Workshop on School Earthquake Safety Review

ECO Secretariat, Tehran, 11 June 2006


Press Release



            Since the 16th ECO Regional Planning Council (RPC) Meeting held on January 30- February 2, 2006 approved the proposal of the Republic of Turkey to hold the Workshop on “ECO School Earthquake Safety Review” in 2006, the said Workshop was held on 1-2 June 2006 in Istanbul hosted by the Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Turkey and in cooperation with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Geo-Hazards International (GHI).    


Delegates from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Republic of Turkey (being the host) and Republic of Uzbekistan attended the Meeting. Delegates from the ECO Secretariat, OECD and GHI and some other non-ECO participants including Turkish Cypriot State, Kosovo and Republic of Macedonia also attended the workshop.     


The objectives of the Workshop were as follows:

  • To help evaluate the risk to life and property and the development and application of safety standards and construction codes for schools in the ECO region against earthquakes,

  • To identify and describe the scope for national action on earthquake safety in schools,

  • To develop a programme or system to provide guidance, technical expertise, support and resources for ECO countries on school safety.


H.E. Hüseyin Çelik, Minister of National Education of the Republic of Turkey inaugurated the Workshop. He stated that ECO Region is located in a seismetic line. While giving example of the earthquakes occurring in the ECO countries such as 1990 in Istanbul and last damaging one in Pakistan, he explained the activities of Republic of Turkey with regard to making school safe against earthquake, especially in some projects being sponsored by international organizations, i.e. World Bank and OECD. He emphasized that however, earthquake as a natural disaster can not be predicted and prevented, but we can minimize the impacts. Since all of ECO Member States are facing the same risk like Turkey, we can cooperate in the framework of ECO. As a concrete step, he proposed to establish a technical committee to share our experiences with ECO Member States.   


Before his opening statement, Mr. Richard Yelland, Head of the Programme on Educational Building (PEB) at OECD and Mr. Muzaffer Alacaogullari, Director, Human Resources and Sustainable Development, ECO Secretariat made welcoming remarks in turn.


After the opening session, the workshop proceeded in the following four sessions, each one carried out by a group of experienced panelists for the theme on the table. Each session was followed by question and answer and a roundup by chair of the panel:   


1st Session: Identifying the problem: Assessing the vulnerability and risks to schools 

2nd Session: Addressing the problem: Improving school earthquake safety

3rd Session: The way forward: Developing strategies and programmes for school earthquake safety    

4th Session: Seismicity of the region and the strengthening of the school buildings


During the workshop the participants exchanged the experiences/activities on school earthquake safety.


Recognizing the high level of seismic hazard of the ECO countries and collapse of many schools buildings in the past earthquakes in the region for example 8 October 2005 Pakistan earthquake, etc, and as the conclusion the workshop participants strongly recommended the organization of 2nd Workshop on “ECO School Earthquake Safety” with the objective of developing a “Plan of Action for Improving School Earthquake Safety”, and forming a “High Level Expert Group on School Earthquake Safety” under ECO.


The summary record of the workshop and its annexes are available on the member area section of website.    


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