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GEM was triggered in 2006 by the first of three workshops on Earthquake Science organised under the auspices of the OECD Global Science Forum.

In 2007, GEM’s financial feasibility received a critical boost when Munich Re agreed to become its first and main private participant through a 5M Euro contribution for a 5 years period. Further details can be found in this press release.

Four scientists played a particularly relevant role in bringing GEM to fruition:
- Jochen Zschau (GFZ Potsdam)
- Ross Stein (US Geological Survey)
- Domenico Giardini (ETH Zurich)
- Anselm Smolka (Munich Re)

The contribution of the following individuals in the early stages of GEM is also acknowledged: Frederic Sgard (OECD-GSF), Kate Stillwell (UC Berkeley), Conrad Lindholm (NORSAR).


July 2004
At the 11th OECD-GSF Meeting, the German delegation proposed to hold a workshop on “Earthquake Science”

June 2006
The proposed workshop took place in Potsdam, Germany, with a modified title of “Earthquake Science and its Contribution to Society”. From this workshop the need to create a Global Earthquake Risk Scenario Map was identified.

January 2007
A follow-up workshop took place in Gebze, Turkey. The main features and methodology necessary to produce a “Global Earthquake Risk Mapping and Monitoring Programme (GEM)” were defined.

February 2008
Third workshop held in Paris with the objective of finalizing the GEM Business Plan.

June 2008
Strategic planning meeting at Zurich to present GEM to the global professional community

November 2008
The EUCENTRE (Pavia, Italy) was selected by the interim Governing Board  as the GEM Secretariat hosting institution. 

March 2009
The GEM Foundation, a non-profit organisation, was incorporated. With that GEM became a legal entity.