United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Experts meet in Mauritius to finetune Indian Ocean tsunami warning system

Experts and high level government representatives from Indian Ocean nations, other members of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and international organizations, will meet at Grande Baie in Mauritius this week (April 14-16) to assess progress towards the establishment and implementation of the interim Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System. They will also further refine the draft plan for the long-term system, agreed upon at a conference held at UNESCO Headquarters in early March.

At the Paris conference, participants from the affected countries and other IOC Member States agreed upon the overall framework for the system, which will consist of “a coordinated network of national systems” under the governance of “an Intergovernmental Coordination Group”, whose assets would be “owned and operated by the Member States hosting or otherways taking responsibility for them”.

They also approved an interim tsunami information advisory service coordinated by the IOC with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre and the Japanese Meteorological Agency. This service was called into action for the first time with the March 28th earthquake that claimed several hundred lives on the Indonesian island of Nias.

The Mauritius meeting will:

·inform countries on the status of the interim system and how it satisfies the needs of participating countries;

·inform and review with Indian Ocean countries ongoing activities upgrading and expanding the sea level observing network in the Indian Ocean;

·consider ways of linking national tsunami warning centres into the regional network, including the possible establishment of an international tsunami information centre for the Indian Ocean, the communication protocols necessary for exchange of real-time data and advisories;

·appeal to donors for support in the development of the warning system and related activities at the national level, including investments and running costs for the establishment of national and regional systems as well as assessment of existing capacities, training and public awareness requirements.

The adoption of the draft plan for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System (IOTWS) will take place in June when all 129 IOC Member States meet for the Commission’s annual assembly.

Source Media Advisory N°2005-24
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Publication Date 11 Apr 2005
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