School Environment and Respiratory Health of Children (SEARCH 2)

School Environment and Respiratory Health of Children (SEARCH 2)

Source of funding


Name of client/donor

Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, Italy

Overall project value

EUR 640,752


November 2010 – November 2013

Beneficiary countries

Albania | Belarus | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Hungary | Italy | Kazakhstan | Serbia | Slovakia | Tajikistan | Ukraine

Number of staff


The SEARCH initiative was a research project implemented within the international frameworks of the EU Action Plan on Environment and Health; and the World Health Organization's Children's Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe. The Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea provides financial and technical support to the SEARCH initiative. The first phase of the initiative, SEARCH 1, was implemented between 2006 and 2009. Based on the SEARCH 1 conclusions and recommendations, the initiative was reaffirmed at the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, held in Parma, Italy, in 2010, and SEARCH 2 was implemented between 2010 and 2013.

The main objectives of the SEARCH 2 project were to:

  • assess the relationship between the school environment and children's health, extending the geographical scope of the SEARCH 1 project and comparing the data obtained in the course of SEARCH 1 and SEARCH 2;
  • assess energy use in school buildings, building materials and children's health (based on recommendations given during the SEARCH side event to the ministerial conference in Parma;
  • provide recommendations for improving the quality of school environments, school buildings and energy use in schools; and
  • transfer the awareness-raising initiatives for the prevention of respiratory diseases, particularly among children, that proved successful during the SEARCH 1 project, with a special focus on school buildings and energy use.

The countries participating in the SEARCH 2 project were Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Italy, Serbia and Slovakia, all of which had already taken part in the first phase of the project, with the additional countries Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine. The SEARCH 2 project was divided into two main components: environmental monitoring, health assessment and energy consumption assessment; and environment and health capacity building in schools.

The first step in the environmental monitoring, health assessment and energy consumption assessment was the selection of schools: 10 schools were chosen per country with approximately 100 children per school, aged between 8 and 11. The schools were selected based on building characteristics (new/old or light/traditional construction); and with a polluted/clean environment. Monitoring and assessments were then carried out using measurements of exposure levels, questionnaires and lung function measurements. The results of the SEARCH 2 project are presented in the online publication "Making Schools Healthy: Meeting Environment and Health Challenges", available on the project website. The results contributed to the 2014 mid-term review of the Parma Declaration of WHO Europe.

  • Assessments and monitoring
  • Awareness raising
  • Capacity building
  • Data collection
  • Preparation of guidance materials
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Publishing