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15 Years of GEM: Transforming the Latest Science into Action for a Safer World


Mar 27, 2024

Mar 9, 2024

March 9, 2024. Pavia, Italy.

"Fifteen years ago, the GEM Foundation embarked on a visionary journey – to equip communities worldwide with the knowledge and tools needed to understand and reduce earthquake risks, building a safer future. We would like to express deep gratitude to our past leaders, remarkable team, local partners, and supporters for working together with us on the assessment of global seismic risk. Pioneering open-source tools and fostering global collaboration, we have supported communities around the world in making informed decisions and building earthquake resilience." - Helen Crowley, GEM Secretary General.

Building a Foundation for Global Resilience

Since its inception in 2009, the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation has been at the forefront of seismic risk reduction efforts worldwide. With a mission to enhance understanding and resilience against earthquakes and other natural hazards, GEM has catalysed transformative change through its collaborative approach and innovative solutions.

In the coming years, the organisation further plans to expand its focus to include secondary hazards often triggered by earthquakes, such as liquefaction and landslides, and to work closely with neighbouring communities including the Global Tsunami Model. These advances demonstrate GEM's commitment to increasing global resilience to natural hazards through continuous scientific improvements and collaborations.

A GEM Timeline! #GEM15: 15 Years of Advancing Earthquake Resilience!

Messages from present and past leaders

The development of the ‘Global Earthquake Model’, a comprehensive collaborative framework for assessing earthquake hazard and risk, has led to the mosaic of global seismic hazard and risk models, providing stakeholders with a standardised approach to evaluate earthquake risks at a global scale.

This collaborative approach, bringing together a diverse array of stakeholders, including scientists, engineers, decision-makers, and communities, has promoted a culture of open collaboration and knowledge sharing. 

This has led to the development of ground-breaking open-source tools, such as the OpenQuake Engine, and open data, such as the Global Seismic Hazard and Risk Maps, empowering stakeholders with the resources needed to assess and mitigate earthquake risk effectively.

Strengthening Communities Through Strategic Initiatives

From regional and national hazard and risk assessments in South America, Central America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast and East Asia, the Pacific and Oceania, to capacity-building workshops reaching over 1,500 participants worldwide, GEM has played a crucial role in equipping communities and decision-makers with the knowledge and tools necessary for effective earthquake risk assessment and mitigation.

This dedication is further recognised by Ms. Paola Albrito, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Director of UNDRR, who stated, “We congratulate GEM on its 15th anniversary and thank it for its pioneering work in helping countries understand and act on the risk of earthquakes.” UNDRR Preventionweb recently collaborated to promote over 200 GEM country seismic risk profiles on Preventionweb portal. (see related article here)

Towards a Safer Tomorrow: GEM's Ongoing Initiatives and Innovations

As GEM looks towards the future, it remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing and applying the science of seismic risk reduction (watch: GEM's Vision for a Resilient Future: Insights from Helen Crowley), addressing emerging issues ranging from rapid urbanisation to the optimal use of Artificial Intelligence, through continued collaboration, innovation, and capacity building initiatives. GEM seeks to equip communities to build a safer and more resilient future, prioritising inclusivity and accessibility to ensure its resources reach those who need them most, especially in vulnerable regions.

Here's to the next 15 years and beyond, as we strive towards a safer, more resilient world, together. Join us in building a safer future.

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