CELE is continuing its collaboration on school earthquake safety with the Economic Cooperation Organization, an intergovernmental regional organisation based in Tehran.
The 8 October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan resulted in the deaths of over 17 000 children and nearly 900 teachers; 8 000 schools were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair. The issue of ensuring the safety of schools and its occupants has become a priority for the Economic Co-operation Organization – an intergovernmental regional organisation composed of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Many of the 400 million inhabitants in the ECO region live in moderate to very high earthquake hazard areas.
Following an international workshop in Turkey in June 2006 – co-hosted by ECO and the Ministry of National Education in Turkey, with the support of CELE and GeoHazards International (GHI) – that described the ECO region’s school earthquake risk and mitigation options, OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurría and former ECO Secretary General, Khurshid Anwar, have been exchanging letters expressing a keen interest in further collaboration and concrete activities in this area.
In December 2009, the Deputy Secretary Generals of OECD and ECO, CELE and GHI met to discuss a collaborative activity on improving school earthquake safety in the ECO region. During the meeting, a draft proposal and budget for a two-year activity was finalised. The activity will be launched in the near future, pending confirmation of funding.
Left to right: Brian TUCKER, President, GeoHazards International;
Ambassador Hassan TAHERIAN, Iran,
Deputy Secretary General, ECO;
Ian WHITMAN, Head of Programme for Non-Member Economies, OECD Directorate for Education;
Hannah VON AHLEFELD, Analyst, OECD/CELE;
Aart Jan DE GEUS, OECD Deputy Secretary-General;
Sefat Taheri SHEMIRANI, Advisor, Disaster Risk Reduction Issues, ECO.