The Guidelines for Integrating HIV and Gender-Related Issues into Environmental Assessment in Eastern and Southern Africa call for governments to recognize HIV risks, and to take the necessary steps to mitigate these risks in the development of infrastructure and execution of large capital projects.
Infrastructure development is an important driver of employment and economic growth in Africa. But for growth to be equitable and sustainable, it is important to protect against adverse impacts of large capital projects- such as mining operations and infrastructure development- on the environment and on health, and reduce associated HIV risks particularly for women and girls.
The main goals of this project are to:
- increase the awareness of decision makers, development planners and EA practitioners of how policies relating to and the construction and implementation of large capital projects can affect the spread of HIV and its impacts on vulnerable groups such as women and children;
- assist government officials who plan, administer and manage EAs to also consider health and gender issues, as part of their work;
- assist EA practitioners to work closely with national authorities (especially those relating to HIV and gender) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to consider HIV and gender issues more systematically in the EA process;
- strengthen existing management systems and mechanisms to ensure that projects have a net benefit in terms of health and gender equality impacts; and
- strengthen the environmental regulatory systems to ensure that health and social issues – in their broadest sense – are an integral part of the EA.
The expected outcomes of this project are that by 2014:
- all EA practitioners will be integrating HIV and gender issues into the EA process;
- regulatory authorities will be fully aware of the importance of including HIV and gender in the EA process and its value for the long-term health of the nation;
- proponents will be proactively implementing all International Labour Organization (ILO) guidelines relating to HIV in the workplace;
- all inter-ministerial committees on environment will include representatives from the ministries of health and gender; and
- all environmental policies, laws and regulations in the region will have been updated and/or amended to include relevant clauses on gender and health.