Health Impact Assessment Guidelines
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Human health and development are inextricably linked through an array of environmental, social, cultural and economic determinants of health. In order for development to capitalise on opportunities to improve health as well as effectively manage any risks to health, it is critical that these links are identified and understood. This requires knowledge about both the type of health impacts that may occur and the distribution of those impacts in the affected community. While understanding these links is a relatively straightforward principle, in practice the task of achieving this is a challenge. This challenge can be assisted by the application of Health Impact Assessment (HIA). HIA is an internationally recognised process that provides a systematic approach to address the potential health costs and benefits of projects, plans or policies. These Health Impact Assessment Guidelines focus primarily on the application of HIA to new development projects or upgrades to existing developments, in sectors such as transport, environment, mining and resources, agriculture, energy, waste, housing and planning. The process can be applied within an existing assessment framework such as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Strategic Environment Assessments or Planning Assessments, or as a stand-alone application. The details of the application of HIA will be influenced by jurisdictional differences in legislation, policies and process, as well as changes over time. For these reasons, the Guidelines are broad-based and general in nature rather than prescriptive. These Guidelines outline the key principles that underpin HIA as well as each of the steps in the process as shown in Figure 1. The importance of collaboration, including community and stakeholder engagement is highlighted.
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