Parma to host Fifth Intergovernmental Environment and Health Conference

March 05, 2010

Parma, March 10-12, 2010

More then five years have passed since the Fourth Environment and Health Ministerial Conference was held in Budapest. As a result of important Budapest efforts and subsequent results, World Health Organization (WHO) European region member states have focused on implementing conference recommendations as contained in both the Budapest Conference Declaration and Children's Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe.

Italian involvement with ongoing WHO efforts to tackle Europe's environment-related health problems is now greater than ever, and the city of Parma will host the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health on March 10-12.

Commitments made at the Budapest conference will be reconfirmed in Parma, and these include the four Regional Priority Goals:

  • water and sanitation;
  • injuries and accidents;
  • air quality; and
  • chemicals, noise, other physical agents and occupational health.

The SEARCH project is an example of regional cooperation to implement Priority Goal No. 3 of the Children's Health and Environment Action Plan (CEHAPE), namely: 'Prevention and reduction of respiratory diseases of children due to out-door and indoor air pollution, by complex research in schools'.

The project, launched and financed by Italy's Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS), and in collaboration with the Regional Environmental Center (REC) - based on bilateral cooperation between Italy and Hungary -aims to promote the improvement of indoor air quality in schools in order to reduce the risk of acute and chronic pathologies and the number of allergic attacks among sensitive individuals.

After a required amount of study and analysis, the SEARCH project aims to encourage develop and promote practical, realisable ways to improve air quality in schools, and to spread awareness and understanding of health risks posed by environmental factors to families, school staff and all stakeholders who, in different ways, look after the health of young pupils.

As part of this project, complex comparative research has taken place in schools from eight countries: Albania, Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Serbia and Slovakia. And it is within the context of the Parma conference's 'Protecting Children's Health in a Changing Environment' forum that the results and implications of this research will be shared and discussed.

The international research team of the SEARCH project found that outdoor pollution, school air quality, standards of living and parental attitudes towards children's health issues are the greatest determining factors in incidence of respiratory diseases among children. The long-term goal of the project is to develop suggestions for preventive and legal measures, as well as for criteria to control indoor air quality - with special attention to various allergies.

SEARCH project research results, a conclusion and policy recommendations will be presented in Parma at the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Health and the Environment (see the SEARCH side-event programme below).



SEARCH side-event programme


Indoor Air Quality Symposium

organised by

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) in collaboration with the Italian Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS and the Italian Ministry of Health (MoH)


Indoor Air Quality in Europe: Preventing and Reducing Respiratory Diseases

March 10, 2010, 9:00-10:30 a.m.

Parma, City Council Conference Centre


Air pollution is one of Europe's major environmental health concerns. Current European policy and future plans on air quality ensure that all citizens are to be effectively protected from risks to health from air pollution. In 2003, the European Commission adopted a new Strategy on Environment and Health with the overall aim to reduce diseases caused by environmental factors. In 2004, 52 Environmental and Health Ministers of the WHO European Region signed the Children's Health and Environment Action Plan, including the Priority Goal 3: 'Prevention and reduction of respiratory diseases of children due to out-door and indoor air pollution'.

clini1_copyThe scope of the symposium that follows is to review current policies and policy options on indoor air quality in Europe, and to report on the implementation of successful projects.






Co-chairs: Marti Szigeti Bonifert, REC; Dimitris Kotzias, JRC; Dr Fabrizio Oleari, Director General Department for Health Prevention, MoH.

Opening: Dr Corrado Clini, IMELS Director General

JRC: EU Policy and IAQ

  1. EU Policies on Indoor Air Quality. Eduardo Oliveira Fernandes, University of Porto/Portugal

REC and IMELS: School Environment and Respirator Health of Children (SEARCH)

  1. Supporting the European Environment and Healthy Policy, with a special focus on children. SEARCH Initiative. Eva Csobod, REC; Luciana Sinisi, ISPRA
  2. Environment and Health Assessment in Children's School Environment: Research experience to support policy prevention. Peter Rudnai-Eva Vaskovi, National Institute of Environment and Health, Hungary; Margherita Neri, Foundazione Maugeri, Italy
  3. Indoor Air Quality in Schools: Capacity building and training. Agnes Schroth-Judit Heszlenyi, Trefort Training School, Hungary

MoH Italy: IAQ projects

  1. Italian programme for Health Protection and Promotion in the Indoor Environment. Paolo Carrer, University of Milan
  2. Italian Programme for Indoor Air Quality in Schools. Giovanni Viegi, Istituto di Biomedicina e Immunologia Molecolare,Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)

Short contribution: IAQ project in The Netherlands

  1. How to Improve the Indoor Environment in Schools. Cor van den Bogaard-Merel Linthorst, Netherlands

General discussion

Concluding remarks