ICG/PTWS-XXII Executive Summary
The Twenty-second Session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/PTWS) was held in Guayaquil, Ecuador, 17–21 September 2007 under the Session Chairmanship of Dr Francois Schindelé, Past Chairman of the ICG/PTWS. It was attended by 45 participants from 19 ICG/PTWS Member States, Officers from the ICG/CARIBE-EWS, ICG/IOTWS, and ICG/NEAMTWS, and representatives from four organizations, and observers.
The Session reviewed progress during the inter-sessional period from May 2006 to September 2007 as reported by Working Groups in the areas of seismological and sea level monitoring and evaluation, hazard identification, emergency management and resilience, and interoperable systems, and sub-regionally in the Southwest Pacific and on the Central America Pacific Coast. The ICG reviewed the report by the Task Team on Messages and its proposed changes to improve the clarity and timeliness of the PTWC messages, and discussed the next Pacific-wide exercise, Exercise Pacific Wave ’08. The ICG further discussed the PTWS and ITIC work plan and budget for 2008 and 2009 in view of the current budget of UNESCO/IOC, and also heard on the progress on the PTWS Medium-Term Strategy.
The ICG reaffirmed that each Member State has the responsibility to issue warnings within its respective territories and of their commitment to open, free and unrestricted sharing of tsunami-relevant real-time observational data as fundamental for a successful early warning.
The ICG concluded as a matter of urgency to: (i) enhance the establishment and maintenance of tsunami warning centres in the regions as a key for faster and locally-relevant early warning response; (ii) implement better methods to rapidly detect near-field earthquakes and possible tsunami; (iii) enhance, update, and modernize the capabilities of the seismic and sea-level monitoring networks; (iv) provide standard operational system description documents; and (v) accelerate the provision of strengthening support to Member States that have not yet sufficient capacity to develop tsunami warning and mitigation systems.
Accordingly, the ICG approved eight recommendations on (1) Sea-Level Measurement, Data Collection and Exchange, (2) Working Group on Pacific Emergency Communications; (3) PTWS Operational Users Guide, (4) Pacific-wide Tsunami Exercise, (5) Sub-regional Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation Systems: Northwest Pacific, South China Sea, and Western Pacific Marginal Seas, (6) Pacific Warning And Mitigation System, (7) Improved Strategic Planning And Budgeting (8) Working Group on Rapid Near-Field Recognition of Tsunamigenic Earthquakes and Associated Tsunamis.
The ICG established or continued eight inter-sessional Working Groups. The Working Groups are on (i) Sea-Level Measurements, Data Collection and Exchange; (ii) Interoperability Of Regional, Sub-Regional and National Tsunami Warning and Mitigation Systems in the Pacific, (iii-v) Sub-Regional Working Groups for Tsunami Warning And Mitigation Development (Central American on the Pacific, Southeast Pacific, and Southwest Pacific), (vi) Pacific Emergency Communications, (vii) Rapid Near-Field Recognition of Tsunamigenic Earthquakes and Associated Tsunamis, and (viii) Exercise Pacific Wave ’08.
The ICG recommended that the IOC Working Group on Tsunamis and Other Hazards Related to Sea-Level Warning and Mitigation Systems (TOWS-WG) organizes a sea-level design and implementation workshop in 2008, involving similar Working Groups from the other ICGs.
It further recommends that the IOC Executive Council, at its 41st Session, adopts a Resolution which includes its formal authorization of the interim tsunami advisory service for the South China Sea conducted by the PTWC, WC/ATWC and NWPTAC.
The ICG also requested the IOC to convene a scientific-technical conference to review the state-of-art of detecting near-field earthquake and possible tsunami in early 2008.
The ICG endorsed the recommendations of the VIth International Workshop on Tsunami Mitigation: New Insights in Tsunami Research, Preparedness, Warning and Mitigation, co-organized by the IOC and the ICG/PTWS, the IUGG – Tsunami Commission, and the host institution, INOCAR of Ecuador, that was held on 14 September 2007 in Guayaquil, Educator prior to the Session.
The ICG elected new Officers for the inter-sessional period, welcoming Mr Michael O’Leary of New Zealand as Chairman, Mr Giorgio de la Torre of Ecuador and Mr Yohei Hasegawa of Japan as Vice-Chairmen.
The ICG decided to organize its Twenty-third Session in 2009 and accepted the offer of Samoa to host the Twenty-third Session. The ICG further accepted the offer of Japan to host the Twenty-fourth Session in 2011.
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