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A Framework to Understand how Health Can Contribute to the Assessment of Extractive Industry Project Impacts Patrick Harris, Ben Harris-Roxas Email: patrick.harris@unsw.edu.au | Phone +61 2 9612 0779  |Web http://www.hiaconnect.edu.au Mail: CHETRE, LMB 7103, Liverpool BC NSW 1871, Australia For More Harris P, Harris E, Thompson S, Harris-Roxas B, Kemp L.  Human Health and Wellbeing in Environmental Impact Assessment in New South Wales, Australia: Auditing health impacts within environmental assessments of major projects , Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 29(5):310-318, 2009. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2009.02.002 http://j.mp/aZAG8F  Background Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a powerful tool to consider the health impacts of extractive and other industry projects. However, EIA has consistently failed to incorporate these impacts either as determinants of health or traditional public health concerns like air quality or soil.  What We Did In New South Wales, an Australian state that is home to more than 7 million people, we reviewed the content of 22 Major Project EIA reports and 24 government scoping documents, which are known as the Director-General’s Requirements: For whether they considered health or wellbeing explicitly, including health effects, health impacts, health risks and health hazards;  For whether the broader determinants of health were assessed in the EIAs. This was done by categorising the impacts identified in the EIAs using a modified triple bottom line framework: Social impacts with potential to impact on human health, Economic impacts with potential to impact on health, Physical environmental impacts that may impact on health, Biological human impacts that can impact on health, and Other impacts with no impact on health; Each impact identified was also appraised for: Scope of impacts assessed, including cumulative impacts or the distribution of impacts; Follow-up actions, i.e. monitoring, mitigation measures, environmental management plans, etc; Whether it was assessed as positive, negative or no impact; The type of evidence used to make the assessment. So what? Other studies have found that health is poorly considered in EIAs, though investigation has mostly been limited to whether health is explicitly addressed.  The broader analytic framework used in this study shows that EIAs routinely consider many of the broader determinants of health. This framework enables a more nuanced understanding of actual EIA practice.  There is scope to strengthen the links made in EIAs between the changes to the broader determinants of health and health impacts, through improved use of health data and the development of practical, jurisdiction-specific guidance for EIA practitioners. The health sector will have an important role to play in progressing this. Framework for Analysing the Consideration of the Broader Determinants of Health within EIAs Social impacts that can impact on human health, Economic impacts that can impact on health, Physical environmental impacts that can impact on health, Biological human impacts that can impact on health, and Other impacts with no impact on health. Results Health was mentioned in some way in the majority of EIAs (n =18, total n=22). However, the number of references made to per document was small (n = 46 EIAs and Government Scoping Requirement documents, mean = 2.09 references per document). These references were further limited within the section of the EIAs that made an assessment of impacts (n = 16 references, mean = 0.63 references per document). In addition, where references were made, these were single items or sentences in all but one EIA.  In contrast a range of impacts were coded under physical environmental impacts that in turn could impact on human health.  While the majority of EAs also mentioned social impacts, economic impacts and biological human impacts, these impacts were mentioned less often  and in less detail than physical environment impacts. However, more EA’s made more reference to social, economic and biological human impacts than were requested in the government scoping requirements (Director-General’s Requirements) issued to proponents .

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Poster: A Framework to Understand How Health Can Contribute to the Assessment of Extractive Industry Project Impacts

  • 1. A Framework to Understand how Health Can Contribute to the Assessment of Extractive Industry Project Impacts Patrick Harris, Ben Harris-Roxas Email: patrick.harris@unsw.edu.au | Phone +61 2 9612 0779 |Web http://www.hiaconnect.edu.au Mail: CHETRE, LMB 7103, Liverpool BC NSW 1871, Australia For More Harris P, Harris E, Thompson S, Harris-Roxas B, Kemp L. Human Health and Wellbeing in Environmental Impact Assessment in New South Wales, Australia: Auditing health impacts within environmental assessments of major projects , Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 29(5):310-318, 2009. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2009.02.002 http://j.mp/aZAG8F Background Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a powerful tool to consider the health impacts of extractive and other industry projects. However, EIA has consistently failed to incorporate these impacts either as determinants of health or traditional public health concerns like air quality or soil. What We Did In New South Wales, an Australian state that is home to more than 7 million people, we reviewed the content of 22 Major Project EIA reports and 24 government scoping documents, which are known as the Director-General’s Requirements: For whether they considered health or wellbeing explicitly, including health effects, health impacts, health risks and health hazards; For whether the broader determinants of health were assessed in the EIAs. This was done by categorising the impacts identified in the EIAs using a modified triple bottom line framework: Social impacts with potential to impact on human health, Economic impacts with potential to impact on health, Physical environmental impacts that may impact on health, Biological human impacts that can impact on health, and Other impacts with no impact on health; Each impact identified was also appraised for: Scope of impacts assessed, including cumulative impacts or the distribution of impacts; Follow-up actions, i.e. monitoring, mitigation measures, environmental management plans, etc; Whether it was assessed as positive, negative or no impact; The type of evidence used to make the assessment. So what? Other studies have found that health is poorly considered in EIAs, though investigation has mostly been limited to whether health is explicitly addressed. The broader analytic framework used in this study shows that EIAs routinely consider many of the broader determinants of health. This framework enables a more nuanced understanding of actual EIA practice. There is scope to strengthen the links made in EIAs between the changes to the broader determinants of health and health impacts, through improved use of health data and the development of practical, jurisdiction-specific guidance for EIA practitioners. The health sector will have an important role to play in progressing this. Framework for Analysing the Consideration of the Broader Determinants of Health within EIAs Social impacts that can impact on human health, Economic impacts that can impact on health, Physical environmental impacts that can impact on health, Biological human impacts that can impact on health, and Other impacts with no impact on health. Results Health was mentioned in some way in the majority of EIAs (n =18, total n=22). However, the number of references made to per document was small (n = 46 EIAs and Government Scoping Requirement documents, mean = 2.09 references per document). These references were further limited within the section of the EIAs that made an assessment of impacts (n = 16 references, mean = 0.63 references per document). In addition, where references were made, these were single items or sentences in all but one EIA. In contrast a range of impacts were coded under physical environmental impacts that in turn could impact on human health. While the majority of EAs also mentioned social impacts, economic impacts and biological human impacts, these impacts were mentioned less often and in less detail than physical environment impacts. However, more EA’s made more reference to social, economic and biological human impacts than were requested in the government scoping requirements (Director-General’s Requirements) issued to proponents .