Since the MAA`s objectives include sharing stockpiles, equipment and personnel in undeclared emergency scenarios, the MAA must address the constitutional “binding” problem in its planned intergovernmental agreements. Whether congressional approval could be achieved through an amendment to the EMAC or some other mechanism remains open. In any event, MAA officials in the public health sector have begun discussions with the governors` offices and emergency managers in maA countries on how to prosecute “undeclared emergency authorities.” Future directions will certainly be influenced by the outcome of these discussions. Finally, with respect to agreements with Canadian provinces and Mexican states, the establishment of labour relations will allow U.S. lawyers to rely, to some extent, on lawyers from Canada and Mexico to explain their laws. Nevertheless, U.S. lawyers would be well advised to develop expertise on these laws to ensure that mutual assistance agreements are negotiated on a sound legal basis and that they meet the objectives shared by the U.S. and Mexican states and The Canadian provinces. MUTUAL AID IS THE PARTAGE OF stocks, equipment, personnel, information or other resources across political borders. This will be achieved effectively through adherence to mutual assistance agreements. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Congress approved the Emergence Management Assistance Pact (EMAC), passed in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (Table 1▶). shared as part of Hurricane Katrina`s response and recovery efforts.
Hurricane Katrina triggered a flow of personnel, equipment and assistance from other countries to the affected areas; Epidemiologists and other public health experts helped identify and control public health risks in the aftermath of the storm. Other states continued to provide shelter, food, clothing and education to those who had to flee the area. 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.