Structural funds and health gains
The Impact of Structural Funds on Health Gains
Client: European Commission / Executive Agency for Health and Consumers - DG SANCO
EU Cohesion Policy aims to strengthen the economic competitiveness of the EU through improvements in economic and social cohesion and the reduction of disparities in the level of development between regions. Approximately 35% of the EU budget for 2007-2013 is dedicated to Cohesion Policy, through a series of funds known as the Structural Funds.
The investments are made in a broad range of areas across the EU, including infrastructure, environment, transport, energy, employment, education and research and development – all of which have important impacts on public health. But very often Structural Funds programme managers and even health stakeholders themselves fail to recognise – and optimise - the effects on public health that these investment programmes generate.
The goal of the project is to support the integration of health considerations into the programming and implementation of EU Cohesion Policy funds, and in particular to identify and link the health gains that come from non-health investments. For example, how will investment in walking or cycling paths promote health gains? How will training for better jobs support long-term health gains? How can programme managers identify existing and potential benefits?
The specific objectives of the project are to:
1. review and analyse how health considerations have been taken into account in the design and development of non-health investments in Cohesion Policy funds in the current spending period (2007 to 2013);
2. develop a web-based guide to health gains from Structural Fund spending, intended to help programme managers, decision-makers and health professionals address health considerations in the next spending period (from 2014 on);
3. pilot, test and validate the guide with officials in selected EU regions;
4. build capacity in the regions through a series of workshops.
The project runs from January 2011 until mid-2012. The web-based guide developed by the project will be available for Cohesion Policy programme managers and others to use after the work is finished. Current progress on the project is available at www.healthgain.eu