Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 26 No. 01
Monday, 20 October 2003
THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EARLY
16-18 OCTOBER 2003
The Second International Conference on Early Warning (EWC-II)
took place in Bonn, Germany, from 16-18 October 2003, at the
Internationales Kongresszentrum Bundeshaus. It was hosted by the
Government of Germany and supported by the UN Inter-Agency
Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).
Over 300 participants attended, including ministers and government
officials, representatives of UN and other multilateral
organizations, assistance agencies, technical and research
institutions and non-governmental organizations.
EWC-II built on regional consultations and workshops undertaken
between May and July 2003, and served as a follow-up to the
International Conference on Early Warning Systems for Natural
Disaster Reduction, held in 1998 (EWC’98).
Participants at EWC-II heard statements from high-level
officials, and attended a number of presentations on good practices
in early warning and on emerging issues. Panel discussions were held
on solutions for integrating early warning into public policy, new
technologies and low-technology solutions for early warning systems,
the responsibilities of policy makers in the context of early
warning and urban risks, and early warning as a decision tool for
emergency management. Additional sessions were also held to discuss
flooding, the use of hazard maps for effective early warning,
integrated approaches to reduce societal vulnerability to droughts,
integrating early warning into public policy processes, the
implemention of transboundary early warning systems for floods, and
new technologies and scientific networks.
Three working groups discussed elements of a future international
early warning programme, on the basis of which two conference
documents were drafted. One includes specific recommendations from
EWC-II, and the other is the Conference Statement. The drafts were
to be left open for comment for a week following the conclusion of
A BRIEF HISTORY OF UN DISASTER REDUCTION
INITIATIVES ON EARLY WARNING
In recent years, disaster reduction has become an increasingly
important issue in the international arena. Disasters caused by the
impacts of natural and technological hazards on vulnerable human
beings represent a growing concern, due to factors such as global
population growth and urbanization, a rising proportion of poor and
the onset of global environmental changes, including climate change,
desertification and loss of biodiversity. The prevalent view is that
disasters are increasing in number and intensity. Most policy makers
and academics acknowledge that vulnerability due to poor planning,
poverty and other factors contributes as much to the magnitude of
disasters as do the natural hazards themselves. Action to reduce
exposure to risk from hazards is now considered necessary in order
to safeguard sustainable development efforts and human lives. The
development of early warning systems is a key step towards reducing
INTERNATIONAL DECADE FOR NATURAL DISASTER REDUCTION: An
increase in human casualties and property damage in the 1980s
motivated the UN General Assembly in 1989 to declare the 1990s the
International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR)
(resolution 44/236). The aim of the IDNDR was to address prevention
of disasters in the context of a range of hazards, including:
earthquakes, windstorms, tsunamis, floods, landslides, volcanic
eruptions, wildfires, grasshopper and locust infestations, and
drought and desertification. One of the main outcomes of the IDNDR
with relation to early warning was the Yokohama Strategy and Plan of
Action, adopted at the 1994 World Conference on Natural Disaster
Reduction in Yokohama, Japan, which identified one of the key goals
of the IDNDR as the "realistic assessment of hazard, risk and
vulnerability including early warning and response capabilities."
In 1995, the UN General Assembly requested the IDNDR Secretariat
to conduct a review of early warning capacities and to suggest ways
and means by which global practices could become better coordinated
and more effective. A number of activities were carried out in the
area of early warning, including six expert working groups to study:
geological hazards; hydrometeorological hazards, including droughts;
fire and other environmental hazards; technological hazards; the use
and transfer of related modern technologies; and national and local
capabilities pertinent to the effective use of early warning.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS: The
International Conference on Early Warning Systems for Natural
Disaster Reduction (EWC’98) took place in Potsdam, Germany, in 1998
and organized by the Government of Germany and the Secretariat for
the IDNDR. EWC’98 was held in response to an affirmation by the
IDNDR’s Scientific and Technical Committee that early warning was an
essential goal of the Decade, and was mandated by the Yokohama Plan
of Action and three UN General Assembly resolutions adopted between
1994 and 1997. Participants at EWC’98 agreed on a number of
conclusions on early warning, including that: early warning
represents a cornerstone of disaster reduction; the issues of early
warning should be brought to the highest levels of deliberation
within the UN system and in other intergovernmental organizations at
regional and international levels; and an action plan should be
prepared and presented to the IDNDR based on conclusions and
recommendations of EWC’98.
INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY FOR DISASTER REDUCTION: In 1999, at
its 54th session, the UN General Assembly decided to continue
activities already carried out during the IDNDR on disaster
prevention and vulnerability reduction, and established the
International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, supported by the
scientific and technical expertise and knowledge accumulated during
the IDNDR. An Inter-Agency Secretariat and an Inter-Agency Task
Force for Disaster Reduction (IATF/DR) for the implementation of the
Strategy were also established (resolution 54/219 and 56/195,
respectively). Among its mandated tasks, the IATF/DR is to convene
ad hoc meetings of experts on issues related to disaster
At its first meeting in April 2000, the IATF/DR identified early
warning as a priority area for its future work. Effective early
warning is considered to be of high importance for the successful
implementation of the ISDR.
REPORT OF THE CONFERENCE
Session Chair Hans-Joachim Daerr, Director General for Global
Issues, Federal Foreign Office, Germany, opened the conference on
Thursday, 16 October 2003. He noted the significance of natural
disaster mitigation and welcomed EWC-II's focus on experts’ warnings
as a step towards greater security against natural disasters.
Jürgen Trittin, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature
Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany, highlighted the
interrelationship between natural and anthropogenic disasters and
their economic significance. He urged the adoption of a
multilateral, preventive approach, focusing on early warning
Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs,
noted that reducing human, economic and environmental losses from
natural disasters remains a key challenge for the international
community. He said that people are increasingly impacted by natural
disasters and stressed that EWC-II should: consider the
interlinkages between development and humanitarian concerns;
strengthen early warning systems; and build capacities at all
levels. He emphasized the importance of partnerships in successfully
implementing effective early warning and disaster risk reduction.
OPENING MESSAGES: Dahou Ould Kablia, Deputy Minister of the
Interior, Algeria, reported on efforts undertaken to address threats
posed by natural hazards in his country. He stressed the importance
of international solidarity and the transfer of relevant technology
and financial resources for dealing with natural disasters.
Yang Yan-Yin, Vice Minister of Civil Affairs, China, outlined the
measures adopted in China to improve early warning systems and
response capacity, including through space monitoring. She called
for increased cooperation within the UN and with other countries,
and suggested establishing a worldwide disaster monitoring and early
Chris Murungaru, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Kenya,
highlighted the increasing frequency and severity of extreme events
in his country. Noting the high priority of food security, he
outlined institutional arrangements in Kenya for monitoring and
Jean Seth Rambeloalijaona, Minister of the Interior and
Administrative Reform and President of the National Security
Council, Madagascar, described his government’s national risk and
disaster management strategy, which calls for full transparency in
public aid management.
