Health Impact Assessment (HIA)

WHO activities in HIA


HIA theme issue of the WHO Bulletin

Current issue table of contents

The Bulletin of the World Health Organization (International Journal of Public Health) released a special issue on HIA in June 2003. This theme issue covers several important topics within the field of HIA.

HIA web site

Another key feature of the current programme is this HIA web site. It provides links to descriptions of activities, reports, news and events, as well as contacts and cooperating partners in the various WHO programmes and offices working on this topic.

The web site provides introductory guides, tools and completed HIA examples. Detailed information is given on the value of HIA to policy, the evaluation of HIA, and how HIA relates to other forms of impact assessment. There are also links to related web sites and topics.

Historic documents

1982 World Health Assembly Resolution

In 1982, the World Health Assembly passed a resolution introducing a framework for HIA development. This resolution (WHA-35.17) urged WHO Member States to:

  • analyse in detail the possible health hazards and environmental dangers of existing and proposed development projects;
  • incorporate into project plans and their implementation adequate measures to prevent, to the greatest possible extent, the occurrence of health and environmental hazards;
  • make adequate provisions for the implementation of necessary preventive measures, in financing relevant development projects.

1987 "Our Common Future" by the World Commission on Environment and Development
While not produced by WHO, this book was drafted by a committee chaired by the former Director-General of WHO Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland. This document encouraged WHO to undertake Environmental Health Impact Assessments (EHIA) and extend their use beyond development projects into development policies. Reference: World Commission on Environment and Development (1997). Our Common Future. Oxford University Press.

1993 "Health, Environment and Development: Approaches to drafting country level strategies for human well-being under Agenda 21".
This document outlines the broad and stable cooperation that is needed across sectors to address Agenda 21. It advocates the use of systematic approaches and demands that health implications be investigated whenever environmental changes are being considered. Reference: World Health Organization (1993). Health, Environment and Development: Approaches to drafting country level strategies for human well-being under Agenda 21. World Health Organization, Geneva.