St. Kitts & Nevis to become Member of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

The official notification was signed by the country’s Minister of Education, Nigel Carty and dispatched to UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, and the assistant Director General responsible for the IOC, Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright.

The documents were delivered on 27th June, 2011, at the UNESCO HQ in Paris, by the Federation’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Dr David P. Doyle. He noted that “by integrating St. Kitts-Nevis into the IOC framework we gain aid and advice from leading policy experts in the reduction of risks from tsunamis, storm surges, and other coastal hazards through the development and implementation of adaptation measures to strengthen the robustness of the highly vulnerable coastal communities, the associated infrastructure and the ecosystems”.

St. Kitts and Nevis has therefore signalled that it intends to join the ranks of some 140 countries worldwide that are members of the IOC.

The Federation’s participation in this climate-change-relevant institution will enable the Government to greatly boost its capacity-building for the improvement, management and protection of the marine environment, and to be involved in the all-important Early Tsunami Warning Systems in the Caribbean region.

According to Mr. Antonio Maynard, Secretary-General of the St. Kitts-Nevis National Commission for UNESCO, “the decision to join the IOC – coming on the heels of a successful ministerial conference in St. Kitts-Nevis last March, on climate-change policy, which recommended intensified IOC coverage of the Caribbean region – will enable us to engage in Sea Level Monitoring and early-warning systems of impending storms, Tsunami and hurricanes”.

IOC has pioneered high-tech systems to detect changes on climate patterns through Tide Gauges, which confirm tsunami heights, arrival times at coastal locations, and validate tsunami inundation models. Additional techniques are also available such as DART Buoys that confirm tsunamis and real time forecasting of tsunamis, as well as access to geophysical instrumentation, GPS, hydro acoustic sensors.

Over time, St. Kitts-Nevis will become a member of the Intergovernmental Coordinating Group for the Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG CARIBE EWS).


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