Paul-Uwe Söker, Secretary of State, Ministry of the Interior of
Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, evaluated the response to the flood disaster
of August 2002. He said that notwithstanding the success of the
disaster protection system, forecasting measures, communication and
training must be improved.
Michel Jarraud, Deputy Secretary-General, World Meteorological
Organization (WMO), stressed that mitigation of hydrometeorological
hazards requires accurate monitoring, detecting and predicting
weather patterns and issuing warnings with sufficient lead time.
Ad de Raad, Deputy Executive Coordinator, UN Volunteers,
highlighted the indispensable role of volunteers in early warning
and disaster risk reduction. He noted that much can be learned from
the creative disaster prevention methods in poor communities.
Richard Kinley, Acting Deputy Executive Secretary, UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), noted that although single
extreme climate events cannot be linked to climate change, the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has acknowledged that the
frequency and magnitude of such events increase with even a small
rise in global temperature. Highlighting adaptation as a response
measure promoted by the UNFCCC, he said early warning systems are
one way of reducing vulnerability and enhancing adaptive capacity to
weather events and climate change, and urged collaboration between
the climate change and disaster reduction communities.
Stressing the intimate relationship between desertification and
disaster reduction, Grégoire de Kalbermatten, Deputy Executive
Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), outlined
the work of the CCD’s Ad Hoc Group on Early Warning Systems.
Jagdish Dharamchand Koonjul, Permanent Representative of
Mauritius to the UN and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States
(AOSIS), noted that the need to address the vulnerability of small
island developing States (SIDS) is established in Agenda 21. In
light of the upcoming 10-year review of the Barbados Plan of Action,
he hoped EWC-II would offer progress on financial instruments,
building and development standards, education and awareness,
regional networks, incorporation of SIDS vulnerability factors into
indices, and the creation of a special SIDS fund to incorporate
vulnerability considerations into sustainable development. He
suggested the establishment of a permanent focal point to monitor
progress on recommendations from EWC’98 and
KEYNOTE SPEECH: In his keynote speech, United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Klaus Töpfer
highlighted the work done by UNEP in the field of early warning and
assessment. He stressed that natural disasters threaten the
sustainable development agenda by disproportionately affecting and
disadvantaging the poor. He noted that most disasters, and the
increase in their frequency, are caused by extreme weather
conditions, and provided examples of climate change impacts and the
consequences of ill-conceived human activities. He called for sound
environmental planning, data and information pooling, improved
observation systems, best practices exchange, strengthened technical
cooperation, and close cooperation with policy makers.
The following report summarizes the presentations and discussions
held at EWC-II, which addressed all aspects of early warning for
disaster management. The Conference took the form of thematic
presentations, discussions in Plenary and small groups, several
high-level panels, and three working groups that reported back to
Plenary. The results of the deliberations were used as a basis for
drafting two Conference documents. The report follows the format of
the Conference agenda.
GOOD PRACTICES IN EARLY WARNING
Eight thematic sessions on good practices in early warning were
held in two rounds. The first round, comprising parallel sessions on
the roles of the community, global early warning systems, early
warning systems for geological hazards, and wildland fires, was
convened Thursday afternoon, 16 October. The second round,
comprising parallel sessions on integrating flood early warning
systems into national policies, technological means for information
sharing, effective early warning systems for tropical cyclones, and
early warning systems for extreme climate-related events, was held
on Friday afternoon, 17 October.
THE ROLES OF THE COMMUNITY: This session was chaired by Seth
Shaukat Ali Awan, Flood Forecasting Division, Pakistan, presented
on scientific input into community-oriented early warning for
disaster reduction. He outlined initiatives and networks on local,
national, regional and global levels for advance warning of floods
in the Indus Basin. He stressed the need for awareness-raising for
successful implementation of early warning, and feedback to assess
the effectiveness of warnings.
Auriol Miller, Concern Worldwide, Democratic Republic of Congo,
spoke on initiatives to strengthen community preparedness to
volcanic hazards after a 2002 volcanic eruption. She said lessons
learned include the importance of gender-sensitive approaches and
the use of local metaphors to express complex ideas.
Ailsa Holloway, University of Cape Town, South Africa, spoke on
an incidence of misunderstanding an early warning during an extreme
weather event in the Western Cape in March 2003, which resulted in
the exclusion of many affected households from early warning and
relief assistance. She suggested considering "disaster risk early
warning systems," rather than simply "early warning systems."
Participants raised questions about ensuring effective early
warning in the context of political distrust and conflict.
GLOBAL EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS: This session was chaired by
Slobodan Simonovic, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction,
Ryosuke Kikuchi, Infrastructure Development Institute, Japan,
addressed the use of real-time flood forecasting to support flood
control decision making. He demonstrated the employment of
precipitation monitoring to issue flood alerts, and suggested the
establishment of a relevant global system focused on developing
Wolfgang Steinborn, German Aerospace Center, explained the
operation of the international charter "Space and Major Disasters"
with respect to flood warning. He emphasized the need for a new
generation of satellites and a higher resolution observation system
accessible to all countries, and for continued monitoring of
Laura Kong, International Tsunami Information Center, US,
described work done on early warning systems for tsunamis by
countries in the Pacific and by international organizations. She
emphasized the need for rapid, accurate and reliable response, and
suggested improving sea-level and seismic evaluation systems, to
embrace a larger number of regions.
EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS FOR GEOLOGICAL HAZARDS: This session
was chaired by Alberto Maturana, National Emergency Office, Chile.
Achmad Djumarma Wirakusumah, Ministry of Energy and Mineral
Resources, Indonesia, explained that the early warning system for
volcanic eruptions in Indonesia includes geological mapping,
volcanic activity monitoring, awareness-raising and equipment
Charley Douglas, World Organization of Volcanic Observatories,
Vanuatu, described mapping, monitoring and emergency response with
regard to volcanic activity in Vanuatu. He highlighted
administrative arrangements and noted that the local population
considers monitoring and response measures an obstacle to
development, and is therefore reluctant to participate in the
Dario Tedesco, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (UN-OCHA), described the response to the 2002 eruption of
the Nyiragongo Volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He
highlighted the spontaneity of the population’s evacuation and
return, the unexpected seismic and gas activity, and UN-OCHA’s
response. He called for cooperation in prevention, assessment and
mitigation through funds and cooperation in low- and high-technology
In the ensuing discussion, participants emphasized the gap
between scientific knowledge and policy making, loss of credibility
of the scientific community as a result of false alarms, and the
debate over responsibility for directing the public in times of
SPECIAL SESSION ON WILDLAND FIRE: This session was chaired by
Pedro Basabe, ISDR.
