Urban health: an example of a “health in all policies” approach in the context of SDGs implementation
Oriana Ramirez-Rubio, Carolyn Daher, Gonzalo Fanjul, Mireia Gascon, Natalie Mueller, Leire Pajín, Antoni Plasència, David Rojas-Rueda, Meelan Thondoo and Mark Nieuwenhuijsen. (2019). Urban health: an example of a “health in all policies” approach in the context of SDGs implementation. Globalization and Health. 15(1), pp. 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-019-0529-z
|Authors||Oriana Ramirez-Rubio, Carolyn Daher, Gonzalo Fanjul, Mireia Gascon, Natalie Mueller, Leire Pajín, Antoni Plasència, David Rojas-Rueda, Meelan Thondoo and Mark Nieuwenhuijsen|
Health in All Policies (HiAP) is an approach to public policy across sectors that systematically takes into account the health implications of decisions, seeks synergies, and avoids harmful health impacts in order to improve population health and health equity. HiAP is key for local decision-making processes in the context of urban policies to promote public health interventions aimed at achieving SDG targets. HiAPs relies heavily on the use of scientific evidence and evaluation tools, such as health impact assessments (HIAs). HIAs may include city-level quantitative burden of disease, health economic assessments, and citizen and other stakeholders’ involvement to inform the integration of health recommendations in urban policies.
The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal)‘s Urban Planning, Environment and Health Initiative provides an example of a successful model of translating scientific evidence into policy and practice with regards to sustainable and healthy urban development. The experiences collected through ISGlobal’s participation implementing HIAs in several cities worldwide as a way to promote HiAP are the basis for this analysis.
Our analysis confirmed that the SDGs framework provides an opportunity to formulate and implement policies with a HiAP approach. Three important aspects are highlighted: 1) the importance of the intersectoral work and health equity as a cross-cutting issue in sustainable development endeavors; 2) policy coherence, health governance, and stakeholders’ participation as key issues; and 3) the need for high quality data.
HIAs are a practical tool to implement HiAP. Opportunities and barriers related to the political, legal and health governance context, the capacity to inform policies in other sectors, the involvement of different stakeholders, and the availability of quality data are discussed based on our experience. Quantitative assessments can provide powerful data such as: estimates of annual preventable morbidity and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) under compliance with international exposure recommendations for physical activity, exposure to air pollution, noise, heat, and access to green spaces; the associated economic impacts in health care costs per year; and the number of preventable premature deaths when improvements in urban and transport planning are implemented. This information has been used to support the design of policies that promote cycling, walking, public, zero and low-emitting modes of transport, and the provision of urban greening or healthy public open spaces in Barcelona (e.g. Urban Mobility, Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity Plans, or the Superblocks’s model), the Bus Rapid Transit and Open Streets initiatives in several Latin American cities or targeted SDGs assessments in Morocco.
|Journal||Globalization and Health|
|Journal citation||15 (1), pp. 1-21|
|Publisher||Biomed Central Ltd|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-019-0529-z|
|Open access||Published as ‘gold’ (paid) open access|
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|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||06 May 2021|
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