The 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami will occur on 26th December 2014. The disaster resulted in the loss of over 230,000 lives including over 2,500 foreign tourists, and the displacement of over 1.6 million people around the Indian Ocean, with economic losses of about $14 billion. Following the disaster, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO was given the mandate to develop and implement an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS). An Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) for the IOTWS was established by the IOC Assembly in July 2005 (Resolution IOC-XXIII-12). Further mandates were given to IOC UNESCO by the UN General Assembly through Resolutions 61/132 and 62/91. After 8 years of international collaboration and development, facilitated and coordinated by IOC UNESCO, the IOTWS became fully operational on 31st March 2013 with Regional Tsunami Service Providers (RTSPs) established by Australia, India and Indonesia.
The 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami provides an opportunity to organise a high level policy conference to recognise the achievements of the last 10 years, to highlight work that still needs to be done, and to seek re-commitment to continued investment in the IOTWS. The conference will offer high level perspectives and panel discussions from decision makers and scientists. It is expected that the conference will provide input to the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (14-18 March 2015, Sendai, Japan). Finally there will be a formal launch of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre (IOTIC).