John Roads, Experiment Climate Prevention Center (ECPC), US,
explained that the "Experimental Global to Regional Seasonal
Forecast System" developed by ECPC provides all the variables
necessary for response by the US Forest Service and under other fire
danger codes. He emphasized the importance of basic fire occurrence
data to validate experimental forecasts.
Helmut Dotzauer and Lenny Christy, Integrated Forest Fire
Management (IFFM), Indonesia, explained that actions taken in
response to information on potential fire events in East Kalimantan,
Indonesia, include developing fire preparedness, disseminating
information, educating the public and land-use planning. They said
that short-, mid- and long-term information on potential fire events
includes daily and annual rainfall, daily hotspot detection,
meteorological predictions on possible El Niño events, and dynamic
fire hazard mapping.
Johann Goldammer, Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), Germany,
explained that GFMC promotes information sharing between countries
and regions. He said that methods and systems for early warning of
wildland fires include assessment of fuel loads and smoke pollution,
and predictions of lightning danger, human-caused fire factors,
wildfire spread and behavior, and climate change.
INTEGRATING FLOOD EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS INTO NATIONAL POLICIES:
This session was chaired by Erich Plate, University of Karlsruhe,
Errol Douglas, Water Resources Authority, Jamaica, spoke on the
challenges of designing and implementing community flood warning
systems in his country. He outlined technical and social issues,
including: the difficulty of replicating systems from one area to
another due to diverse hydrological characteristics; inadequate
funding; identification of stakeholders and their requirements; and
limits to institutional capacities.
Thanongdeth Insisiengmay, Mekong River Commission, Cambodia,
spoke about regional cooperation in reducing the negative impacts of
transboundary floods in the Mekong Delta. He stressed the importance
of feedback from stakeholders and local communities to improve
information services, which could be simple and address the concerns
of local communities.
Jean-Marie Carrière, French Meteorological Service, spoke on
flood early warning in France. He explained the institutional
reorganization of the service, which had been undertaken with the
involvement of all stakeholders. He said flood alert systems are
based on data collection in numerous local stations, and rely on
links between meteorology and hydrology services.
TECHNOLOGICAL MEANS FOR INFORMATION SHARING: This session was
chaired by Friedemann Wenzel, University of Karlsruhe, Germany.
Chiu-Ying Lam, Hong Kong Observatory, China, explained how his
organization has harnessed the Internet to provide low-cost weather
forecasts and warning services. He stressed that these services
focus on developing and least developed countries.
Udo Gärtner, German Weather Service, spoke on the various methods
employed in communicating severe weather warnings. He noted several
lessons learned, particularly the need to use simple language,
target actual users, and provide sufficient lead time. He referred
to problems encountered when the media is not responsive to
transmitting official hazard warnings.
Ivan Obrusník, Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, described the
experience of the 1997 and 2002 floods in the Czech Republic, and
the improvements made since then in the national forecasting
EFFECTIVE EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONES: This
session was chaired by Le-Huu Ti, UN Economic and Social Commission
for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
Luc Chang-Ko, Centre for Documentation, Research and Training on
the South West Indian Ocean, Mauritius, described the state of
national cyclone warning and preparedness in his country,
emphasizing that resilience requires an informed public.
Jeremy Collymore, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA),
presented Caribbean early warning systems for hurricanes,
highlighting the significance of regional institutionalization of
mechanisms and the lack of public confidence in warnings due to
large margins of error. He identified the nature and reliability of
information and modalities for sharing information as critical
Jürgen Kronenberger, German Red Cross, described a project of
disaster preparedness implemented in Orissa, India, demonstrating
effective early warning and mobilization. Participants addressed the
sustainability of the German Red Cross intervention and the
practical response to technological improvements in forecasting.
EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS FOR EXTREME CLIMATE-RELATED EVENTS:
This session was chaired by Kenneth Davidson, WMO.
José Luis Santos, International Research Centre on El Niño,
Ecuador, noted that the El Niño Southern Oscillation and climate
information can be used in decision-making processes. He emphasized
the need to improve communication between scientists and end-users
and to deliver sector- and audience-specific products.
Gérard Le Bars, French Meteorological Service, introduced
France’s New Vigilance Procedure, which includes four alert levels.
He attributed the success of the new system to continuous
communication with partners.
Michael Bründl, Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche
Research, provided an overview of the early warning for avalanche
risk in Switzerland. He stressed that early warning systems are
successful when the information chain is simple and rapid, users are
well trained, danger levels are clearly defined and communicated,
and there is only one warning standard.
INTEGRATING EARLY WARNING INTO PUBLIC POLICY PROCESSES
This session, chaired by Kamal Kishore, UNDP, was held on
Thursday afternoon, 16 October, and comprised a series of
INTEGRATION OF DISASTER REDUCTION AND EARLY WARNING INTO PUBLIC
POLICY: Jean Seth Rambeloalijaona, Minister of the Interior,
Madagascar, described his country's national risk and disaster
management strategy, recently entrenched in law, and emphasized the
need to draw popular support to risk assessment. He emphasized
difficulties in implementing initiatives due to lack of technical
INTEGRATING EARLY WARNING SCHEMES INTO FLOOD PROTECTION
MANAGEMENT: Stanislav Tillich, Minister of State, Saxony,
Germany, noted that a major problem in creating effective flood
protection strategies is lack of awareness of the dangers involved.
He emphasized the importance of reducing potential flood damage by
excluding development projects in flood plains, and stressed the
importance of increasing water retention by surface treatment and
rainfall water management, afforestation and forestry measures, and
mulch seed processes in agriculture. He said flood warning can be
modernized by developing an automatic rainfall measurement network,
ensuring that level measurement stations are flood resistant, and
increasing warning periods through improved meteorological
INTEGRATING EARLY WARNING OF ENVIRONMENTAL THREATS INTO POLICY TO
ACHIEVE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Norberto Fernández, Division
for Early Warning and Assessment, UNEP, recalled the emphasis on
disaster and risk management in the Johannesburg Plan of
Implementation, and said that an increasing human influence on the
environment is evident. He noted that rapid and unplanned
urbanization in Latin American cities increases demand for land, and
forces people to settle in high-risk areas. He urged emphasis on the
root causes of vulnerability. He said early warning is not about
"crying wolf," but rather about presenting facts to improve the
understanding of people and ecosystem vulnerability and to prevent
and minimize disasters.
EARLY WARNING, A TOOL FOR CLIMATE RISK MANAGEMENT: Reid
Basher, ISDR, described the evolution of knowledge about climate,
and noted that despite technological progress, some recent events
remain little understood. He said greater capacity in early warning
is needed, especially as results of seasonal forecasts remain
probabilistic. He proposed that early warning be considered in a
broader sense, since risk emanates from a number of sources,
including development projects and knowledge or leadership. He urged
that linkages between early warning and causes of risk be studied
and an integrated approach put in place, with extra tools employed
to increase understanding of early warning.
Three thematic sessions on emerging issues in early warning were
held in parallel on Saturday afternoon, 18 October. The sessions
addressed emerging issues, lessons learned, and the integration of
local early warning into national systems.
