The goal of the International Affairs program is to strengthen the agency through engagement with the international emergency management community. Binational and multinational collaborations allow for the exchange of best practices and lessons learned. Taking direction from the FEMA Strategic Plan, DHS International Strategic Framework, the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) Report, Executive Order 12656, and the Stafford Act, FEMA engages in a variety of activities on the global stage.
Programs and Services:
Domestic disaster response:
International Assistance System
FEMA and the Department of State partner in managing all offers of assistance to the U.S. from foreign governments or non-governmental organizations (NGOs)following a major disaster in the U.S. While the USG is appreciative of these offers of assistance, the most effective way to support survivors of a disaster is a cash donation to an NGO.
Domestic Disaster preparedness:
National Level Exercises
International participation in the USG’s national level exercises broadens the scope of objectives to be achieved, and provides the opportunity for binational dialogue in the area of exercise design and implementation.
Millions of resident and visiting foreign nationals are served by timely and appropriate information on disaster preparedness. The Roundtables allow FEMA and its partners from local and state emergency management, and voluntary agencies, to explain how the Embassies and Consulates around the nation can serve as critical nodes for disseminating vital information to either residents or visitors from their countries.
international emergency management capacity building:
Under Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), Cooperation (MOC), or other formal agreements FEMA works directly with specific countries to enhance emergency management through dialogue, and collaboration. Specific work plans are developed to drive engagement toward specific goals and objectives. Countries that FEMA works with under these Memoranda and agreements are:
Under Presidential Directive, FEMA supports the Civil Emergency Preparedness program at NATO, enhancing the Alliance’s capacity to respond to emergencies. Under an Administrative Agreement with the European Union (EU) to enhance disaster reliance and reduce disaster risk. FEMA supports the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Emergency Preparedness Working group to support disaster readiness in an area highly susceptible to disasters.
International Lessons Learned/Best Practices:
FEMA's International Affairs Division (IAD) periodically distributes an e-newsletter to highlight some of the international activities accomplished and any lessons learned/best practices.
International Lessons Learned Workshop
FEMA/IAD conducts an annual workshop with some of its international partners to explore specific topics related to emergency managment capacity building. Previous workshops have looked at how countries have changed policies and procedures following major events, as well as what barriers exist to countries exchanging emergency first responders following major events.
Enhancing Global emergency management capabilities:
FEMA routinely hosts hundreds of visitors from foreign governments and organizations, allowing for on-going exchanges from global perspectives on evolving trends in emergency management.
FEMA is often asked to support other countries through technical exchanges, support to conferences, exercises and training events, all targeted at building global emergency management capabilities.