Multi-Jurisdictional Plan Coordination

Think about the pros and cons of adopting a single or multi-jurisdiction plan. Single jurisdiction plans will ensure your community the full autonomy and sole discretion to conduct its planning process. It can be appropriate for any community, no matter what the size is. But, single jurisdictions may restrict the opportunities for sharing resources across the communities as well as coordinated planning. Benefits and challenges of multi-jurisdictional plans are highlighted below.


  • Facilitates wide-ranging mitigation approaches to diminish risks that influence multiple jurisdictions.
  • Enhances communication and group effort among jurisdictions and other regional bodies.
  • Prevents repetition of efforts.
  • Makes the best use of the economies of scale by sharing resources and costs, and leveraging individual capabilities.
  • Offers an organizational structure that supports local jurisdictions.

  • The process involves the participation of multiple jurisdictions and the coordination between them. They may have different priorities, capabilities, and histories.
  • Diminishes individual ownership and control over the planning process.
  • Needs a single plan document of large amounts of information about the organization.
  • Each jurisdiction needs to document specific information on mitigation actions and local risks.

If you believe that the best alternative for your community is to participate in a multi-jurisdictional planning process, then mull over whether it’s appropriate to start a new multi-jurisdictional plan or join an existing planning effort. In general, multi-jurisdictional planning is most effective when jurisdictions have successfully partnered in the past, have similar capabilities and needs, face similar disasters or threats, and function under the same authorities.

You may consider entering a partnership with neighboring jurisdictions and other governmental agencies, for instance, service or utility districts, transportation authorities, and school districts. Certain districts have a vested interest in diminishing the impacts of hazards and threats if they specifically offer services to accelerate recovery efforts. In those geographic areas where natural calamities are common such as wind storms, tornadoes, and ice storms, government agencies like municipal electrical utilities and rural electrical cooperatives are willing to become mitigation partners. An Indian Tribe acknowledged by a Federal agency can also participate in a multi-jurisdictional plan. But, the Tribe ought to fulfill the requirements mentioned in 44 CFR §201.7, Tribal Mitigation Planning. Above all, look for those jurisdictions that can help get the most out of the benefits of the multi-jurisdictional planning process as explained in the sidebar.

Once the participating jurisdictions and planning area are identified, make efforts to secure a level of commitment from every single participant. At the beginning of the planning process, tell all the participating jurisdictions to sign a Letter of Intent or MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) that outlines the prerequisites for each participating jurisdiction. In Worksheet 1.2, you can find the sample MOU for a multi-jurisdictional planning team.

    All organizations and jurisdictions are allowed to participate in the planning process. But, they all need to fulfill all the requirements of 44 CFR §201.6 in order to get approval from FEMA. Following are the additional requirements specified by the federal regulations for multi-jurisdictional plans:

  • The hazard assessment should evaluate the risk of each jurisdiction where they may differ from the risks facing the whole planning area. (44 CFR §201.6(c)(2)(iii))
  • Recognize identifiable action plans specific to each jurisdiction that is seeking the credit of the plan or approval from FEMA. (44 CFR §201.6(c)(3)(iv))
  • Each jurisdiction seeking plan approval from FEMA needs to document the plan that is or has been formally implemented. (44 CFR §201.6(c)(5))

    All the participating jurisdictions seeking plan approval must be clearly listed in the mitigation plan. It is recommended to include a map that shows the planning area’s jurisdictional boundaries.