The Sixteenth Session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System in the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and connected seas (ICG/NEAMTWS) was held from 2–4 December 2019, Cannes, France. The session was hosted by the municipality of Cannes.
Photo by Jörn Beherens
There is considerable infrastructure build up along the coast of Cannes and a port with many expensive yachts. A total of 3 million people visit Cannes each year, including 320 cruise passengers. The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes is located close to the coast and the congress center hosts 50 major events per year including the Cannes Film Festival, and several thousands people attend these events. Cannes has taken several steps to mitigate tsunamis. Cannes has adopted the World Tsunami Awareness Day, 5 November as an annual event since 2017. It has carried out two Tsunami exercises, installed tsunami evacuation signs and adopted a comprehensive risk information document for its inhabitants (that also include a section on Tsunami). Lately, a charter for a set of city employee concerning Tsunami risks and inundation. Many of these efforts represents a first among municipalities in France and Cannes is a beacon or pilot town in that respect.
Participants reviewed the progress made in the implementation of the NEAMTWS.
The session approved accreditation of IPMA (Portugal) as a Tsunami Service Provider (TSP). IPMA is the fifth center to receive accreditation in the NEAM region. Several countries have subscribed to receive tsunami alert messages from IPMA.
The session discussed progress made regarding the formulation of the NEAMTWS Strategy and Implementation Plan and decided on how to complete the plan by next ICG/NEAMTWS. Plans for the further development of the NEAM Tsunami Information Centre (NEAMTIC) were also discussed and should be finalised at next ICG/NEAMTWS session.
The Group recognized the efforts devoted to increasing awareness on tsunami hazards and preparedness in particular in France, Italy, Greece and Turkey in line with and as a contribution to World Tsunami Awareness Day, 5 November 2019.
The session discussed the framework for providing Tsunami alerts to the maritime community which TOWS-WG (Tsunamis and Other Ocean Hazards Warning and Mitigation Systems Working Group) had developed in collaboration with the IHO/IMO World-Wide Navigational Warning Service Sub-Committee (WWNWS-SC). At this time, TSPs in NEAM region indicated the need to learn from the experiences gained in other ICG regions before taking on such a service for the NEAM region.
The session decided to carry out the NEAMWave 20 tsunami exercise on 2-4 November 2020 back-to-back with the World Tsunami Awareness Day, 5 November 2020.
Germany offered to host the seventeenth session of the ICG/NEAMTWS.
The Sixteenth session of ICG/NEAMTWS was attended by around 52 participants from 14 member countries and few observers.