EMERGING ISSUES: This session was chaired by Martin Owor,
Office of the Prime Minister, Uganda.
Wolfgang Kron, Munich Reinsurance Company, described the
insurance industry's role in early warning mechanisms and in
advising clients on appropriate risk reduction measures. He said
insurers can map hazard zones as a tool for determining premiums.
Andreas Küppers and Dieter Umbach, Potsdam Conventus, Germany,
reviewed critical early warning issues, including a growing gap in
confidence, diversity of players, the role of the academic
perspective, and sectoral fragmentation. They suggested solutions
including ethical standards and legal regulation, and emphasized the
importance of: focusing on the institutional level of enforcement;
identifying competent political and legal decision-making
institutions; determining a budgetary framework; and allocating
responsibility for prevention, early warning and follow-up analysis.
Jürgen Laudien, Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany, described the
process of predicting El Niño by biotic and abiotic indicators, and
gave examples of potential damage containment following early
Hans Günter Brauch, Free University of Berlin and AFES-Press,
Germany, suggested causality between natural disasters and human
conflict. He urged cooperation between natural disaster and human
conflict institutions, and among political actors.
LESSONS LEARNED SESSION: The session was chaired by Jeremy
Anil Sinha, independent disaster management consultant, India,
spoke on integrating disaster reduction and early warning into
public policies. He stressed his country’s increasing vulnerability,
and emphasized the "new cultures" of disaster management in India:
prevention, preparedness, rapid response and strategic thinking.
Silvano Langa, Disaster Management Institute, Mozambique,
outlined the history of disaster management in his country,
particularly in human resource development. He highlighted flood,
cyclone and drought hazards, and the need for educating the public.
He stressed the need for capacity building, including contingency
planning, to deal with early warning and response.
Mohamed Jalil, independent researcher, Morocco, described methods
employed in his country to integrate early warning into disaster
preparedness and response, taking into account local hazards such as
drought, floods, and dust storms. He explained existing early
Erich Plate, University of Karlsruhe, Germany, discussed the
results of several recent expert meetings for the assessment of
early warning needs. He suggested that an effective early warning
system should have five components: observation, forecasting,
communication, warning methods and response. He stressed that no
universal model for early warning exists, and that current models
need to be evaluated against their effectiveness in saving lives and
INTEGRATION OF LOCAL EARLY WARNING IN NATIONAL SYSTEMS: This
session was chaired by Horst Müller, Federal Ministry for Economic
Cooperation and Development, Germany, and moderated by Thomas Schaef,
German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ).
Horst Müller stressed the paradox that disasters destroy
development efforts, but insufficient development increases
vulnerability to such events. He encouraged focus on prevention and
explained this is becoming a goal of German bilateral cooperation.
Lucas Simão Renço, Búzi District Administrator, Mozambique, spoke
on a local risk management framework in his district, developed
after the floods of 2000. He explained the structure of the local
committees and outlined risk management initiatives, including for
Oscar Rene Alcántara Irias, GTZ Project consultant, Honduras,
spoke on integrating local early warning systems into his country's
national policies. He pointed to mutual benefits of such a
relationship, including enhanced communication for rapid response
Tulio Santoyo Bustamente, GTZ Project Technical Officer, Peru,
said that the effectiveness of the early warning system in the Piura
River basin is defined by a combination of technology, equipment,
technical personnel, institutions and stakeholders. He underscored
the importance of political will and an institutional framework for
the sustainability of early warning systems.
José Wilson Pereira, National Secretariat of Civil Defense,
Brazil, described a programme on fire early warning in the Amazon,
and noted that agricultural and pastoral activities in the vicinity
of the Amazon create risks. He explained the components of the
programme, which involves all stakeholders, including the military
and indigenous populations.
Participants then discussed the problem that certain information,
necessary for successful early warning, remains classified by the
military as "top-secret."
PARALLEL EVENTS IN THE PLENARY HALL
Parallel to the session on good practices held on Friday
afternoon, 17 October, presentations were held in Plenary on the use
of hazard maps in early warning, and on effective drought early
warning. Parallel to the sessions on emerging issues on Saturday
afternoon, 18 October, presentations were given in Plenary on
implementing transboundary early warning systems for floods, and new
technologies and scientific networks.
EFFECTIVE EARLY WARNING – USE OF HAZARD MAPS AS A TOOL FOR
EFFECTIVE RISK COMMUNICATION AMONG POLICY MAKERS AND COMMUNITIES:
This session was chaired by Satoru Nishikawa, Asian Disaster
Reduction Center. He said the aim of the session was to address the
gap between perceived and actual risk.
Masaaki Nakagawa, Cabinet Office, Japan, identified the efficacy
of hazard maps and instructions issued to the community for ensuring
successful response to volcanic eruption early warning and saving
lives and property.
Ryosuke Kikuchi, Infrastructure Development Institute, Japan,
said that maps help residents evacuate efficiently and allow
authorities to adjust land-use and city planning.
Yang-Su Kim, National Institute for Disaster Prevention, Republic
of Korea, said pertinent issues are efficient design, effective
distribution and data collection.
Norman Tuñgol, Philippines Institute of Volcanology and
Seismology, said the eruption of Pinatubo Volcano in 1991 boosted
the use of hazard maps following accurate predictions. He noted that
seismic hazard maps are used for buffer and land-use zoning and for
input to building codes and disaster preparedness plans.
Muhammad Saidur Rahman, Bangladesh Disaster Preparedness Centre,
lamented excessive emphasis on the national level and lack of action
on the local level. He stressed that community ownership ensures
transparency and, consequently, the effectiveness of a system and
confidence in it.
Participants discussed the relationship between governmental and
local action. One participant called for community initiatives, and
another noted the difficulty of mobilizing a community unfamiliar
with natural disasters.
EFFECTIVE DROUGHT EARLY WARNING – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO
REDUCING SOCIETAL VULNERABILITY TO DROUGHT: Donald Wilhite,
Drought Mitigation Center, US, chaired this session, and called for
a global drought preparedness network composed of regional networks.
Laban Ogallo, Drought Monitoring Center, Nigeria, described the
regional monitoring of drought. He said lessons learned include the
need to ensure coordinated reporting and dissemination, carry out
pilot projects, employ local and traditional methods, and increase
involvement of national weather services.
Pak Sum Low, ESCAP, described the emerging global drought
preparedness network, composed of regional networks facilitating
early warning systems, preparedness and policies aimed at
Kamal Kishore, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said
that lessons from the drought in India in 2002 include the need for
spatially and temporally detailed predictions, channeled climate
information for relief planning and addressing the vulnerability of
Henri Josserand, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),
underscored the deceptive distinction between naturally- and
Orivaldo Brunini, Institute of Agronomy, Brazil, shared a recent
experience of drought early warning in southern Brazil, which relied
on a standardized precipitation index.
