The Case for Environment in All Policies: Lessons from the Health in All Policies Approach in Public Health

Environ Health Perspect; 2016
Published online: 28 June 2016 (advance publication).


Background: Both public health, and the health of the natural environment, are affected by policy decisions made across portfolios as diverse as finance, planning, transport, housing, education and agriculture. A response to the interdependent character of public health has been the Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach.

Objectives: With reference to parallels between health and environment, this paper argues that lessons from HiAP are useful for creating a new integrated environmental management approach termed Environment in All Polices (EiAP).

Discussion: The paper covers the theoretical foundations of HiAP which is based on an understanding that health is strongly socially determined. The paper then highlights how lessons learned from HiAP’s implementation in Finland, California and South Australia might be applied to EiAP. It is too early to learn from evaluations of HiAP, but it is apparent that there is no single toolkit for its application. The properties that are likely to be necessary for an effective EiAP approach include a jurisdiction-specific approach, ongoing and strong leadership from a central agency, independent analysis and a champion. We then apply these properties to Victoria (Australia) to demonstrate how EiAP might work.

Conclusions: We encourage further exploration of the feasibility of EiAP as an approach that could make explicit the sometimes surprising environmental implications of a whole range of strategic policies.

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