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Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) received a mandate from the international community to coordinate the establishment of the tsunami early warning and mitigation system during the course of several international and regional meetings, including the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (Kobe, Japan, 18 – 22 January 2005), and the Phuket Ministerial Meeting on Regional Cooperation on Tsunami Early Warning Arrangements (Phuket, Thailand, 28 and 29 January 2005). The IOC Assembly, during its twenty-third Session (21-30 June 2005), formally established a framework for a global tsunami and other ocean-related hazards early warning system through its Resolution IOC-XIII-15

The IOC Tsunami Programme aims at reducing the loss of lives and livehoods that could be produced worldwide by tsunamis. In order to accomplish this, the IOC Tsunami Unit supports IOC Member States in assessing tsunami risk, implementing Tsunami Early Warning Systems (EWS) and in educating communities at risk about preparedness measures.

The IOC Tsunami Programme, through the coordination of regional meetings, capacity building activities and the support of national and regional projects is a key stakeholder for tsunami risk reduction at global level. Four Intergovernmental Coordination Groups (ICGs) corresponding to the regions Pacific, Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Mediterranean have been established to address particular regional needs. The IOC Tsunami Unit is compounded by the Technical Secretariats of these four regional systems, the Head of the Unit, the International Tsunami Information Centre (ITIC), the Jakarta Tsunami Information Centre (JTIC), the Tsunami Information Centre for the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean and connected seas (NEAMTIC) and technical and professional staff.

Operational tsunami warning centres provide tsunami advisories, watches and warnings to the four regions. Additionally, each ICG counts on the strategic advisory of specialized Working Groups whose members are professionals from key disaster management and research institutions.

Head of Tsunami Unit: Thorkild Aarup