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Health impact assessment for engaging natural resource extraction projects in sustainable development in producer regions (HIA4SD Project)

English title Health impact assessment for engaging natural resource extraction projects in sustainable development in producer regions (HIA4SD Project)
Applicant Winkler Mirko
Number 194003
Funding scheme r4d (Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development)
Research institution Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Public Health and Health Services
Start/End 01.09.2020 - 31.08.2023
Approved amount 1'060'417.00
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All Disciplines (6)

Discipline
Public Health and Health Services
Political science
Health
Economics
Human Ecology
Methods of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine

Keywords (8)

Health impact assessment; Public health; Resource extraction projects; Health systems; Sustainable development; Africa; Sustainable development goals; Resource Impact Dashboard

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Der Abbau von natürlichen Ressourcen (z.B. Öl, Gas, Mineralien) wirkt sich in Erzeugerregionen stark auf die Gesellschaft, die Gesundheit der Bevölkerung und die Ökosysteme aus. Das «HIA4SD» Projekt (https://hia4sd.net) analysiert die Bedingungen, unter denen die Gesundheitsfolgenabschätzung (engl. Health Impact Assessment (HIA)) ein wirksamer Regulierungsmechanismus ist um den Abbau von natürlichen Ressourcen mit den gesundheitsbezogenen Zielen der SDG 2030 Agenda zu koppeln.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

In vielen Ressourcen-Abbaugebieten in Afrika nehmen übertragbare Krankheiten wie HIV/AIDS zu, während gleichzeitig eine Verschlechterung des Gesundheitssystems und anderer gesundheitsrelevanter Faktoren zu beobachten ist. Eine Stärkung des Gesundheitswesens im Umfeld von zum Beispiel Bergbauprojekten kann viel seltener festgestellt werden.

Das «HIA4SD» Projekt identifiziert die Einflussfaktoren, welche zu diesen unterschiedlichen Resultaten führen. Dazu werden georeferenzierte Gesundheitsdaten sowie die bestehenden nationalen und internationalen Regulierungsmechanismen und ihre Umsetzung analysiert. In einer zweiten Projektphase bilden die Forschungsergebnissen die Grundlage für einen Policy-Dialog. Er dient dazu, Gouvernanz- und Verantwortlichkeitsmechanismen so weiter zu entwickeln, dass Projekte zur Ressourcengewinnung negative Gesundheitsauswirkungen internalisieren und zu einer Stärkung der Gesundheitssituation in den Abbaugebieten führen.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Das Projekt trägt in vier Afrikanischen Ländern (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mozambique und Tanzania) sowie auf regionaler und internationaler Ebene zu einer evidenzbasierten Debatte über die Ressourcen-Gouvernanz bei. Durch den aktiven Einbezug einer breiten Palette von Akteuren und den Aufbau von Fachwissen zur Durchführung von HIAs in Afrika fördert das Projekt die gezielte Berücksichtigung gesundheitlicher Aspekte in der Planung und Ausführung von Ressourcenabbau-Vorhaben. Im besten Fall wird das Projekt die Anwendung der Folgenabschätzung als Regulierungsmechanismus verstärken und diese mit den gesundheitsbezogenen Zielen der SDG 2030 Agenda koppeln.

Keywords

Health impact assessment, natural resource extraction, resource governance, externalities, sustainable development, Africa

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 28.10.2021

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
The extraction of natural resources such as minerals, metals, oil and gas affects public health, ecosystems and society in producer regions. The HIA4SD Project (https://hia4sd.net) analyses the conditions under which impact assessments are an effective regulatory mechanism to mitigate negative externalities from natural resource extraction and contribute to the health-related targets of the SDG 2030 Agenda.
Lay summary

Approach and objectives

The overarching objective of the HIA4SD project is to conduct research – complemented by a strong capacity building component – that will inform and facilitate a policy dialogue for strengthening the application of impact assessment as a regulatory mechanism to: (1) avoid negative effects of natural resource extraction projects on public health; and (2) actively engage natural resource extraction projects – and any other large infrastructure developments – in the SDG 2030 Agenda and, thus, development in Africa.

The project is expected to strengthen the application of impact assessment as a regulatory mechanism to engage natural resource extraction projects in working towards the SDG 2030 Agenda. This will be achieved through (1) negotiations about health impacts of resource extraction that are informed by evidence; (2) increasing awareness among a broad set of stakeholders about the importance of specifically addressing health in impact assessment; and (3) establishing excellence in HIA in the African region.

