Challenges in decision-making: from barriers to synergies

A global / local approach

"…The goals of sustainable development can only be achieved in the absence of a high prevalence of debilitating diseases, while obtaining health gains for the whole population requires poverty eradication. There is an urgent need to address the causes of ill health, including environmental causes, and their impact on development…"

– Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, 2002.

The needs identified in the HELI global review of decision-making have been addressed via the following concrete activities.

Country-led pilot projects - undertaken by partner governments and supported by WHO/UNEP, using their combined scientific/technical know-how. The projects assess existing or proposed policy in a particular sector in the light of environment and health impacts. National-level health and environment actors manage the assessment in coordination with other government sectors (i.e. agriculture, finance & economics). The process results in policy recommendations that can achieve real reductions in death and disease.

Regional workshops and national events - sharing lessons from the pilot projects, building capacity, and engaging decision-makers and the public in policy development/implementation processes.

Guidance - on integrating linked environment and health impacts into assessment of policies of critical socioeconomic importance. The guidance also covers tools for the economic valuation of environment and health costs and benefits -- in a context relevant to developing countries. A menu of useful strategies is provided, rather than one prescription or formula. This may be adapted to each country’s needs and resources.

Development of a web portal and publications - enhancing knowledge of environment and health risks and potential solutions, and tailored to the needs of policy and decision-makers. Emphasis is placed upon good practice experiences, feasibility and cost-effectiveness, along with links and references to more technical information.