IMPLEMENTING TRANSBOUNDARY EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS FOR FLOODS:
This session was co-chaired by ISDR Director Sálvano Briceño and
Hans-Joachim Daerr, Federal Foreign Office, Germany.
Ernesto Ruiz-Rodriguez, Society of Engineers for Waterworks and
Management, Germany, said that the Flood Action Plan developed for
the Rhine aims to reduce risk, increase flood awareness, and improve
flood warning systems. He said conditions for effective forecasting
systems include timely dissemination and understanding of flood
forecasts and appropriate response behavior.
Helmut Blöch, European Commission, explained that floods occur
due to land-use change, diversion of rivers away from their
floodplains, and infrastructure development in natural flooding
areas. He stressed basin-wide partnerships and integrated
river-basin management as central to a successful response to
Tobias Oetjen, Government of Saxony, Germany, said that the most
severe damage due to flooding of the Elbe and Mulde Rivers was
caused to municipal infrastructure. He presented advances made in
reconstruction and outlined the role of forests in flood prevention.
NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND SCIENTIFIC NETWORKS: This session was
co-chaired by Sálvano Briceño and Hans-Joachim Daerr.
Walter Hürster, T-Systems International, Germany, noted that
components of computer networks for crisis management include
surveillance systems, threat analysis and prediction, online
situation displays, decision support, early warning and information.
He stressed the need to develop more computer networks in crisis
Bruno Merz, GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ), Germany, introduced the
Helmholtz Association, which promotes in networking and partnerships
among scientific research centers. He emphasized that networking and
partnerships are necessary within the scientific community and
between the scientific community and stakeholders, to create input
for disaster mitigation.
Four panel discussions were held. The first addressed new
technologies and low-technology solutions for early warning systems
and took place on Thursday afternoon, 16 October. The second,
focusing on early warning as a decision tool for emergency
management, was convened on Friday morning, 17 October. A panel
discussion for local authorities, held on Friday afternoon, 17
October, addressed the responsibilities of policy makers. On
Saturday morning, 18 October, a high-level panel discussed solutions
for integrating early warning into public policy.
NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND LOW-TECH SOLUTIONS FOR EARLY WARNING
SYSTEMS: Kenneth Davidson, WMO, explained that WMO focuses on
mitigation and prevention, which lead to preparedness, response and
ultimate recovery. He raised questions on the role of early warning,
including the type of early warning needed, whether different
countries require different technologies and whether the latest
technologies can be sustained in all countries.
Laban Ogallo, Drought Monitoring Center, Nigeria, explained that
key early warning activities of African monitoring centers include
daily monitoring of weather and climate patterns, estimating the
probability of certain weather and climate extremes, and determining
risk zones. He noted current challenges, including: building
capacity; sustaining observation activities; exchanging data; and
translating global information into useful regional early warning
Juan Carlos Villagrán, Villa Tek, Guatemala, highlighted his
country’s experience in involving the local community, including
volunteers, in early warning. He emphasized the importance of taking
into account the actual capacity of people to operate sophisticated
systems or instruments. He said the use of simple, locally-produced
measuring tools, while losing in precision, draws members of the
community into forecasting activities that increase awareness and a
sense of personal responsibility for natural disaster preparedness.
Maureen Fordham, University of Northumbria, UK, highlighted key
elements for successful implementation of early warning systems. She
said systems must combine all-inclusiveness, awareness,
appropriateness, and be integrated with policy and practice.
Douglas Patty, CCD, drew attention to the potential value of
combining traditional knowledge with high-technology solutions. He
said traditional knowledge is practical, well disseminated,
ecologically viable and less expensive.
Thomas Schaef, GTZ, Germany, stressed the importance of
determining local communities’ capacity when designing early warning
systems for them. He stressed that although technology for local
warning systems is cheap, the sustainable implementation of such
systems is relatively costly. He highlighted the importance of
integrating local warning systems into national policies and
disaster reduction strategies.
Session Rapporteur Ailsa Holloway, University of Cape Town, South
Africa, summarized the session, stressing: that information needs to
be placed in the relevant social context; the value of indigenous
and traditional knowledge; and the development of appropriate and
accessible technologies, without setting aside cultural heritage.
EARLY WARNING, A DECISION TOOL FOR EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: The
panel was chaired by Everett Ressler, UNICEF.
Carlo Scaramella, World Food Programme (WFP), highlighted the
WFP’s monitoring process and the platform of information. Referring
to lessons learned, he suggested that humanitarian assistance
organizations strengthen their early warning capacities, and that
the international community, especially donors, share
responsibilities for managing disaster response.
Detlev Rünger, Federal Foreign Office, Germany, said that the
work of a donor government as an action-generating mechanism can be
facilitated by competent partners and by using coordinated, assessed
information rather than raw material. He suggested establishing a
permanent coordinating body.
Peter Billing, European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office,
called for the integration of existing alert systems into a single
platform covering all potential types of disaster in all
disaster-prone areas of the world. He said a coordinating body is
necessary and suggested that it be placed within the UN system.
Helga Leifsdottir, International Federation of Red Cross and Red
Crescent Societies, emphasized the importance of access to early
warning information at the community level. She urged progress on
collecting information at the grassroots level and matching it with
Chair Ressler said top-down approaches do not generate the
necessary responses, and stressed that the problem is not lack of
information, but lack of action.
In the discussion, participants noted that information quality
must be maintained at all levels, and questioned the ability of
local people to access such information. Participants emphasized the
need for international, regional and national-level focal points to
analyze and collect information. One participant stressed the
importance of combining top-down and bottom-up approaches in
developing early warning systems.
EARLY WARNING AND URBAN RISKS – RESPONSIBILITIES OF POLICY
MAKERS: This panel for local authorities was chaired by Irmgard
Schwaetzer, German Committee for Disaster Reduction.
Aoto Ken-Ichi, Hyogo Prefectural Government, Japan, described the
Prefecture's disaster management center, established in response to
a major earthquake in 1995, stressing that it enables response
within 15 minutes.
Miegombyn Enkhbold, Governor of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, said a new
Mongolian law establishes local implementing agencies for disaster
management. He said disaster prevention measures taken by the
Ulaanbaatar municipality, its organizational capacity, and financial
resources allocated by the central government, reduced the potential
damages of a flood in July 2003 by an estimated 20%.
Hugo Marcelo Pineda Luna, Mayor of Baños, Ecuador, outlined his
municipality’s programme for addressing the reluctance of evacuated
people to return to Baños following a recent volcanic eruption. He
said the programme was based on: strengthening the monitoring system
of volcanic eruptions; ensuring shelter, sanitation, water and food,
and law and order; and raising awareness and consciousness of civil
society and local authorities.
Hartmut Bosch, Secretary of State, Ministry of the Interior,
Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Germany, described the mechanisms for
early warning and steps taken to rectify deficiencies.
