Health Impact Assessment Learning and Development Program, Mongolia



Focus Area

Public Sector Capacity and Governance





sustainable development goals




Global Affairs Canada

Who Benefits


Mongolian government


Civil society


Mongolians living in mining regions

Other low- and middle-income countries

Delivery Partners

Simon Fraser University

Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR)

World Health Organization

Habitat HIA

Mongolian Health Ministry

Mongolian National Health Sciences University


The Challenge

Over the past twenty years, Mongolia has moved towards a vibrant multi-party democracy with a growing economy. To ensure sustainable and inclusive growth, the Government of Mongolia focused on building institutional capacity to manage public revenues, allocate resources effectively, reduce poverty, and offer equal opportunities to all citizens in urban and rural areas.

For low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) with large‐scale natural resource extraction projects, social, health and environmental assessment regulations can help leverage protection and mitigation activities, particularly in sensitive areas, and especially for communities living close to extractive industry sites. Although human health issues are typically included within environmental assessment regulations, in actual practice, coverage of health within Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is often limited to physical environmental considerations such as air, water, soil, and pollution/emissions. Other factors that influence the broader determinants of health are rarely included.

CIRDI's Approach

Health impact assessment (HIA) is foundational to ensuring that health and its wide array of determinants are core considerations in current and future growth. This program was designed to build capacity for public officials and citizens to manage the public health and health system implications of extractive industry activities in order to contribute to social and economic growth and sustainable development. The program’s overarching objective was to “seed” capacity for the undertaking of HIAs, and the development and implementation of health action plans in Mongolia and other LMICs.

Project Details

The curriculum was developed combining Canadian expertise in HIA with a systematic review of the health impacts of mining in LMIC-extractive sector contexts. The Learning and Development Program was held in Dalanzadgad and Ulan Bator, Mongolia from April 27-May 7, 2015. The program was designed to:

  • Develop capacity amongst actors involved in the environmental assessment system in LMIC’s to address health issues using HIA tools and methods and to develop plans for implementation.
  • Foster consideration of the need for formal institutional structures to ensure adequate delivery of HIAs and related health action plans.
  • Build institutional capacity for further training of practitioners by training a cadre of new experts and change leaders, who may in
turn engage in training and capacity building activities.
  • Create a blueprint and organizational support for institutionalizing and sustaining HIA and public health management activities in the extractives sector.
  • Advance learning in order to support and strengthen catalyst competencies in global health research, including learning, mentorship and leadership; knowledge translation; enabling partnerships and network building; and developing a fuller understanding of the social determinants of health framework.
  • Develop and/or strengthen research partnerships among teams of LMIC and Canadian participants through the development of “research to action” plans.

Cross-cutting Themes


  • Project considered health equity and differential impacts across communities and groups within communities. Gender equality issues in Mongolia and other countries as related to HIA were an explicit component of the workshop and follow up activities.


  • Social, health and environmental assessment regulations are an entry point for leveraging protection and mitigation activities, particularly in sensitive areas and for communities living close to operations.


  • Enhanced governance of the natural resources through increasing institutional capacity to implement and evaluate HIA processes.

Project Results

The project delivered a 10‐day intensive learning program focused on implementing HIAs within the currently legislated EIA framework in Mongolia. Twenty-eight professionals from various parts of Mongolia, Tanzania, Canada, Korea, and Zambia participated in the residential program. Participants represented diverse professions and work contexts, including government ministries, academia, and non-governmental organizations.

The Mongolia Health Impact Assessment Learning and Development Program was part of a broader research initiative led by health researchers from Canadian and Mongolian universities and non-profits.

This project also intersected with capacity-building initiatives as part of CIRDI’s IMAGinE Mongolia project, supporting good governance of emerging natural resource sectors in Mongolia and other LMICs.

Project Impact

The program curriculum was applicable immediately and over the long term because it focused on foundational concepts, skills and tools to build common ground and language. The program provided a place for participants and the project team to learn together, support each other, solve problems and ultimately, through face‐to-face learning activities, set the foundation for innovative ideas to integrate HIA in ways that have positive impacts on the public health of communities in mining regions. The program participants identified high value in the learning and activities throughout, and reported increased knowledge of HIA methods, processes and approaches and how to lead change.

project team


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