The agreement between United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding the establishment of the Regional Education and Research Center on Earthquake Risk Management and Resilience for West and Central Asia at the International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (IIEES), Tehran; as a Category 2 Center under the auspices of UNESCO focused on Disaster Risk Mitigation and Management, was signed in a meeting on February 16, 2021 by Dr. Gholami, the Minister of Science, Research and Technology. The agreement was already signed by Dr. Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was not possible to make a ceremony for signing the agreement. However, to sign the agreement, Dr. Jafari, the IIEES President, and Dr. Ayoubi, the Secretary-General of the National Commission of UNESCO from Iran attended in-person and Dr. Miguel CLÜSENER-GODT, Director of the Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences, UNESCO participated virtually.
At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Ayoubi explained briefly about the activities carried out in the last 5 years for obtaining the center approval stating that this agreement was approved last year by consensus of all member states in the 40th UNESCO’s General Conference which is indeed an honor for Iran. Then, Dr. Jafari talked about the necessity of establishing such center in Iran which can provide opportunities to share the experiences and capacities of the country in disaster risk reduction throughout the region. Dr. CLÜSENER-GODT also congratulated the establishment of this center and stated that the West and Central Asia is exposed to many disastrous earthquakes and therefore this center can act as a focal point for helping countries in the region with the support of UNESCO. At the end, Dr. Gholami, appreciated all those who contributed in pursuing and establishment of this center and hoped that by its initiation, the opportunity for presence of the country in the region and providing specialized and technical services can be accelerated. This ceremony was ended after signing the agreement by the Minister.
The functions/objectives of the established center will be to:
- Undertake research and development in main fields of earthquake risk mitigation and management to contribute to better understanding of the risk posed by earthquakes.
Support policy elaboration and development for disaster risk mitigation by undertaking activities such as assistance to the Governments in the design of policies mitigating disaster risk and impact – performing (inter alia) activities such as risk reduction, preparedness, post disaster needs assessment, damage surveys, post-disaster reconnaissance missions, assessment of physical, functional and economic losses; assessment of social effects of disasters and planning of measures and activities for disaster response, recovery, re-development and protection of disaster stricken regions.
- Promote education and training to provide transfer of knowledge in the area of earthquake risk management at different levels.
- Support development, implementation and improvement of technical regulations, standards and guidelines in the field of DRR.
- Conduct research and development in advanced methods, techniques and tools for earthquake loss assessment, rapid response, decision support, etc.
- Promote a culture of risk prevention and community awareness through organization of workshops, seminars, drills, debates and other events, as well as through publications.
- Provide services – consultancy, expert studies, technical advices, etc.
- Participate in regional partnerships and networks devoted to the collection and dissemination of relevant information and knowledge on earthquake risk reduction and management.
The center encourages the participation of all Member States and Associate Members of UNESCO which, by their common interest in the objectives of the center, desire to cooperate with the center.