Opinion
Posted: 9 months ago

“Young Barristers” – No State Agency has Information About Earthquakes

The organization “Young Barristers” has released a statement regarding the problems with access to seismic information and safety in Georgia, stating, that no state agency has information about earthquakes.

The Georgian government doesn’t have a unified vision and national strategy on seismic safety and, instead of publicity and transparency, Georgia chooses to monopolize the field, for example, no information is available on complete and accurate earthquake statistics, no government agency has knowledge in natural disasters, making the country and its people completely unprepared and vulnerable, regarding to public defense matters.

According to the "Young Barristers", the interest in studying the issue is conditioned by N. The Nodia Institute of Geophysics's Seismology, Seismic Hazard and Disaster Risk Sector’s statement to the organization addressing the issue of access to the country's seismic data. The issue concerns the seismic data of the country, which is owned and developed by Ilia State University, the Institute of Earth Sciences, and the National Center for Seismic Monitoring. It turns out that the institution refuses to make seismic data available to the Institute of Geophysics, and it is clarified that scientists obtain this data from international databases, which contain hardly any data for the territory of Georgia above magnitude 3. Therefore, the organization got interested in studying the issue and requested information from various agencies on whether the state has a national seismic safety strategy and a unified vision or not, also, which seismic data is available or open to interested parties, researching in meta-field - whose claims about access to seismic data are fair.

The organization notes out, that there is no regulation in the country, which classifies the earthquake information and/or seismic data as secret information and/or sets a barrier to access to the data in any form. The organization checked the information provided by the N. Nodia Institute of Geophysics, Seismology, Seismic Hazard and Disaster Risk Sector, fully shares the position that earthquake catalogs (including minor magnitude earthquakes) are open in all countries. Any material related to the assessment of natural hazards must be available to all scientists in Georgia. The data relating to earthquakes, hydrology, meteorology are open information and the further development of science is strongly linked to it.

The organization has already addressed the Government of Georgia, the Parliament of Georgia, the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, the Emergency Management Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, the Georgian National Academy of Sciences, Ilia State University Institute of Earth Sciences and the National Seismic Monitoring Center. N. Nodia Institute of Geophysics. Therefore, the organization expresses its readiness to conduct civil advocacy on the issue, including through common courts, if the issue of access to seismic data is not resolved by mutual agreement of the parties and/or without government intervention.