MINDSHIFT TALENT ADVISORY – “Implementation of a tsunami warning and alert system in the Tagus estuary”



DATE OF THE DEBATE: 02/12/2021

LOCATION OF THE DEBATE: Tellheiras (Lisbon)





In Portugal, this debate had the objectives of constituting the inner circle of participants who will participate in the monitoring activities. Aside from this, the objective was to make a general presentation of the Civic Monitoring project, to present and discuss general issues about the national project selected for monitoring. This first session was attended by 13 participants, three of which were members of the organising entity, and the remaining participants are divided between the type of participants who will be part of the inner circle and informal assistants.

The first part of the debate was reserved for the presentation of the CIVIC MONITORING project, including its associated funding programme, the main objectives, the partnership involved, the schedule of activities and the main results, as well as the associated civic monitoring methodology that will be transferred. A particular attention was paid to this last part with the aim of equipping the inner circle participants with the essential tools for the next phases of monitoring work.

The second part of the debate was dedicated to the presentation of the project “Implementation of a tsunami warning and alert system in the Tagus estuary”. This project, which began on 06-04-2018 and ended at 30-04-2021, was funded by the Operational Programme Sustainability and Efficiency in the Use of Resources (PO SEUR), integrated into the Portugal 2020 Strategy (Cohesion Fund). The promoter was the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon (AML) with two main partners: the municipalities of Lisbon and Cascais. The aim of this pilot project was to develop a tsunami warning alert system, based on a set of actions to strengthen the national warning system, and the development of a warning system for the population, focusing on effective communication systems and awareness-raising and/or education of the population, modernising the response capacity of the local civil protection services.

After the presentation of the project, the debate session was opened to discuss the different information aspects of this tsunami warning project for the municipalities of Lisbon and Cascais. It was possible to verify that the formal part of the project has already been approved by the funding mechanism and that the operational part is ready and running, namely the warning sirens and interactive boards with interactive information.

Among the more general themes of the project, the one which dominated the discussion was related to issues related to the dissemination and communication of the project. Most of the participants, although residing in the area of the municipalities covered, said that they were unaware of the project and had no information about a project that they consider to be quite important as it is related to the prevention against natural disasters that can severely affect the lives of populations. Some of those present had already been through the different systems and structures, but never really understood their utility.

From the result of the discussion, we list the main questions raised by the participants. These will serve as a basis for the next phase of monitoring process:

– Did this project have monitoring/participation/engagement of the target population? 

– Where does this stand, i.e. how is the population being informed about this project?

– How does one reach out to the citizens in the implementation of such a type of project?

– If this project is intended to protect people, how should the project have been explained and communicated?

– Which citizens or groups of citizens were mobilised during the implementation of the project?

– What will remain of this project after its implementation? What are its main outcomes? How will it be monitored? How will the sustainability of this project be guaranteed?