International agreement: agreement between the United States and other nations on the exchange of federal assets in case of emergency. Local mutual assistance agreement: neighbouring jurisdictions or organisations that include a formal request for assistance and generally cover a wider geographical area than automatic mutual assistance. As a general rule, even if authorized and enforced by law, mutual assistance agreements will not be fully effective unless the necessary follow-up measures are taken to ensure that the agreements serve their purpose. States must cooperate and coordinate with other relevant legal systems through table exercises and other planning and enforcement measures to ensure that mutual assistance agreements deliver on their promises as effective instruments of preparedness and response to public health. The designated emergency manager usually establishes mutual assistance agreements. However, the incident commander, in coordination with a liaison officer, must be fully aware of the respective agreements and roles the organization will play during a response. Intergovernmental agreement: non-state support through formal agreements between states such as the Emergency Management Assistance Pact or other formal agreements between states that support response efforts. The U.S. Constitution provides that “no state without congressional approval… To make an agreement or a pact with another state or with a foreign power.
(Table 3▶).18 This provision clearly impairs the legal capacity of states to enter into mutual assistance agreements with each other or with Mexican states or Canadian provinces. An obvious method of compliance is the creation of cooperation agreements that would not constitute “agreements or pacts” within the meaning of the constitutional prohibition. If they have powers under their own laws, states are free to enter into “non-binding” agreements beyond their borders. The guidelines for coordination between the United States and Mexico on epidemiological events of common interest are not binding and serve as an example for this type of approach.19 Non-binding agreements can be useful to states, especially when they are interested in the exchange of information. It may be advisable to identify and review other cross-border government and local agreements that currently exist, some of which contain formal written documents. Fire protection agreements can be particularly instructive. The Great Lakes Forest Fire Protection Agreement, signed in 1989 by natural resource officials from Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario and Wisconsin, and the Northwest Wildland Fire Agreement passed by Congress on November 12, 1998 (Table 2▶). The agreement contains provisions that appear to bind states in terms of liability, compensation and reimbursement. Many other cross-border cooperation relationships are based on informal handshake agreements. In particular, along the U.S.-Mexico border, some of these agreements deal with public health issues. However, it is not known whether a legal analysis was conducted prior to the formation of these agreements.
A. are mandatory in the budgets of the emergency administration of states and counties. B. is limited to the exchange of resources between neighbouring countries. C. bases its aid on the corresponding monetary value of common resources. D. support agencies and jurisdictions when available resources are insufficient. Intergovernmental cooperation is made possible and facilitated by the objective of provisional national preparedness set out under Directive 8 on internal security, which sets as a national priority broader regional cooperation through mutual assistance agreements (Table 1▶).