United Nations University

The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations (UN). It bridges the academic world and the UN system. Its goal is to develop sustainable solutions for current and future problems of humankind in all aspects of life. Through a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approach it aims at applied research and education on a global scale. UNU was founded in 1973 and is an autonomous organ of the UN General Assembly. The University comprises headquarters Tokyo, Japan, and more than a dozen Institutes and Programmes worldwide.


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The Sumatra earthquake of December 2004 was the second largest earthquake ever recorded by nstruments. The earthquake coda travelled around the world. After 12 minutes, it reached Potsdam and was automatically recorded and analysed. At this point in time, the first tsunami waves had not yet washed up the shores of Sumatra.


There was no possibility to pass the warning on to the population in time. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF ) commissioned the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centres directly after the disaster with developing a tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean, which can later be extended to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. The system integrates terrestrial observation networks of seismology and geodesy with marine measuring processes and satellite observation. Germany cooperates with Indonesia, which is the area most heavily threatened by earthquakes in the Indian Ocean, because of its proximity to the seismically active Sunda trench. The Joint Declaration of BMBF and RISTEK, the Indonesian research ministry,which was signed on 14 March 2005, is the basis for this cooperation. Besides the early warning system, it also contains the provision of capacity building for Indonesian institutions. The integration of the German-Indonesian contribution and the contributions of further countries into an overall system for the Indian Ocean is coordinated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO .

Time Span

 March 2005- September 2010

Latest News

  1. UNU-EHS Organises a Seminar for GI-TEWS PhD Candidates

    In March 2008 UNU-EHS organized and hosted a three-day seminar for PhD candidates within the GITEWS project. The overall goal of the PhD seminar was to provide a forum for research exchange. |Read more

  2. UNU-EHS welcomes 2nd Indonesian Scientist within the GITEWS PostDoc Programme

    UNU-EHS is very happy to welcome Ms Tiodora Siagian from Indonesia on board the GITEWS Postdoc Programme. Siagian is the second scholar within the GITEWS project. She comes from the Indonesian Bureau of Statistics (Badan Pusat Statistik, BPS), located in Jakarta and is joining the team of GITEWS project in February and March 2008. At BPS she is head of the Poverty Statistics Section within Social Vulnerability Statistics Division. |Read more


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