North-Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and connected seas

Tsunami Information Centre

Working Together Towards Community Tsunami Ready in the NEAM Region

The newly created Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and Connected Seas Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/NEAMTWS) Group on Tsunami Ready co-chaired by Areti Plessa (Greece) and Cecilia Valbonesi (Italy), held its second meeting on 30 June. France, Italy and Spain reported gradual but incremental progress in initiating pilot Tsunami Ready despite several challenges, namely navigating through burocratic, legal and institutional instruments and frameworks. In Greece, Lebanon, Spain and Turkey, increased engagement and connections are being established with other vital stakeholders, particularly civil protection agencies. Turkey and Israel are exploring the adoption of new technologies to disseminate tsunami alert messages to the public. There is common interest to further engage and better work together towards Community Tsunami Ready in the NEAM Region.

Second online meeting of the ICG/NEAMTWS Dedicated Group on Tsunami Ready (Group Picture).

Moreover, some Member States are closely examining the Tsunami Ready Recognition Guidelines and their national legal frameworks to better understand how to pilot Tsunami Ready. Alessandro Amato reported on the ongoing efforts of setting up national and local community boards in three pilot areas in Italy. Italy has set up the first National Tsunami Ready Board in NEAM region in May 2021, as well as two Local Committees in two coastal municipalities. Mauricio Gonzales from the University of Cantabria, Spain, reported that meetings were organized to improve the Andalusian Emergency General Direction engagement. Spain is also planning to carry out Tsunami Ready information sessions in a local historical site for the general public to raise tsunami education and awareness. In addition, there are plans to install emergency sirens in Chipiona, Spain. Matthieu Péroche from France, presented progress in the elaboration of evacuation maps in the French coast and expressed his interest in sharing the hypotheses and methodologies of making these maps within the Tsunami Ready Group as a way to stimulate collaboration and knowledge dissemination among NEAM member states. 

IOC UNESCO Programme Specialist and ICG/NEAMTWS Technical Secretary Denis Chang Seng took the opportunity to inform the Group of the recent developments that will drive the work of the Tsunami Ready community. The IOC Assembly 31 Session, 14-25 June 2021, has approved the establishment of the Ocean Decade Tsunami Programme and a Scientific Committee to prepare the draft 10-year Research, Development and Implementation Plan to make 100% of communities at risk prepared and resilient to tsunamis by 2030. A special coalition for Tsunami Ready will be established with the participation of critical international stakeholders.

A third Tsunami Ready Group meeting is planned in October 2021 ahead of the World Tsunami Awareness Day (WTAD) 2021 to review ongoing progress on piloting Tsunami Ready. It will also be an opportunity to exchange experience and lessons learned with experts from other tsunami regions who have already implemented Tsunami Ready.