WSSI is a non-profit, non-governmental venture to promote the spirit and goals of IDNDR and to act as a catalyst in helping nations improve their earthquake risk management strategies.
The original concept of International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) was proposed in 1984 by Dr. Frank Press, then President of US Academy of Sciences, during the Opening Ceremony of the 8th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering (WCEE) held in San Francisco in 1984. This idea evolved into the UN resolution in 1987 and the Decade program started on January 1, 1900.
International Association for Earthquake Engineering (IAEE), the definitive academic organization in the field of earthquake engineering, has been feeling moral responsibility to take an active role in implementing the goals of IDNDR. In Madrid in 1992, IAEE made an important decision to be more strongly involved with IDNDR by creating World Seismic Safety Initiative (WSSI) as an IAEE's undertaking. An interim Committee of seven members was first established with T. Katayama (Secretary General of IAEE) and Haresh C. Shah (Stanford University) as cochairmen.
World Seismic Safety Initiative (WSSI) was established in 1992 as an undertaking of the International Association for Earthquake Engineering.
WSSI was approved by Scientific and Technical Committees of IDNDR as an International and Regional IDNDR Project, January 1993. "A Time for Action: World Seismic Safety Initiative" was prepared for the 10th WCEE in Madrid in July 1992. The concept of the World Seismic Safety Initiative was discussed in Madrid during one of the Special Theme Sessions and it was unanimously agreed for the IAEE to proceed along the guidelines described in the document. This was endorsed by the IAEE Executive Committee and the General Assembly of Delegates adopted resolutions in which the establishment of the WSSI was clearly mentioned.
To perform such duties as required to establish the WSSI until the members of the Board of Directors are appointed, the WSSI Interim Organizing Committee (WIOC) was formed. The committee constituted included, as of February 1993:
G. Grandori (Italy)
G.W. Housner (USA)
W.D. Iwan (USA)
T. Katayama (Cochairman; Japan, Secretary General, IAEE)
R. Meli (Mexico)
H.C. Shah (Cochairman; USA)
C.C. Thiel (USA)
K. Toki (Japan)
The philosophy of WSSI is not to embark upon unrealistic and unmanageable projects but to work on well defined regional projects that included experts who are dedicated to the ideals of IDNDR and to the goals of WSSI. Self help is the foundation on which WSSI builds its programs. The organization must keep its focus on increasing awareness and helping people protect their lives and property due to future earthquakes. It is obvious that current knowledge that could save lives and property is not getting to where it is most needed and where it could do the most good. WSSI's promise to everyone is that it will bring this need to focus and will do what it can within its available resources to help communities around the world to understand their risk reductions options. WSSI will need everyone's help in achieving this modest goal.