30.11.2012 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

The 9th session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWS) – UNESCO/IOC, Jakarta 27-30 November 2012

This 9th session of the ICG/OTWS meeting is another landmark meeting for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS) as it decides whether to complete the transition from the Interim Advisory Service (IAS) provided by Japan Meteorological Agency and Pacific Tsunami Warning Center since 2005 to the Regional Tsunami Service Providers (RTSP) advisory service.

The opening remark of the Executive Secretary of IOC, Mrs. Wendy Watson Wright was delivered by Mr. Tony Elliott of the ICG/IOTWS secretariat. In her remark, Mrs. Watson congratulates the Regional Tsunami Service Providers (RTSPs) for their performance. These RTSPs (Australia, India, and Indonesia) have been in operation since October 2011 and have performed well during the magnitude 8.6 earthquakes to the west of north Sumatra in 11 April 2012 that caused an ocean-wide tsunami advisory. The Chair of ICG/IOTWS, Mr. Rick Bailey, expressed his appreciation to the member states, he re-iterate that as a group the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning & Mitigation System have made amazing progress and reached an amazing milestone as the result of hard work of many, and the contributions and support of many Governments and international organisations. However, the work is not finished, efforts to sustain and need to continuously strive to enhance the IOTWS for the safety of all the communities in the region. The Director of UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Hubert Gijzen, reminded the meeting that while the technical aspects of the early warning system is advancing, equal attention needs to be given to preparedness. Even the best and technologically most advanced TEWS will be of little use if authorities and people don’t know what to do and how to respond when a tsunami alert is given. There is a need to support countries in assessing their tsunami risk, developing tsunami evacuation plans, building tsunami emergency response capacity, and in raising community awareness, preparedness and resilience.

In her opening remarks, Mrs. Sri Woro B. Harijono welcomed to the delegation to this meeting. Indonesia appreciates the trust to host this meeting for the third time. The previous two ICG/IOTWS meeting was held in Bali for the 3rd session in 2006 and in Aceh for the 7th session in 2010. She expressed her thanks for all the support and coordination given in the development of the Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (InaTEWS). Dr. Idwan Suhardi Deputy Minister of Utilization of Technology conveyed the Minister message on the important to consider all aspect of the early warning system. The InaTEWS was developed since 2005 involving 18 government institutions and university under the coordination of the Ministry of Research and Technology. InaTEWS is now fully operational involving three main institutions, BMKG to monitor, detect and disseminate the tsunami warning; The agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) that operates the buoys network, and The Geospatial Information Agency (BIG) that operates the tide gauge and GPS.

At the meeting each member states reported their status and progress of their tsunami early warning systems. Result of Indian Ocean Wave Exercise 2011 (IOWave 2011) was reported by the IOWave task team. The ICG/IOTWS secretariat and Indonesia reported on the recent tsunami in 11 April 2012. Three working groups report were presented by each chairs: 1).working group on tsunami risk assessment and reduction, 2).working group on tsunami detection, warning and dissemination; and 3).working group on tsunami awareness and preparedness. Several policy matters were also discussed focusing on transition from the Interim Advisory Service (IAS) to the Regional Tsunami Service Providers (RTSP); Outreach, capacity building and media interaction; and the development of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre (IOTIC). The meeting also has several sessional committee meetings among others on programme and budget for 2013-2014.

The opening was followed with Press Conference. On the third day of the meeting the participant conducted technical visit to the Indonesian Tsunami Warning Center at BMKG and to the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre).

Click here for the speech of Mr. Hubert Gijzen, Director of UNESCO Regional Science Bureau, UNESCO Office Jakarta.

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