clearly articulated. Impact Assessment is the existing and widely accepted process which can be applied to all sectoral policies, programs, and projects in order to secure health, minimize health risks, and maximize health opportunities.