Bärbel Dieckmann, Mayor of Bonn, Germany, explained that Bonn is
well prepared for responding to flooding, and can request regional
assistance in serious emergencies. She noted the local authorities’
intention to establish an inter-regional prevention system.
Badaoui Rouhban, UNESCO, stressed the need to shift from
post-disaster reaction to pre-disaster action, and emphasized that
public, corporate and private entities must jointly invest in early
warning systems and disaster prevention. He underscored the need to
build local capacities and ensure the sustainability of early
Participants then debated the availability of useful scientific
information and the implementation of public-private partnerships.
SOLUTIONS FOR INTEGRATING EARLY WARNING INTO PUBLIC POLICY:
This high-level panel was chaired by Claudia Roth, Member of
Parliament and Commissioner of Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid,
Henri Josserand, FAO, presented a policy guideline, which targets
political authorities and supports the existing IDNDR "Guiding
Principles for Effective Early Warning." He said that the guideline
addresses key elements for successful implementation, including:
understanding the threats and likelihood of disasters and potential
consequences, and establishing priorities; developing institutional
networks with clear responsibilities; strengthening legal
frameworks; and securing resources.
Jean Seth Rambeloalijaona, Minister of Interior and
Administrative Reform and President of the National Security
Council, Madagascar, described the legal framework adopted by his
country to govern disaster management at all levels. Appealing for
financial support, he emphasized the individual’s right and duty of
solidarity and mutual aid, the need to clearly divide
responsibilities and strengthen capacities.
Roberto White, Minister of Public Works and Housing, Mozambique,
said that his country’s national strategy includes: contingency
plans based on a participatory approach at all levels; an
inter-ministerial committee coordinating stakeholders; and the
establishment of an institute for disaster management. He said that
disaster management needs to: be human centered; include awareness
campaigns, promotion of best practice and building codes in disaster
areas; rehabilitate field networks; and maintain high-level
political commitment. He called for international support for
technology transfer and funding.
Pubenza María Fuentes, Minister of Planning, Ecuador, said the
Disaster Reduction Council for the Andean countries, set up in 1998,
focuses on disaster reduction and mitigation, with early warning
playing a key role. She stressed the importance of educating the
public and international cooperation.
Yang Yan-Yin, Vice Minister of Civil Affairs, China, emphasized
the importance of integrating early warning into government
policies. She noted that China has implemented regulations for
disaster reduction and has made progress in increasing awareness.
Jagdish Dharamchand Koonjul, AOSIS Chair, stressed the importance
of improving people’s understanding of expected risks following
alerts. He stressed the need to improve expertise and technical
capability for disaster forecasting and added that strengthening
resilience to disasters must also be improved, and the use of
traditional knowledge explored in greater detail.
Dahou Ould Kablia, Deputy Minister of Interior, Algeria,
described his country’s legal framework for disaster management. He
said that the national policy is driven by the State, implemented by
local authorities through on-going consultations with various
agencies, and is guided by various principles, including precaution,
concomitance and participation.
Thomas Broni, Deputy Minister of the Interior, Ghana, noted that
the major hazards faced by his country include floods, drought,
epidemics and the influx of refugees, and outlined the institutional
measures to confront these problems. He emphasized the need for
regional and global cooperation in risk assessment and disaster
management, and called for increased assistance, including
technology transfer and capacity building for early warning.
OVERVIEW OF PREPARATORY REGIONAL CONSULTATIONS
On Friday morning, 17 October, representatives provided overviews
of the regional preparatory consultations that took place between
May and July 2003.
AFRICA: Hesphina Rukato, New Partnership for Africa's
Development, reported on the consultations held in Nairobi, Kenya,
from 23-24 June 2003. She said that progress in early warning system
development must be expedited. She noted that the consultation’s
recommendations for action include steps to: strengthen local,
national and subregional capabilities for early warning; modernize
and expand basic data and information; enforce the rule of law;
integrate early warning and disaster risk management into
development plans; and strengthen selected institutions as regional
disaster reduction centers.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC: Le-Huu Ti, ESCAP, reported that in the
regional preparatory consultations in Bandung, Indonesia, held from
26-28 May 2003, participants had: addressed the importance and
patterns of natural hazards, advances, constraints and experiences;
identified success factors; and compared economic loss trends.
Workshop recommendations include developing national guidelines and
community-based preparedness programmes. He said follow-up
activities to EWC-II should be linked to implementing the Yokohama
Plan of Action, build on expected achievements of regional efforts,
and include pilot projects.
EUROPE: Jochen Zschau, GTZ, Germany, reported on the regional
preparatory consultation in Potsdam, Germany, held from 28-29 July
2003. He outlined the consultation’s proposal to establish an
international early warning platform to act as a center for
coordinating and strengthening all aspects of early warning
AMERICAS: Juan Carlos Villagrán, Villa Tek, Guatemala, said
the consultations held in Antigua, Guatemala, from 3-5 June 2003,
had focused on early warning in Latin America and the Caribbean, and
resulted in the Antigua Declaration. He pointed to the need to
identify cost-benefit ratios of early warning systems.
COMPILATION OF REGIONAL FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Seth
Vordzorgbe, ISDR, noted the need to establish and enforce
guidelines, develop institutional capacity, and target warning at
specific risk groups. He highlighted recommendations identified at
the regional meetings, including the need to: integrate disaster
risk management into building processes and policies; support
capacity development; develop people-centered warning systems;
improve data collection and availability; and implement the EWC-II
recommendations through an ISDR-coordinated international early
warning programme or platform.
In the discussion, one participant called for international
cooperation at the highest political level and involving all
Participants met in three working groups on Friday, 17 October,
to discuss the elements of a future international early warning
programme and platform. Discussions were based on five focus areas:
better integration of early warning into development processes
and public policies;
improved data collection and availability for forecasting on
different time scales and investigating long-term risk factors;
improved capacities and strengthened early warning systems,
particularly in developing countries;
development of people-centered warning systems; and
mechanisms for sustaining the early warning dialogue and
supporting the development of the programme.
Findings and conclusions were reported back in Plenary and
discussed on Saturday, 18 October.
WORKING GROUP 1 – EARLY WARNING TARGETS 2004-15: Working
Group 1 (WG1) was moderated by Klaus Wiersing, ISDR. Participants
examined shortcomings of the current early warning practices and
procedures, and agreed that the issue required a multidisciplinary
approach. They urged a clearer definition and common understanding
of all components of early warning, and of relevant communication
procedures. Several participants suggested that the gap between
science and decision making should be closed by 2015. Discussants
highlighted the importance of continuous education and training, and
the need for capacity building and technology transfer. A
participant suggested that disaster reduction and risk be integrated
into long-term development planning and land-use schemes. Some
speakers stressed that commercial interests should not be permitted
to interfere with disaster reduction strategies. Participants agreed
on the need to improve regional collaboration. The question of
resources was raised, and cost-benefit analyses were suggested to
promote government investment in early warning. Among other issues
mentioned, were: addressing new emerging threats; establishing new
partnerships; creating an inventory and analysis of existing early
warning systems; and setting indicators. The question of a
monitoring mechanism was discussed, with preference expressed for an
ISDR role in a multi-agency setting.