Expected contributions

The anticipated impact of the project on public health, health systems, other public services and information flows will benefit poor segments of the population and promote (health) equity in producer regions in Africa. The direct beneficiaries will be the general population and vulnerable people in areas affected by natural resource extraction projects. The impact of the project also extends to the general population in project partner countries through strengthened health systems, cost saving for health systems, additional funds potentially becoming available from natural resource extraction projects for working towards the SDG 2030 Agenda, and more transparency and accountability. Finally, the transnational component of the project might trigger similar processes of transformation in other countries in Africa and beyond, and will thus further expand the radius of potential beneficiaries.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 28.10.2021

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
169461 Health impact assessment for engaging natural resource extraction projects in sustainable development in producer regions 01.09.2017 r4d (Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development)

Abstract

Background: Health is central to sustainable development, and thus cross-cutting issue of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2030 agenda. Natural resource extraction projects in Africa have considerable potential to positively act on health-related targets of SDGs. The past has shown, however, that natural resource extraction projects often adversely impact on health determinants (e.g. local health systems, access to water and sanitation, food availability) and health outcomes (e.g. HIV/AIDS, vector-related diseases and communicable diseases). While countries worldwide have established the legal requirement that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) must be done prior to implementation of a large development project, not a single country in Africa is actively promoting health impact assessment (HIA), let alone regulating it. We conjecture that for tapping the potential of impact assessment to engage the natural resource extraction projects in producer regions in sustainable development one needs to work towards integrated impact assessments that are grounded in intersectoral collaboration and backed up by a robust regulation that embraces the agenda set by the SDG 2030 agenda.Aim and objectives: This project aims to inform and facilitate a policy dialogue at the national and international level on whether current regulatory approaches to impact assessment in Africa promote sustainable development. In Phase I (2017-2020), the project aims to generate an evidence-base at the national and local level on the strengths and limitations of current impact assessment practice in Africa in engaging natural resource extraction projects to work towards health-related targets of the SDG 2030 agenda. In Phase II (2020-2022), the research outcomes of Phase I will be utilised to inform and facilitate a policy dialogue at the national and international level on how the current governance architecture can be amended to make full use of impact assessments as a regulatory mechanism to support producer regions in working towards the SDGs.Approach: This inter- and trans-disciplinary research project will be carried out in four countries in Africa: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania. The activities of the project will target different levels (local, national and international) and will be structured in ten work packages (WPs): (1) project coordination; (2) institutional, policy, regulatory and political economy analysis of the current setup for health in impact assessment; (3) evaluation at the national level of past and concurrent impacts of natural resource extractive projects on health-related targets of the SDGs; (4) health systems and socioeconomic assessment at district level to determine how natural resource extraction projects interact with, and have effect on, local health systems; (5) integration with the ‘Resource Impact Dashboard’ (RID) (an ongoing r4d project) (end of Phase I); (6) policy options and dialogue; (7) launch of the ‘HIA4SD Initiative’; (8) HIA case studies at the local level; (9) HIA capacity building; and (10) analytic comparative synthesis for expanding the impact of the HIA4SD project from the national level to the regional and global level.Expected outcomes: (1) further development and fostering of the research partnerships; (2) assessment of the effectiveness of the current institutional and regulatory setup to effectively mitigate and minimise potential adverse health impacts of natural resource extraction projects; (3) empirical evidence on the associations between natural resource extraction projects and health-related SDG indicators; (4) empirical evidence on associations between health system performance, cost/benefits and the presence of natural resource extraction projects; (5) advances in systematic and transparent monitoring of health impacts related to the extractive sector; (6) policy dialogue at the national and international level, including the corporate level, on regulatory approaches to impact assessment for promoting sustainable development; (7) an online platform that supports stakeholder engagement and dissemination of the methods and outcomes of the HIA4SD project at the national and international level; (8) HIA case studies that support the policy dialogue process and integrate with the capacity building efforts; (9) increased human capacities in conducting, evaluating and enforcing health in impact assessment; and (10) a policy dialogue at the regional level and in other African countries on whether current regulatory approaches to impact assessment are sufficient for engaging natural resource extraction projects - and any other large infrastructure developments - in sustainable development in producer regions.
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