International Affairs

News & Media


The Cal OES International Affairs Office (International Affairs) is the central hub for matters regarding international policy and guidelines, working relationships and special international projects. As the focal point of Cal OES’s engagement with the international emergency management community, International Affairs is primarily responsible for:

  • Annually participating in the Border Governors’ Conference
  • Coordinating and facilitating all foreign delegation visits to the Cal OES headquarters
  • Developing Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) between Cal OES and their international counterparts in order to facilitate the exchange of emergency management best practices
  • Participating in the Chile-California Council
  • Participating in the California-Mexico Border Relations Council
  • Working side-by-side with the Governor’s Office to organize large international events such as the Trade Missions to China and Mexico

​For any inquiries or questions, please contact:

Assistant Director, Helen Lopez
Office: (916) 845-8534


​Border Governors' Conference

The Border Governors’ Conference (BGC) is the largest bi-national venue to discuss and resolve some of the most important border issues affecting the United States and Mexico. It is comprised of 10 Border States from the United States and Mexico (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Sonora, and Tamaulipas) which represent the world’s most important and dynamic bi-national region – with a joint economy that ranks third in the world.

The BGC is represented by the Governors of the 10 Border States and their respective Secretaries, Directors, Commissioners and designated staff. Since its inception in 1980, the organization has enhanced joint border efforts addressing mutual issues of importance in the areas of Agriculture and Livestock, Border Security, Sustainable Development, Education, Health and Emergency Management, Logistics and Border Crossings, and Competitiveness.

The BGC has seven Worktables and each is Co-Chaired by one United States and one Mexican Secretary, Director or Commissioner. Cal OES is a member of both the Health and Emergency Management Worktable and the Border Security Worktable. The worktables focus on providing recommendations and action plans for the Governors’ Joint Declaration. The Joint Declaration is aimed at resolving issues of mutual concern that impact the United States and Mexico border. In addition to the annual conference, the worktables meet at least twice during the year to discuss and develop the recommendations and action plans.

This year, the Governor of Tamaulipas is hosting the XXXIII annual Border Governors’ Conference with California serving as the co-host. In 2016, California plans to host the event.

​Agreements and Initiatives

Cal OES has several international agreements which foster cooperation and a shared commitment to emergency management training and education. A list of Cal OES' international agreements can be found below, for additional information please contact the Assistant Director or International Affairs Coordinator.

Programs & Activities

  • Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN): In 2014, Cal OES signed an MOU with AKDN, a group of development agencies with mandates that include the environment, health, education, architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise, and the revitalization of historic cities. Among other issues, the groups agreed to share best practices and access to expertise and technical assistance to significantly improve the internal first response capacity of the AKDN and its governmental and civil society partners in the region.
  • Baja California: Cal OES continues its effort to revitalize the emergency management agreement and initiatives in partnership with Baja-California. Currently, Cal OES is pursuing initiatives to renew the MOU on Risk Prevention and Emergency Response originally signed in 2008. Cal OES Director, Mark Ghilarducci, has met with the new State Director of Civil Protection of Baja California to discuss the administration’s initiatives and to renew this MOU on Risk Prevention and Emergency Response.
  • California-Mexico Border Relations Council (CMBRC): Cal OES remains active in the California-Mexico border region by maintaining emergency management agreements and initiatives. Each year, Cal OES provides the California-Mexico Border Relations Council a report on its current projects and initiatives that affect the border region to highlight emergency management and border security activities. This report is then published for the public to view.
  • Chile: Cal OES continues to participate in the Chile-California Council, a non-profit organization that promotes mutually beneficial relationships and knowledge sharing between Chile and California in both the private and public. It is here that Cal OES contributes to identifying opportunities for collaboration between Chile and California and to further the specific goals, and initiatives of the California-Chile MOU signed in 2008. This MOU, regarding human capital development, education, environmental protection, energy, agriculture, information and communication technologies, and trade was followed by a second MOU signed in 2014. The latter focuses on cooperation on emergency management and disasters.
  • Israel: An MOU between California and Israel was signed in March 2014. The agreement establishes a strategic partnership for joint innovations, exchanges, and cooperation. This includes fostering cooperation between the two countries’ key sectors, such as cybersecurity, education, agriculture, and health and biotechnology solutions.
  • Mexico: Aside from the Border Governors’ Conference, Cal OES participates in a variety of endeavors with its Mexican counterparts. In July 2014, Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci participated in the California Trade Mission to Mexico. During the trip, he and a group of delegates participated in a Seismic Safety Roundtable Discussion. As a result of the Mission, several agreements were made, including an MOU on climate change.
  • In collaboration with the United States Forest Services (USFS) and the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) as well as Mexico’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resource (SEMARNAT) and National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), Cal OES leads the MOU Wildfire Workgroup to further the goals of preparing and coordinating efforts for wildfire emergencies along the California-Mexico border region.

​International Visits

International Affairs coordinates and facilitates all foreign delegation visits to the Cal OES headquarters and works with appropriate staff to determine if a visit request can be accommodated. Visits are comprised of program overviews and table top discussions, as well as tours of the California State Operations Center (SOC) and the California State Warning Center (CSWC).

Our International guests have also visited other Cal OES facilities such as the CA Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) in San Luis Obispo, and the Regional Operations Centers located throughout California. These visits help to build mutual understanding, collaboration and enhance a shared commitment to emergency management and disaster mitigation training, awareness and education.

Please refer to the International Visitor Guidelines and Procedures below for additional information.



Welcome Letter Welcome 1.9.15.pdfWelcome LetterVisit Guidelines & Procedures6/17/2019 7:41:34 PM
Visitor Guidelines Foreign Visitor Guidelines 1.9.15.pdfVisitor GuidelinesVisit Guidelines & Procedures6/17/2019 7:41:34 PM
DHS Background Verification DHS ISMS FNV Request Form (IA-003).dotxDHS Background VerificationVisit Guidelines & Procedures4/11/2018 6:50:10 PM
Foreign Visitors policy Foreign Visitors to Cal OES Policy 12.9.13.pdfForeign Visitors policyVisit Guidelines & Procedures6/17/2019 7:41:34 PM
Visit Request Form International Affairs Request Fom 4.5.15.dotxVisit Request FormVisit Guidelines & Procedures4/11/2018 6:49:48 PM


Supporting Page