Goals & Guiding Principles


The International Volcano Monitoring Fund has four primary goals:

  1. to provide geophysical and geochemical instrumentation to scientists, engineers, and technicians in developing countries in support of efforts to monitor the activity levels and environmental impacts of potentially dangerous volcanoes.
  2. to train scientists, engineers, and technicians in developing countries in the operation and maintenance of instrumentation used to monitor potentially dangerous volcanoes.
  3. to educate the public in developing countries about the environmental hazards associated with volcanic activity and the need to continuously monitor potentially dangerous volcanoes.
  4. to develop novel volcano monitoring methods by conducting scientific research on volcanoes.

Guiding Principles

In working to achieve our mission and objectives, we follow fourteen guiding principles:

  1. All people have the right to live, work, learn, and play in a safe and healthy environment without fear of volcanic eruptions.
  2. All people have the right to know about past eruptions from nearby volcanoes, the potential for future eruptions, and what might happen during a future eruption.
  3. All potentially active volcanoes should be adequately monitored with modern scientific equipment irrespective of the country in which they are located.
  4. Volcano monitoring networks must be established long before an eruption or period of activity begins.
  5. Volcano monitoring programs are useful only if:
    1. the monitoring network is adequately operated and maintained
    2. the retrieved data is properly interpreted in a timely manner
    3. the volcano monitoring data is effectively communicated to public safety officials
    4. public safety officials act on this information in a responsible and timely fashion.
  6. Lack of funding is the primary problem for volcano monitoring in developing countries; sufficient personnel, brainpower, and desire already exist in these countries.
  7. It is better to prevent volcanic disasters through appropriate volcano monitoring, public education, and eruption preparedness than to passively accept volcanic eruptions as “Acts of Nature.”
  8. It is simply unacceptable to forgo an adequate volcano monitoring program, wait for an eruption to occur, risk a volcanic disaster, and then focus on post-eruption cleanup and reconstruction.
  9. Government officials must fulfill their legal and moral obligations to protect the public from the threats to life and property that arise from volcanic eruptions.
  10. The achievement of adequate monitoring programs at all of the world’s potentially active volcanoes will be hard-won and require long-term commitments of time, energy, and resources.
  11. Some volcanic eruptions are low frequency, high consequence events and these require the greatest degree of vigilance.
  12. Request-driven response: projects will be developed through consultation with the countries and their own proposals to address needs.
  13. Involve all levels of government from the top levels to the local level.
  14. Use existing infrastructure and expertise and build capacity where needed