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Health impact assessment legislation in developing countries: A path to sustainable development?
The sixth Global Environment Outlook argues that the planet is becoming seriously polluted, with huge consequences for the health and wellbeing of people. Legal instruments for assessing and reporting environmental impacts of projects have focused on environment impact assessments (EIAs). However, increasingly health impact assessment (HIA) is being used to emphasize the health dimensions of the environment and sustainable development. This article addresses the question: How can HIA legislation help developing countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? A key aspect of the SDGs is to minimize trade-offs and enhance synergies. This could be to some extent operationalized by HIAs through enhancing synergies on health and reducing trade-offs on health. The article first sketches the relationship between EIAs and HIAs and provides an overview of the global distribution of HIA legislation. Second, it discusses the benefits and challenges of HIA legislation oriented towards sustainable development agendas by gathering lessons learned across the globe and highlighting those relevant to developing countries. The article concludes by sketching how HIA policy can be catalysed and operationalized to achieve the SDGs.
Year of Publication
Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law