H e a l t h imp a c t a s s e s sme n t s Commonwealth Health Partnerships 2015 71 Ensuring that the positive impacts of mining happen in an equitable way is often difficult. Children, women, the elderly, those with disabilities, those on low incomes and those from minority groups are often more vulnerable and can bear the greatest burden of adverse health impacts. They can often have low levels of education or literacy, such that they do not fully understand the implication of the proposed extractive project. These groups often have very little voice or power to influence a project. An HIA can help to identify these vulnerable groups, the impacts they are likely to face and what measures are likely to help reduce negative health impacts and enhance the positive health impacts among these groups. Lastly, strategic HIAs can help to inform the development of extractive industry policies at national level. They can identify wider systemic and governance challenges that prevent local communities from benefiting from extractive projects. For example, income from extractive projects often flows directly to central government, bypassing local communities. To avoid this, the mining policy in the DRC states that 20 per cent of tax revenues must be allocated to support local infrastructure where resources are extracted. HIAs can help to identify and then be part of the process of evaluating similar strategic sector-wide measures. The way forward No extractive industry project can afford to ignore community health and well-being in the 21st century. The application of an HIA was considered a critical strategy for sustainable development in the Rio+20 conference (Winkler, 2013). The practice of using HIAs was noted as absent in lower- and middle-income countries despite the disproportionate risk related to their long-term development, including population growth, rapid urbanisation and climate change. It is thus essential that the benefits of HIA are recognised and the practice be integrated at the policy, programme and project levels, so that beneficial and adverse health impacts are recognised and effectively, and sustainably, addressed. As calls for the use of HIAs to embed community health in the post-2015 development agenda emerge, the largely untapped potential of HIAs needs to be recognised and taken advantage of to meet Africa’s Sustainable Development Goals. However, to raise the profile and importance of HIAs, capacity will need to be developed across key stakeholders in Africa, particularly the proponents championing extractive projects, governments seeking sustainable economic development, and public health and health care systems. Recognising the potential impacts on community health and opportunities, and including community and public health management as part of a project’s environmental and social management plans, can support proactive project risk management, promote sustainable project development, support the progressive realisation of universal health coverage and help to achieve the post-2015 development agenda in Africa. By creating a project framework for health, safety, security and environment that systematically considers community health, projects are likely to be developed in a more sustainable manner, and affected communities and vulnerable groups more likely to benefit from the positives and be better able to cope with any negatives. Lastly, HIAs provide companies, governments, non-governmental organisations and communities with a better, more explicit understanding of the potential trade-offs between community health and well-being, and the other economic, environmental and social objectives of a project, as well as providing a more sustainable way of uniting these important objectives. References APP (Africa Progress Panel), 2013. Equity in Extractives: Stewarding Africa’s Natural Resources for All. Geneva: APP. Barrick Gold Corporation. Sustainability Report 2011 pdf Barrick. Available at: http://barrick.com/files/doc_financials/2011Annual Reports/Barrick-Annual-Report-2011.pdf Accessed 15 April 2015. Corno, L. and de Walque, D., 2012. ‘Mines, migration and HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa’. Policy research working paper 5966. Washington, DC: World Bank. ICMM (International Council on Mining and Metals), 2010. Good Practice Guidance on Health Impact Assessment pdf ICMM. Available at: www.icmm.com/document/792 Accessed 15 April 2015. ICMM (International Council on Mining and Metals), 2013. Community Health Programs in the Mining and Metals Industry pdf ICMM. Available at: www.icmm.com/publications/ community-health-programs-in-the-mining-and-metals-industry Accessed 15 April 2015. FILIPE SILVA is a medical doctor with post-graduate qualifications in public health and training in health impact assessment, environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment. He has worked on several extractive industry, transport and urban planning health impact assessments in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He is currently a director at Public Health by Design, based in São Paulo. MARK DIVALL is a medical doctor with post-graduate qualifications in occupational medicine, tropical medicine and hygiene, and anaesthesia. He is working in the extractive resource sector with a main focus on Sub- Saharan Africa, assisting companies in recognising, managing and monitoring a variety of occupational and community health risks. He is currently general manager at Shape Consulting and is based in Pretoria, South Africa. FRANCESCA VILIANI has extensive experience in capacitybuilding, developing guidance and undertaking HIAs as part of environmental, social and health impact assessments. She has developed customised HIA systems for two multinational mining companies and two oil companies, and is public health advisor for a multinational mining company. She is currently head of public health consulting services and community health programmes at International SOS and is based in Copenhagen, Denmark. SALIM VOHRA has a degree in medicine with postgraduate qualifications in environmental epidemiology and public health policy. He has led HIAs in a range of sectors in the UK and internationally. He was project lead and lead co-author for the ICMM’s international guides on occupational health risk assessment and community HIA for the mining sector. He is conjoint lecturer at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and an honorary fellow at Staffordshire University, UK. He is the founder director of Public Health by Design and is based in London, UK.
Commonwealth Health Partnerships 2015
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