The National Park concept has been described as "America's best idea." Many countries around the world look to the United States as a leader in park and protected area management. At the same time, the National Park Service often learns about innovative practices from other countries' park agencies. In addition, international cooperation is required to preserve numerous species of migratory wildlife that spend only a part of their lives within the boundaries of U.S. national parks, and likewise to help protect park resources from threats that may originate from outside park (and U.S.) borders -- air and water pollution and invasive species, for example. For these reasons, the National Park Service has an Office of International Affairs that for over 50 years has worked to facilitate cooperation between the U.S. National Park Service and counterpart agencies around the globe.
The Office of International Affairs provides the overall framework for the Service’s international programs and coordinates the fulfillment of the Service’s mandates, obligations, and responsibilities for international activities. It collaborates and coordinates with the Service’s partners for international programs on major global conservation issues. OIA evaluates requests for assistance to maximize the impact and effectiveness of the Service’s limited resources. Finally, OIA enhances the Service’s ability to accomplish its domestic mission through increased experience and professional growth of its employees derived from their participation in international programs.
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