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The first SW Pacific Earthquake Resilience Workshop was held in August 2011 at the School of Architecture, Wellington.  This workshop drew together lessons from recent earthquakes and tsunamis to develop a road map for improved regional resilience. A summary follows while a report on the workshop with a list of actions is available here -  SWPER_Wkshop_Report 20111010

 

Southwest Pacific Earthquake Resilience Workshop – A Summary

 

By Clark Hyland

 

The Society was pleased to convene the Southwest Pacific Earthquake Resilience Workshop, held in Wellington from the 22 – 24 August, 2011. This workshop drew together lessons from recent earthquakes and tsunamis (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Is, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, New Zealand) to develop a road map for improved regional resilience. The aim of the workshop was to build regional awareness and consensus on the perceived priorities for improving earthquake resilience in the region over the next 5 years.

Delegates attended from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga, Australia and New Zealand.

The 3-day workshop concluded with the production of a report due to be presented to regional governmental and international agencies. If adopted, this report will lead to risk mitigation strategies being adopted and a modern earthquake monitoring network of local networks being established throughout the Southwest Pacific under the umbrella of a new organization of engineers, seismologists and natural disaster planners. Overviews were presented on recent earthquakes in the region and beyond. National representatives and other delegates, from Southwest Pacific nations including Australia and New Zealand, in the areas of engineering, building control and disaster management, were invited to contribute to the workshop. The aim was to build regional awareness and consensus on what are the perceived priorities for improving earthquake resilience in the region over the next 5 years. There were considerations of:

  • Co-operative disaster management strategies;
  • Seismological studies;
  • Tsunami mitigation systems;
  • Earthquake engineering guidelines;
  • Joint codes and standards;
  • Education;
  • Continuing professional development;
  • Building control systems development.

The workshop ended with the drafting of a joint statement for vote and signing by the official national representatives endorsing the initiatives proceeding from the workshop. Six initiatives were agreed as regional priorities:

  1. Setting up of inter-connected local earthquake monitoring networks in each nation.
  2. Hazard mapping using a consistent methodology.
  3. South Pacific Standards Forum to develop consistent earthquake related standards based on AS/NZS documents.
  4. Legislative framework development for earthquake response.
  5. Development of appropriate urban planning and culturally appropriate disaster response guidelines.
  6. Capacity building of regional seismologists, engineers and infrastructure managers.

For more information on the Southwest Pacific Earthquake Resilience Workshop and the initiatives arising from it, please contact: clark@fatigueandfracture.com

The Report on the workshop with a list of actions is available here -  SWPER_Wkshop_Report 20111010