Progress in tsunami warning and mitigation in the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and Connected Seas

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - Headquarters

The Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System in the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and connected seas (ICG/NEAMTWS) held its eleventh session on 12-14 November 2014 to review progress and agree on future actions to implement the early warning system.

Steady progress has been made towards the provision of tsunami watch services for the region. France, Greece, Italy, and Turkey are providing the service to other Member States in the region upon request. A National Tsunami Warning Center has been established in Germany, while Israel, Romania and Spain are working towards establishing theirs.

In light of the great strides made in the transition towards operations over the past two years, with the establishment of new centers and services, the coordination group decided to establish a Task Team on Operations to coordinate the interoperability among centers in the region.

Preliminary results of the tsunami warning exercise NEAMWave 14, which took place on 28-30 October 2004, were presented. A more comprehensive analysis is now under way. The significant increase in the participation of civil protection authorities and disaster management organization s in this second exercise for the region reflects a greater involvement in NEAMTWS activities on their part.

The coordination group reiterated the importance of multilingual educational materials on tsunami preparedness to raise the awareness of the general public, accessible to schools and emergency response agencies. A proposal was made to start developing National and Local Tsunami Preparedness and Response Programmes, modeled on successful initiatives developed in other regions of the world.

The eleventh session of ICG/NEAMTWS was attended by about 50 participants from 16 member states, 2 observers and 1 cooperating organization. It was hosted by Cyprus at the University of Cyprus in Nicosia.

The ICG/NEAMTWS was established by Assembly of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) at its twenty-third session in 2005 by Resolution XXIII-14, with the mandate to coordinate the establishment of a tsunami early warning system for the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and connected seas.

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