Building peace in the minds of men and women

No Red Carpet for Tsunamis in Cannes

18 December 2019

Over 50 experts from North Atlantic and Mediterranean countries gathered in Cannes to review tsunami early warning, preparedness and community engagement in the region.

Experts from 14 countries in the Northeastern Atlantic and Mediterranean (NEAM) met in Cannes, France, on 2-4 December to review progress in the implementation of the Tsunami Warning System for the NEAM region (NEAMTWS). Commemorations of the 2019 edition of World Tsunami Awareness Day (5 November) and the accreditation of a new Tsunami Service Provider in the region – Portugal’s Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA) – figured high on the meeting’s agenda.

Hosts for the Sixteenth Session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the NEAMTWS, the Municipality of Cannes showcased the city as a pilot town for tsunami preparedness activities, and as a beacon of efforts to provide effective early warning to save citizens’ lives and mitigate damages to property and critical infrastructure.

The coast of Cannes boasts a port of considerable infrastructure, including many expensive yachts. The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes is located close to the coast and hosts 50 major events per year including the Cannes Film Festival, which attract several thousands people. In total, around three million people visit France’s cinema capital each year, including 320 cruise passengers.

Cannes has taken several steps to mitigate tsunamis and raise this important issue with citizens and tourists alike. In 2017, the city adopted the World Tsunami Awareness Day, 5 November as an annual event, and authorities have carried out two tsunami exercises, installed tsunami evacuation signs and published a comprehensive risk information document for the public, including information on tsunami and inundation risks. Many of these efforts are unprecedented among France’s vulnerable coastal cities.

Beyond taking stock of Cannes tsunami preparedness best practices, the Intergovernmental Coordination Group reviewed more largely the outcomes of the 2019 World Tsunami Awareness Day commemorations in the region, recognizing the efforts of France, Italy, Greece and Turkey to increase tsunami hazard awareness through this flagship annual event. Planning for the 2020 edition of the Day are already underway, with a tsunami exercise foreseen for 2-4 November 2020, back-to-back with the 5 November events.

The experts will meet again in 2020 at the 17th Session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for NEAMTWS, to take place in Germany.   

 

***
For further information, please contact:
Denis Chang, Programme Specialist
d.chang-seng@unesco.org