» Eighth Session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System...
24.11.2011 - Natural Sciences Sector

Eighth Session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System in the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and Connected Seas

The Eighth Session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System in the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and connected seas (ICG/NEAMTWS) was hosted by Spain in Santander, Spain, on 22-24 November 2011 at the Institute of Hydraulics of the University of Cantabria.

Historically the Mediterranean and North-East Atlantic (NEAM) are one of the most tsunami prone regions in the world and major tsunamis have occurred there.

Steady progress has been made towards the provision of tsunami watch services for the region. France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Turkey confirmed that they will be operating national tsunami warning centres in the short-term, of which some already in 2012.

In 2012 some of the national tsunami warning centres will also offer interim operational tsunami watch provisions upon request to the other member states of the NEAM region.

Following the success of the communication test exercise of 10 August 2011 involving 31 National Tsunami Warning Focal Points from the region, a full-scale exercise named NEAMWave12 is planned in the fourth quarter of 2012 to test the readiness of the system and of the Member States.

An increased number of countries are now participating in NEAMTWS and 71% of them have reported to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) having established official national tsunami warning focal points where tsunami watches will be sent to.

ICG/NEAMTWS-VIII recognized the important role of the Tsunami Information Centre (NEAMTIC) formally established at the IOC Secretariat on 1st January 2011 with the financial support of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO). The NEAMTIC is tasked to produce multilingual awareness and educational materials on tsunami preparedness for the general public, schools, and emergency response agencies.

The eighth session of ICG/NEAMTWS was attended by about 70 participants from 20 member states, 3 observers and 1 cooperating organization, the highest number ever since ICG/NEAMTWS was established. Several emergency response agencies were also represented in the national delegations for the first time.

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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