The International Decade on Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR; 1990-1999) stressed the urgent need for related know-how and technology transfer to developing countries (DC's). High-level training of nationals from disaster-stricken DC's was identified as one of the indispensable components for developing strategies of sustainable development. It should aim at building local expertise in efficient monitoring and early warning of natural phenomena with disaster potential as well as improved hazard assessment, risk mitigation, and disaster management.

Long before the IDNDR was ushered in, UNESCO had already invited its member states to provide international training opportunities under its Earth Science program. In 1962...

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