The Project, working in partnership with the Tohoku University, the International Tsunami Information Center (ITIC) and the Indian Ocean Tsunami Center, which is partnered with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has identified five schools located in tsunami-prone coasts across 18 countries to increase awareness and preparedness among nearly 50,000 students, teachers and members of the school administration. So far over 100 drills have been conducted to test preparedness and response levels. The overall project design, implementation, and coordination at the national level have been supported by the Embassy of Japan in each country and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The enthusiastic acceptance and relevance of the project have been acknowledged by local communities and administrations as evidenced by the range of success stories spawned by the project activities. For example, in Fiji, the school preparedness drills led to the testing of a new mobile app that facilitated real time information for early warning, paving the way for a first ever national tsunami drill. Similarly, eight hotels in Bali, Indonesia signed an agreement with the local administration to permit the use of their buildings and rooftops as safe areas; while in Vietnam, the government is working to include disaster education in the national school curriculum.
Despite a considerable focus on identifying the most tsunami-prone coasts and communities, the tsunami-affected Palu area of Indonesia was not covered by the project. In hindsight, one feels that perhaps more needs to done to expand the scope and coverage of risk reduction and preparedness activities to truly realize the vision of sustainable development and resilient communities, as enshrined in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Agenda, through focused attention on the need to advance risk-informed development.
A lingering feeling of inadequacy persists with the realization that perhaps much more needs to be done. The World Tsunami Awareness Day today, 05 November, is a stark reminder of the need to enhance our risk reduction and preparedness levels by adopting a multi-hazard approach and scaling up the efforts to reduce risks and not just manage disasters, as envisioned by the Sendai Framework.
The period from now until 2020 is critical to the success of the Paris Agreement. For UNDP, UN partners and the wider international community, the mission is clear: to push for countries, communities and the private sector to scale up ambition. By 2020, we want to see accelerated action on the climate targets – the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – of the Paris Agreement. Read more on: Climate 2020 – All In