Health in Environmental Assessment

This fact sheet addresses the following issues:
• Why is health featured in environmental assessment?
• When is health a concern in environmental assessment?
• What information needs to be included in an environmental assessment report?
• What methods are available to describe effects on health?

The NCEA – our international work

The core of NCEA’s international work is to assist environment and sector ministries, environmental assessment professionals and non-governmental organisations to achieve better environmental assessment practice. We advise on the quality of environmental information in EIA / SEA reports and support capacity development activities of the EIA/SEA systems. Our approach and results are described in the key sheet.

The NCEA’s capacity development approach

Since 1993, the NCEA has contributed to the strengthening of EIA systems in about 30 low and middle income countries. When designing an approach for EIA capacity development (CD), we take the country’s own, specific EIA system as a starting point. This means that we take all relevant actors and functions such as for example EIA regulation into consideration to better understand the system’s effectiveness and needs for strengthening. This KS provides further information about the characteristics and principles of NCEA’s EIA capacity development system approach.

EIA helpdesk for the private sector

When investing in activities abroad, you may be required to do an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Practically all countries around the world have EIA legislation, but requirements differ per country. It can be difficult to find your way around the regulations and institutions involved.

This key sheet presents how the NCEA serves as a knowledge centre on EIA to a range of interested parties, including private sector. The NCEA can provide advice on EIA in many countries, and can help you on your way.

Gender in environmental assessment

In environmental assessment it is ‘smart economics’ to involve both women and men. Understanding their various uses of the environment creates a more complete image of positive and negative effects of a planned activity. Their unique knowledge on environmental sustainability can also enrich opportunities for mitigation. This KS shows which stages in environmental assessment offer opportunities for integrating gender equality.

SEA introduction programmes

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) can only be effective if it is country specific. Therefore, eight questions need to be addressed when designing a tailor-made SEA system. Our approach to SEA introduction is based on experience over the last 20 years in a variety of countries. This key sheet discusses the eight questions and possible components of an SEA programme.

Independent advice on SEA reports

At the request of a government authority we advise on the quality of environmental and social in-formation in SEA reports. We do not prepare these SEA reports, nor do we advise on the decision to approve a programme or a plan. Our role is to check that there is a solid basis for public debate and political decision-making. This key sheet explains our role as an independent advisory body and gives examples of NCEA’s international SEA experience.

EIA and SEA Country profiles

Ever needed to know what the EIA procedure in Burundi is like? Wondered how the SEA procedure in South Africa differs from the one in Ghana? Or which countries have an accreditation system for EIA consultants? The NCEA is hosting a database of EIA and SEA country profiles which provides answers to such questions. The profiles consist of a number of key characteristics of EIA and SEA systems with selection criteria to compare them with other profiles.

EIA and SEA for the oil and gas sector

With the continuing expansion of extractive industries and their effect on the environment throughout the world, the need for sound environmental assessment is more pressing than ever.

As the oil and gas sector usually implies complex and controversial initiatives, it can benefit from independent expert advice on EIA and SEA. The NCEA has a vast track record both of advisory work and capacity development activities and understands the most occurring environmental and social issues in this field.

Climate change adaptation and SEA

Nearly all governments recognise the need to adapt to the expected impacts of climate change. SEA can play a key role in the integration of adaptation to climate change in policy making.


  • structures the public and government dialogue in the preparation of policies, plans and programmes;
  • feeds this dialogue through a robust assessment of the environmental - including climate change –consequences;
  • ensures that the results of the assessment / dialogue are taken into account during decision making and implementation.

Independent advice on EIA for complex projects

The NCEA is regularly called in to provide independent advice on terms of reference of an EIA or to review the EIA report. We do not carry out the EIAs ourselves. An independent expert advice can be especially valuable for complex and controversial projects. A working group of experts visits the project site, talks with stakeholders and assesses the information. Independence, expertise and transparency are key factors in our approach.

The NCEA: our role in the Netherlands

The NCEA is a unique independent advisory body of experts, founded by decree in 1987. It advises -mandatory and non-mandatory - the competent authority on the quality of environmental information in EA reports. These reports are not written by the NCEA, but usually by consultancy bureaus for private initiators, local or provincial authorities and the central government. Neither does the NCEA get involved in decision-making or political considerations. All our advisory reports, over 200 a year, are available via the website.