Findings and conclusions: The results of WG1 were presented
by Klaus Wiersing. The group confirmed their understanding of early
warning as an integrated process, composed of: monitoring and
forecasting; vulnerability analysis; information dissemination; and
preparedness. The group recommended possible targets:
first, integration of early warning into national disaster
reduction, clear definition of roles and responsibilities at all
levels, and raising political commitment for resource allocation
by means of a cost-benefit analysis;
second, community-oriented early warning, including education
programmes, community participation in the design of local early
warning systems, and preparedness measures for community response;
third, addressing new challenges and emerging trends, in
particular partnerships between science and socioeconomic
disciplines, and warning messages with risk scenarios; and
fourth, regional cooperation, including transboundary
cooperation and data exchange.
WORKING GROUP 2 – FROM POTSDAM TO BONN AND BEYOND: Working
Group 2 (WG2) was moderated by Friedemann Wenzel, University of
Participants discussed possible focus areas for the international
programme on early warning and stressed the importance of defining
the limits of early warning. They said such a programme may attract
more funding if it also includes health- and conflict-induced
disasters. Participants discussed the value of cost-benefit analyses
for the purpose of "selling" early warning to governments, and
learning from private sector experience. It was queried whether and
how ISDR could become the institution to coordinate or implement the
programme. One participant highlighted the importance of providing
tangible outputs to donors. Participants discussed whether early
warning should be addressed differently for developed and developing
Participants questioned the extent to which existing early
warning systems in developing countries are funded by donors, and
whether these are sustainable.
Findings and conclusions: Seth Vordzorgbe, ISDR, summarized
the outcomes of WG2. He said participants had agreed that since
EWC’98, early warning systems have grown significantly, and that
"bold moves" are now necessary to energize this process. The group
recognized that an international programme or platform should serve
and address both developed and developing countries. Desirable
attributes of the programme include: proactive, rather than
reactive, behavior; an emphasis on partnerships, including with the
private sector; and ensuring the sustainability of early warning
WORKING GROUP 3 – SUSTAINING THE EARLY WARNING DIALOGUE:
Working Group 3 (WG3) was moderated by Noberto Fernández, UNEP. One
participant stressed the need to provide governments with incentives
by demonstrating that early warning systems will positively affect
their budgets. Participants agreed on the need to undertake a
cost-benefit analysis and engage in awareness-raising regarding
funding opportunities. Noting the usefulness of national-level focal
points, one participant stressed the need to identify dialogue
partners. Another emphasized the importance of engaging civil
society in the dialogue to ensure its continuity despite political
changes. Participants agreed on the importance of raising public
awareness, continuing donor funding, and revising legal frameworks.
One discussant expressed concern over the difficulty of sustaining
high-technology early warning systems, while another suggested that
the maintenance of such technologies be undertaken by an independent
Findings and conclusions: Reviewing the findings and
conclusions of WG3, Norberto Fernández said that instruments
identified to maintain the early warning dialogue include incentives
to governments and the inclusion of early warning into disaster
management plans. He stressed institutional networks, national
platforms, vulnerability and risk maps, free access to data and
information and their exchange. He emphasized the importance of
decentralizing policy making and enhancing civil society
participation in decision making. He also noted the need to: train
and educate officials in the use of technology for early warning and
disaster management; consider ways to ensure long-term maintenance
of high technology equipment; and promote the dialogue between
donors and recipients of technology.
DISCUSSION: In the discussion of the working groups’ findings
and conclusions that followed, one participant suggested examining
the role of conflict in the capacity to respond to hazards, and the
impact of disasters on conflicts. Another noted that emphasis on
community-oriented early warning ignores the importance of balance
among all stakeholders. Several participants stressed that
additional hazards, such as chemical, nuclear and biological ones,
should be considered in the context of disaster reduction.
Some participants urged adoption of specific programmes on the
role of women in decision making for risk reduction and response.
Others stressed the importance of specific disaster management
legislation, and defining the term "early warning." One participant
noted that education and legislation are crucial for the
sustainability of early warning systems.
CLOSING OF THE CONFERENCE
PRESENTATION OF CONFERENCE OUTCOME AND FOLLOW-UP: Sálvano
Briceño, ISDR, introduced the draft document "Effective Early
Warning to Reduce Disasters: The Need for More Coherent Action at
All Levels," which contains the recommendations of EWC-II. He said
that the document responds to: an increasing disaster burden; a
growing recognition of the role of early warning; slow progress in
effective use of warnings; specific proposals generated by EWC-II;
and the need for an organized international approach.
The document identifies five focus areas for an international
early warning programme:
better integration of early warning and related disaster risk
reduction and management into development processes and public
improved data collection and availability for forecasting on
different time scales and investigating long-term risk factors;
improved capacities and strengthened early warning systems,
particularly in developing countries;
development of people-centered warning systems; and
mechanisms for sustaining the early warning dialogue and
supporting the development of the programme.
In conclusion, Briceño emphasized that there is a new and urgent
opportunity to develop early warning as a contributor to disaster
impact reduction. He noted the commitment of partner institutions to
collaborate in building a structured programme for the future. He
said that this begins of a new phase in the continuing process of
dialogue and productive collaboration.
PRESENTATION OF CONFERENCE STATEMENT: Briceño then introduced
the draft EWC-II Statement. In the Statement, the Conference
considers that natural disasters are increasingly becoming an
impediment to achieving sustainable development goals, and
disasters are a result of natural hazards and of human,
social, economic and environmental vulnerability;
disaster reduction is an essential component of relevant
progress has been achieved in understanding early warning
since EWC’98; and
ISDR provides a suitable framework for advancing early warning
as an essential tool for reducing risk and vulnerability.
The Statement calls for:
integration of early warning systems into government policies;
support by governments and relevant organizations to implement
early warning systems, as recommended by EWC-II, and to integrate
the future programme into disaster reduction strategies at all
the programme to focus on integration of early warning into
development action, improvement of data collection, capacity
enhancement, people-centered warning systems, and mechanisms to
sustain the early warning dialogue; and
ISDR action to facilitate the implementation of the early
warning programme, sustain the dialogue and mobilize resources to
strengthen capacity at regional, national and local levels.
The Statement welcomes Germany's offer of additional support to
ISDR, invites other governments to contribute, and expresses
appreciation to the German authorities for hosting EWC-II.
