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FEMA Administrator Attends COP28 for the First Time in FEMA’s History, Announces 2024 as ‘Year of Resilience’ for the Agency

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Release Date:
December 7, 2023

WASHINGTON -- FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell heralded 2024 as the agency’s “Year of Resilience” at the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This is the first time a FEMA Administrator has attended COP, demonstrating the agency’s commitment to climate mitigation and adaptation, and collaborating with the international community to combat the effects of climate change. 

“We are already feeling the influence of climate change on a global scale as severe weather becomes stronger and more frequent,” said Administrator Criswell. “FEMA is typically recognized as a response and recovery agency, but now more than ever, we are a resilience agency.  FEMA’s Year of Resilience is an opportunity to share best resilience practices, advance new innovative ideas and protect even more Americans against disasters. This was my first COP and I was excited to make new connections as well as strengthen existing partnerships with international colleagues. I’m looking forward to bringing the best practices we’ve learned back to the American people.”

While at COP28, Administrator Criswell had the privilege of meeting with UAE Civil Defense Commander in Chief His Excellency Major General Jassim Mohammed AlMarzouqi to discuss civil defense approaches in the UAE, the importance of readiness for complex crises and training standards for the emergency management workforce. 

During her visit to the UAE, Administrator Criswell was also graciously welcomed by Deputy Director of Dubai Civil Defense and Deputy Commander of UAE Civil Defense His Excellency Major General Jamal bin Aded Al Muhairi. Administrator Criswell toured the UAE Civil Defense facilities and exchanged experiences on crisis management, including the importance of innovation and technology in support of management.

COP28 was a crucial opportunity for Administrator Criswell and FEMA leadership to meet with other global leaders championing climate resilience and adaptation. She also had the distinct honor of meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy Alexandra Sdoukou in a high-level dialogue about shared priorities, including preparing for, responding to and recovering from frequent and severe disasters including wildfires. Other meetings included bilateral engagements with the World Meteorological Organization, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Japan and Chile among others. 

The FEMA delegation also attended the historic establishment of the Mediterranean Climate Action Partnership (MCAP), an initiative bringing together government leaders representing Africa, Australia, Europe and North and South America to increase collaboration, knowledge-exchange and support among regions around the world with a Mediterranean climate experiencing drastic climate impacts.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell (middle left) meets with UAE Civil Defense Commander in Chief His Excellency Major General Jassim Mohammed AlMarzouqi (middle right) and colleagues to discuss new frameworks for civil protection and readiness for complex crises. (UAE Civil Defense Photo)
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell (middle left) meets with UAE Civil Defense Commander in Chief His Excellency Major General Jassim Mohammed AlMarzouqi (middle right) and colleagues to discuss new frameworks for civil protection and readiness for complex crises. (UAE Civil Defense Photo)
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell (middle left) meets with UAE Civil Defense Commander in Chief His Excellency Major General Jassim Mohammed AlMarzouqi (middle right) and colleagues to discuss new frameworks for civil protection and readiness for complex crises. (UAE Civil Defense Photo)
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell (middle left) meets with UAE Civil Defense Commander in Chief His Excellency Major General Jassim Mohammed AlMarzouqi (middle right) and colleagues to discuss new frameworks for civil protection and readiness for complex crises. (UAE Civil Defense Photo)
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (right) and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell (left) discuss the importance of resiliency in the face of worsening disasters during their brief meeting at COP28. (Dimitris Papamitsos, Official photographer to the Greek Prime Minister)
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (right) and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell (left) discuss the importance of resiliency in the face of worsening disasters during their brief meeting at COP28. (Dimitris Papamitsos, Official photographer to the Greek Prime Minister)
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell (middle left) and Deputy Director of Dubai Civil Defense and Deputy Commander of UAE Civil Defense His Excellency Major General Jamal bin Aded Al Muhairi (middle right) met with staff to discuss disaster resilience and shared COP28 goals. (UAE Civil Defense Photo)
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell (middle left) and Deputy Director of Dubai Civil Defense and Deputy Commander of UAE Civil Defense His Excellency Major General Jamal bin Aded Al Muhairi (middle right) met with staff to discuss disaster resilience and shared COP28 goals. (UAE Civil Defense Photo)
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell (middle left) and Deputy Director of Dubai Civil Defense and Deputy Commander of UAE Civil Defense His Excellency Major General Jamal bin Aded Al Muhairi (middle right) met with staff to discuss disaster resilience and shared COP28 goals. (UAE Civil Defense Photo)
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell (middle left) and Deputy Director of Dubai Civil Defense and Deputy Commander of UAE Civil Defense His Excellency Major General Jamal bin Aded Al Muhairi (middle right) met with staff to discuss disaster resilience and shared COP28 goals. (UAE Civil Defense Photo)
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