Materials of the International Conference
50th Anniversary of the International Geophysical Year
and Electronic Geophysical Year

16-19 September 2007 • Suzdal, Russia

European projects on mitigation of damage of earthquakes

Jean Bonnin

Institute of Physics of the Earth and EDNES, Strasbourg, Franc


By no way is this presentation to be taken as an authorized account of the European Commission actions in the field of earthquake damage mitigation. It is only a glance at what the author knows about these actions, which are many and very much varied. On the political and governance side, one should quote the European organizations which group the national institutions in charge of civil protection; this is a sort of club as the field remains essentially under the responsibility of each individual government (principle of "subsidiarity"); indeed, in a majority of countries, it falls under the control of (or is very close to) the Ministry of Interior Affairs. Yet, a minimum of coordination/cooperation is useful at the European Union's level (like a unique dial number for all emergency services). The "European Commission's Humanitarian Organization [ECHO]" is directly attached to the Presidency of the European Commission. It has competence on practical humanitarian issues, including the outcomes of natural disasters (among them: earthquakes) with significant impact on human beings. It is thus responsible, among other things, for monitoring large earthquake activity and to bringing affordable help to populations and regions stricken by a damaging event. Most of the background studies supported by the European Commission in matters of natural disasters (including earthquakes) are conducted within the "EC Framework Programme" (presently FP7), with eventually the help of the European Commission "Joint Research Centre [JRC]", located mainly in Ispra (Va, Italy). Two "priorities" within the EC Framework Programme are directly concerned with natural disaster impact issues: the "Research and Development Department" and the "Information Society and Media Department." Background research and development activities are conducted under the former (example: "Safer" project). Because new technologies of information and communication [NTIC] play a major role in the domain of risk mitigation, the latter is of utmost importance. In addition, risk management is more and more calling upon space techniques (Earth's observation, satellite-based telecommunication systems, etc.): actions of the European Commission in the field of risk mitigation are many to be channeled through the "Global Monitoring of Environment and Security [GMES]" initiative, a joint endeavour of the European Commission and of the "European Space Agency [ESA]."

Citation: Jean Bonnin (2007), European projects on mitigation of damage of earthquakes, in: Materials of the International Conference '50th Anniversary of the International Geophysical Year and Electronic Geophysical Year', GC RAS, Moscow, doi:10.2205/2007-IGY50conf.

© 2007 Geophysical Center RAS and authors