In the ensuing discussion on the two EWC-II outcomes, one
participant suggested including a definition of early warning, and
several proposed using the terms "natural phenomena," or "natural
and human-induced environmental disasters" instead of "natural
disasters." Briceño said the term "natural hazards" had been used
wherever possible. Participants noted insufficient consideration of
risk management, vulnerability, gender, local wisdom and traditional
knowledge in the Statement. A proposal was made to expand the
invitation to support the early warning programme to development
agencies and private institutions, and to add a provision on
promoting transboundary cooperation and technical data exchange.
Germany confirmed its commitment to additional contributions to
ISDR. Japan announced that it will submit a draft resolution to the
UN General Assembly on its intention to host a world conference on
disaster reduction in Kobe, in January 2005.
CLOSING REMARKS: In his closing remarks, Hans-Joachim Daerr,
Federal Foreign Office, Germany, called for implementation of the
recommendations of EWC-II, and for continued research and exchange
of views on early warning. Sálvano Briceño thanked participants, the
German Government and the City of Bonn for support and hospitality
provided for EWC-II, as well as all individuals, agencies and
organizations that contributed to its success. EWC-II concluded at
THINGS TO LOOK FOR
EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS WORKSHOP: This workshop will be held
from 20-23 October 2003, in Shanghai, China. For more information,
contact: Jan Stewart; tel: +1-303-497-8134; fax: +1-303-497-8125;
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet:
REGIONAL GEOMORPHOLOGY CONFERENCE: The conference will take
place from 17 October to 2 November 2003, in Mexico City, Mexico.
For more information, contact: Irasema Alcantara-Ayala, UNAM; tel:
+52-55-5622-4339 ext. 45466; e-mail:
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, "IMPROVING THE ODDS": This conference
will be held from 27-29 October 2003, in Vancouver, Canada. For more
information, contact: Pacific Northwest Preparedness Society; tel:
+1-604-665-6097; fax: +1-604-654-0623; e-mail:
TERRAIN DATA, APPLICATIONS AND VISUALIZATION – MAKING THE
CONNECTION: This conference will take place from 26-30 October
2003, in North Charleston, South Carolina, US. For more information,
contact: CONDOR registration services; tel: +1-256-852-4490; e-mail:
WORLD CONFERENCE ON DISASTER MANAGEMENT, INFRASTRUCTURE, AND
CONTROL SYSTEMS: This conference will be held from 10-12
November 2003, in Hyderabad, India. For more information, contact:
Professor Anjaneyulu; tel: +91-40-5558-9706; fax: +91-40-2330-6095;
CHALLENGES OF INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN COMPLEX HUMANITARIAN
EMERGENCIES CONFERENCE: This conference will be held from 4-6
November 2003, in Honolulu, Hawaii, US. For more information,
contact: Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Public Affairs
Office, tel: +1-808-971-8916; fax: +1- 808-971-8999; e-mail:
30TH INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT,
INFORMATION FOR RISK MANAGEMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The
symposium will take place from 10-14 November 2003, in Honolulu,
Hawaii, US. For more information, contact: East West Center; tel:
+1-808-944-7557; fax: +1-808-944-7399, Att: 30th ISRSE November
INSTITUTE FOR BUSINESS AND HOME SAFETY’S ANNUAL CONGRESS ON
NATURAL HAZARD LOSS REDUCTION: This congress will take place
from 12-13 November 2003, in Orlando, Florida, US. For more
information, contact: IBHS; tel: +1-813-286-3400; fax:
51ST ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
EMERGENCY MANAGERS: The will take place from 14-20 November
2003, in Orlando, Florida, US. For more information, contact: IAEM;
tel: +1-703-538-1795; fax: +1-703-241-5603; e-mail:
THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL WILDLAND FIRE ECOLOGY AND FIRE
MANAGEMENT CONGRESS AND THE FIFTH SYMPOSIUM ON FIRE AND FOREST
METEOROLOGY: These two meetings will take place jointly from
16-20 November 2003, in Orlando, Florida, US. For more information,
contact: AMS; tel: +1-617-227-2426; e-mail:
EXPERT MEETING ON SPACE TECHNOLOGY FOR FLOOD AND FIRE MANAGEMENT:
This meeting will take place from 24-26 November 2003, in
Córdoba, Argentina. For more information, contact: David Stevens, UN
Office for Outer Space Affairs; tel: +43-1-26060-5631; fax:
ELEVENTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SOIL DYNAMICS AND EARTHQUAKE
ENGINEERING: The conference will take place from 7-9 January
2004, in Berkeley, California, US. For more information, contact:
Institution of Engineers Singapore; tel: +65-6295-5790; fax:
WORLD CONGRESS ON NATURAL DISASTER MITIGATION: The Congress
will be held from 19-21 February 2004, in New Delhi, India. For more
information, contact: Organizing Secretary-General; tel:
+91-11-2337-0168, 23370548; fax: +91-11-2337-8851; e-mail:
SIXTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE GLOBAL DISASTER INFORMATION
NETWORK: This conference will be held from 26-29 March 2004, in
Washington D.C., US. For more information, contact: GDIN; tel:
+1-202-647-5070; fax: +1-202-647-4628; e-mail:
CONFERENCE ON FOREST FIRE MANAGEMENT AND INTERNATIONAL
COOPERATION IN FIRE EMERGENCIES IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN,
BALKANS AND ADJOINING REGIONS OF THE NEAR EAST AND CENTRAL ASIA:
This conference will be held from 30 March to 3 April 2004, in
Antalya, Turkey. For more information, contact: Timber Branch, UNECE
Trade Development and Timber Division; tel: +41-22-917-3240; fax:
FOURTH NEPAL GEOLOGICAL CONGRESS: This Congress will take
place from 7-9 April 2004, in Kathmandu, Nepal. For more
information, contact: Dr. R. M. Tuladhar, Nepal Geological Society,
Kathmandu, Nepal; tel: +977-1-411-396; fax: +977-1-414-806; e-mail:
FIRST MEDITERRANEAN CONFERENCE ON SATELLITE OBSERVATION OF THE
EARTH – REMOTE SENSING: This conference will take place from
21-24 April 2004, in Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro. For more
information, contact: Branislav Trivic; tel: + 381-11-3219-273; fax:
IX INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON LANDSLIDES: The symposium will
convene from 24 June to 4 July 2004, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For
more information, contact: Secretariat 9 ISL, Rio de Janeiro; tel:
+55-21-2562-7200; fax: +55-21-2280-9545 or +55-21-2290-6626; e-mail:
THIRTEENTH WORLD CONFERENCE ON EARTHQUAKE ENGINEERING: This
conference will take place from 1-6 August 2004, in Vancouver,
Canada. For more information, contact: 13th WCEE Secretariat; tel:
+1-604-681-5226; fax: +1-604-681-2503; e-mail:
32ND INTERNATIONAL GEOLOGICAL CONGRESS: This Congress will
convene from 20-28 August 2004 in Florence, Italy. For more
information, contact: Chiara Manetti, Scientific Secretariat; tel:
+39-55-238-2146; fax: +39-55-238-2146; e-mail: