Donor countries and nations affected by the Asian tsunami disaster have agreed the UN should begin work on an early warning system in the Indian Ocean.
Delegates recognise such a system could have saved thousands of lives
UN agencies said they were ready to start work immediately and that a basic system could be ready in 12-18 months.
The agreement came at a conference on disaster prevention in the Japanese city of Kobe.
Meanwhile, Indonesia said it had received pledges of $1.7bn (£900m) in tsunami aid from donors for 2005.
Economic Affairs Minister Aburizal Bakrie told journalists after a meeting of the Consultative Group on Indonesia that $1.2bn was in the form of grants and $500m in the form of soft loans, mostly for the worst-hit Aceh region.
The number of people known to have died in the disaster has now reached 220,000.
The warning system project will be led, in the initial stages, by the UN agency Unesco, with millions of dollars already pledged by Japan, the EU and others.
It is yet to be decided exactly who will contribute what, but a network of high-tech buoys anchored to the ocean floor and linked to a regional communications centre will be needed.
The US, Germany and Australia have already offered their own technology. Japan has agreed to provide some form of cover in the meantime with information from its own sensors.
A BBC correspondent in Kobe, Charles Scanlon, says there is a recognition at the conference that tens of thousands of lives could have been saved if the system had been operational before the 26 December Asian tsunami.
Officials agreed, however, that the biggest challenge would be at the local level - how to communicate warnings of danger to isolated coastal communities.
"Early warning systems will only succeed if the people most at risk who are central to the design of a system are able to receive and act upon the warnings," said Ian Wilderspin, a representative of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
In other developments:
- US says it is scaling down involvement in relief operations, and expected to leave altogether by the end of February
- Red Cross officials says some towns on Sumatra have still not received help
- India unveils a $628m reconstruction package for mainland areas hit by the tsunami
- Sri Lanka's president launches a reconstruction drive worth $3.5bn
- The International Labour Organisation (ILO) says that at least one million people have lost their livelihoods in Sri Lanka and Indonesia alone and calls for action to create jobs.
The known death toll increased dramatically on Wednesday after Indonesian officials announced that more than 166,000 had been confirmed dead in their country alone, more than 50,000 higher than the previous total.
Indonesian health ministry officials said the number soared after health officials declared that thousands previously listed as missing were dead.
The BBC's Rachel Harvey in Aceh says that in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, more than 14% of the population is confirmed dead.
PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING SYSTEM
1. Seismic observatories in the region detect an earthquake and send data to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.
2. If the earthquake is in the Pacific basin and above 7.5 on Richter scale, an initial "Tsunami watch" alert is sent out.
3. Data from monitoring stations deep on the seabed near the earthquake's epicentre is checked for signs of a tsunami.
4. If a tsunami is detected, full warnings are sent out via national systems which have been set up in several countries.