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FEMA Advances Global Climate Resilience Through a Series of Agency Firsts

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Release Date:
December 28, 2023

WASHINGTON -- In 2023, FEMA led crucial engagements to strengthen readiness and adaptation within the global crisis management community. FEMA’s landmark year of international cooperation was capped by FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell being the first FEMA Administrator to attend the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP28). 

COP28 provided an important forum for Administrator Criswell to solidify partnerships with the international community in climate mitigation and adaptation. The FEMA delegation identified concrete areas for collaboration with strategic international partners in the face of increasing climate impacts. Shared priorities for the next year include readiness for complex crises, training standards for the emergency management workforce and supporting global coverage of early warning systems.

“The need for more resilient communities is not unique to the United States -- it’s something everyone around the world needs to think about,” said Administrator Criswell. “Engaging with our international partners helps us share best practices, learn new techniques and stay in lockstep with our allies and friends as we build the resilient nations the world needs and deserves.”

In another first for FEMA, the Administrator met with Greece’s Prime Minister Mitsotakis and Australia’s Prime Minister Albanese as proof of the urgent action needed to address climate-driven disasters at a global scale. 

For the first time in FEMA history, the agency led a multilateral engagement as part of the United States Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) host year. On Aug. 2, Administrator Criswell chaired the 16th APEC Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum in Seattle welcoming disaster management leadership from 15 APEC economies, the public and private sectors, academia and non-profit organizations. During a Leaders’ Roundtable on adaptive crisis management, APEC members discussed how they are incorporating the principles of adaptability and flexibility to confront an increasingly complex disaster landscape. The meeting concluded with a high-level policy discussion featuring global women leaders exchanging their experiences in crisis management. On Aug. 3, FEMA led a Resilient Community Site Visit, which featured state, local and private sector partner participation.

In yet another milestone, Administrator Criswell delivered the U.S. address at the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on the Midterm Review of the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. Convened on May 18-19 by the President of the United Nations, Administrator Criswell highlighted the United States Sendai implementation and commitment to work with the United Nations and member nations to accelerate progress toward safer and more resilient communities. Administrator Criswell’s participation is part of FEMA’s ongoing commitment to domestic and international disaster risk reduction.

Throughout 2023, FEMA advanced global climate resiliency through new forums and partnerships that strengthen emergency management in an interconnected world. Under Administrator Criswell’s leadership, FEMA strengthened emergency management cooperation internationally, increased information sharing and improved emergency readiness and response capabilities in the United States and worldwide. 

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SEATTLE -- FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell (far left) moderates a panel with women leaders in crisis management to identify ways in which APEC economies can expand equity in crisis management organizations. (FEMA photo)
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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)
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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Headquarters.  He is greeted by Deputy Administrator Erik Hooks. 

 
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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Headquarters.  He toured the building with Deputy Administrator Erik Hooks and Operations Division Director Jeremy Greenberg.
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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Headquarters.  FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell gave virtual opening remarks expressing appreciation for the strong, mutually beneficial partnership.
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