Four Intergovernmental Coordination Groups (ICGs) for Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System have been established in the Pacific Ocean (IOC Resolution XV-61965), the Caribbean (IOC Resolution XXIII-13, 2005), the Indian Ocean (IOC Resolution XXIII-15, 2005) and the North Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea (IOC Resolution XXIII-14, 2005).  The Terms of Reference of these four systems include explicitly Capacity Building elements. For example the Terms of Reference of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE EWS) include: “To promote the establishment and further development of national tsunami warning and mitigation capacities” and “to promote implementation of relevant capacity-building”.

All four systems have developed and approved either Implementation Plans or a Medium Term Strategy that provides policy guidance including specific chapters on capacity building.

For example, the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/PTWS) Medium Term Strategy (2014-2021) does include among four other foundational elements, the Capacity Building foundational element that reads:

“An effective tsunami warning and mitigation system requires ongoing capacity building and training to support all three strategic pillars. Capacity building activities must be carried out continuously and forever in the three strategic pillars. Each Member State must be able to understand its risk and know ways in which they can mitigate the hazard, provide warning to its populations in a timely manner, and be able to carry out awareness and preparedness activities to sustain knowledge and ability-to-respond across generations.

The building of national human resource capacities that can develop, guide and lead these activities in each country is essential. Substantial experience, knowledge, and best practices have been accumulated over the years by Member States and this should be shared widely through trainings and workshops. Training courses and national, cross-sector and inter-regional workshops are excellent ways in which to build these skill sets and at the same time, support networking between countries during a real event.

As these skills are developed over time, trainings should be regularly conducted, and also be continually refreshed as new methods, technologies, and practices are identified. An example of regular training already available within the PTWS is the ICG/ITSU Training Programme organised by ITIC for PTWS Member States since the 1970s; such a programme (and others) can be expanded and/or customized to encompass and meet the needs of all countries.

The Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS) Implementation Plan approaches Capacity Building as a cross-thematic element. The IOTWS Implementation Plan is structured to reflect the ICG and its Working Groups (WG),WG1, WG2, WG3, WG4, WG5 and WG6. After a status summary, details are condensed in the System Status Chapter which shows Action Plans for all components of the system. Capacity building is explicitly addressed to highlight the importance of training and extend the basis of the people involved in operating the system at all levels. Parts of the Implementation Plan are not yet as detailed as required, reflecting the fact that this is a work in progress.

This structured and tailored approach to the definition of Capacity Building elements of the Tsunami Programme, combined with the annual or biannual discussion on priorities and means inside each of the Intergovernmental Coordination Groups (ICGs) translates in a very comprehensive set of CB activities.”

To complete its CB elements and tools the structure of the Tsunami Programme includes a relevant role for the Tsunami Information Centers (TICs). As an example, between 2005 and 2014 (through September) the International Tsunami Information Center (ITIC) hosted by NOAA (USA) has delivered Tsunami Capacity Building activities, ranging from 2-days to 1-week trainings, to 2575 beneficiaries. The Jakarta Tsunami Information Center (JTIC), which is evolving into an Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Center (IOTIC) to encompass the full region, does have a similar record of CB activities in the cluster area of the UNESCO Jakarta Office.

A key partner in the development of capacities for the tsunami programme has been the European Union. In total between 2010 and 2015 UNESCO and ECHO have implemented so far approximately 4 million euros towards building resilience and preparedness at community level and building national policies for effective and sustainable early warning systems and risk reduction educational tools. Equally important, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), has provided dedicated support to the activities of the IOTWS in the order of ~10 USD millions in the period 2005-2015.


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