Research & Preparations
GAHPs low and middle-income country membership frequently ask for support from Pure Earth through GAHP related to prioritizing areas for intervention, finding cost-effective solutions, and building capacity to implement those solutions. Conducting a high-level review of pollution from the perspective of gross health impact enables the country to prioritize future investments and activities.
To this end, Pure Earth proposes to assist governments to embark on a high-level Health and Pollution Planning process, and participate in the development of a country-driven template or model for other countries to later replicate.
The process aims to assist governments to:
- Better measure and understand the scope of toxic pollution (including indoor and urban air, water & sanitation and soil contamination), the associated burden of disease and the possible economic impacts to your country.
- Prioritize areas for intervention; and
- Develop an intervention plan for the pollution issue/s of most pressing concern.
The process, facilitated by Pure Earth/GAHP, would be led by Ministries of Health and Environment in collaboration with relevant government agencies (such as the Development, Industry, Transport, Mines, Finance, and others), as well as UN agencies and other GAHP members, including the multilateral development banks according to the government’s choice. This process would bring all agencies together under a common mandate, and ensure all stakeholders are aware of the impact of pollution in their country, the costs of inaction, and the benefits of acting now. The group would then jointly define an intervention plan or “road map” for solutions, and outline where potential financial and technical resources may be available to implement the plan.
The process would take place in a three-day workshop, with participation from relevant stakeholders. It should involve only a small number of attendees, all of senior status. A total of 20 people is appropriate. In order to have a successful workshop, a significant amount of preparatory work is envisioned.
The process would take place in a three-‐day workshop, with participation from relevant stakeholders. It should involve only a small number of attendees, all of senior status. A total of 20 people is appropriate. In order to have a successful workshop, a significant amount of preparatory work is envisioned.
Pre-‐Workshop Activities (6 to 8 months)
- Gather and review baseline information for health impacts. Review existing statistics on health and pollution, and burden of disease of pollution in their country, determine what are existing interventions/programs, where does the country have capacity, and where are the gaps. Data from the Global Commission on Pollution, Health, and Development like the examples given above (sources include WHO and IHME) are a starting point. Richer data from alternate country sources can validate or refute these datasets. Data related to pollution and health is in general in the early stages of development, and it may be useful to acknowledge upfront potential shortcomings and inaccuracies. A local consultant will be engaged to help collect the local datasets and review current relevant policies and regulations, or lack thereof.
Care should be taken to focus not only on sanitation and outdoor air, but also on pollution aspects that have likely had less attention historically. These include:
- Household air, especially with respect to enhancing fuel types, such as support for bottled gas instead of burning dung or wood.
- Contaminated sites. Not just those near large industry, but a focus on toxins from smaller industry, especially in high-‐density areas. These may include mercury contamination from artisanal mining, and lead contamination from pottery glazing and battery recycling.
- Distributed lead exposure issues, which include lead in pottery glazes, lead in paint, and other pathways that may be specific to a particular culture. d. Occupational risks, including those of asbestos.
- Identify relevant stakeholders. With government direction, invite other appropriate international organizations in the process.
- Outreach to relevant government and other agencies. This involves securing the interest and participation of many government agencies in the health and pollution planning process. This step requires significant effort on behalf of the lead local agencies. During this step, GAHP assist by making presentations to relevant agencies to help secure their interest.
- Gather and incorporate feedback. A few weeks prior to the workshop, all attendees will receive a summary of the data collected on the health impacts of pollution, the existing policies and regulations as well as potential solutions for the top pollution problems. They will have an opportunity to pose questions and provide feedback.
- Workshop logistics. Define timetables, presenters, discussions, etc.
The following activities will comprise the three-day workshop:
Day 1. Technical Audience
In-depth review of each pollution risk factor to determine the key threats to health and sustainable development, and their sources of pollution. Present and discuss existing data and information on health and pollution (ambient air, household air, water and sanitation, soil, occupational exposures, lead and others), existing efforts, and where capacity exists.
Present and discuss gaps in programmatic responses and country capacity for each pollution area.
Determine highest priority areas for intervention, based on risks to health and other priorities, as well as gaps.
Review potential solutions and intervention for high priority pollution types for which there is high health impact, and political will to implement solutions, keeping in mind cost–effectiveness and return on investment, i.e. improvements in public health metrics. Often a high proportion of the health impact can be mitigated with very simple, low-cost solutions. Technical experts from the USA will share and present solutions and strategies used in the U.S., as well as other countries as relevant. The group will then identify the effectiveness of potential interventions to mitigate pollution health impacts against costs.
Day 2. Technical Audience
Morning into Afternoon
Create a proposed Road Map for implementation or intervention plan to address the top priorities for each pollution area. The roadmap should have the following key elements for each pollution aspect targeted for intervention:
- Monitoring systems that are robust, transparent, and credible.
- Targets for achievement that have reasonable timeframes.
Determine potential monitoring systems. Explore existing and new methods to determine the effectiveness of proposed interventions. Explore public access to the monitoring of progress, to help ensure transparency and accountability of responsible agencies.
Day 3. Senior-‐Level Audience
Present and discuss summary of the previous two days, including data, gaps and proposed road map. The key spokesperson from the technical audience will present the work from the previous two days, a summary of the main discussion points and key considerations, as well as the recommendations of the group. This will be followed by a detailed discussion and question and answer session to ensure the senior-‐level participants have a clear understanding of the key problems and recommendations for solutions.
Discuss and finalize priorities, next steps and agency responsibilities. The afternoon session will seek to confirm priorities and recommendations determined during the technical sessions of the first two days. Senior-‐level decision-‐makers will also discuss and agree to next steps and agency responsibilities. The group will also evaluate potential sources of funding.
Although beyond the scope of this immediate proposal, Pure Earth would assist governments with the follow up that will be necessary post-‐workshop to ensure that progress is being made against the targets and goals outlined in the implementation plan.
- Follow up. Regular monitoring of progress against the goals and targets in the intervention plan will be necessary to ensure the plan outline in the workshop is implemented.
- Continue to convene. Challenges will come up with implementation of the plan that require a coordinated agency effort to resolve. The workshop members should continue to convene to address these challenges, outline solutions and adapt the plan if necessary.
- Hold responsible agencies accountable. This role may be best played by an active non-‐ governmental agency, although a government agency is also appropriate. It may be necessary to hold responsible agencies accountable to deliver on the actions assigned to them in the implementation plan.
- Monitor impact and acknowledge achievements. Tackling pollution is an enormous challenge. It is important to acknowledge achievements and successes to reduce pollution and its impact on local communities. Also critical is to monitor results, for the longer term to ensure stability of outcome.
- Share experiences. A major outcome of this process will be a set of countries plans that will be among the first to develop a new type of country-‐driven process to broadly attack pollution. This experience can be showcased and used to create a template for other countries to follow and replicate.
- Initial research phase
- Information requested
- Prioritization of issues
- Policy enforcements
- Regulatory interventions
- Remediation projects
- Infrastructure development