International Cooperation

EPA Collaboration with Brazil

Brazil’s size (the 5th largest country in the world and the largest in Latin America), large population, and high levels of economic growth and urbanization make Brazil a priority country for U.S. environmental cooperation. EPA and Brazil began formal cooperation in 1987, with an agreement between EPA and the Sao Paulo State environmental agency, the Sao Paulo Sanitation Technology Company (CETESB). EPA works with national and local environmental agencies in Brazil to exchange information on environmental management and risk reduction in areas of mutual interest.

Explore our work with Brazil:



September 2015:  “The Philly-Rio Experience: Driving Community Sustainable Development by Reducing Environmental Risk,” a seminar organized by EPA, will take place September 2-4 in Philadelphia. The seminar serves as a platform for exchange between the ReciclAção recycling partnership in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the North Philadelphia Village of Arts and Humanities (VAH).

  • ReciclAção is an innovative project promoting the reduction of environmental risk in the underserved Rio community of Prazeres by using profits from the sale of recyclable materials to fund community development and environmental education activities in that community.
  • VAH is a U.S. project working on similar topics in a community with similar challenges.

Through panel discussions and site visits, the seminar will provide a platform for the exchange of solid waste management and community development best practices, strategies, and tools between VAH and ReciclAção. These ideas will be captured and made available for future use in communities facing similar challenges.  

July 2015: As an outcome of the June 30th meeting between President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, EPA Administrator McCarthy and the Brazilian Ministry of Environment (MMA) launched a new work plan under the EPA-MMA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to protect the environment while promoting economic growth and social development. EPA and MMA will begin collaboration with policy dialogues and technical webinars on water quality topics. 

Learn more about the shared commitment and partnership between the United States and Brazil, which includes implementation of the EPA-MMA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): 

July 2014: To enhance the Guanabara Bay-Chesapeake Bay partnership, EPA and a delegation of officials and experts from Maryland traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to participate in a Workshop on Governance Structures to Enhance the Restoration of Guanabara Bay. Exit The purpose of this workshop was to launch an outreach process with various Guanabara Bay stakeholder groups and solicit their ideas on governance structures for Guanabara Bay.  The workshop used lessons learned from the Chesapeake Bay governance model to enrich the discussions.

December 2013:  Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Former Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral launched a partnership to share best practices Exit for keeping the iconic bays in both states – the Guanabara in Rio and the Chesapeake in Maryland – clean, healthy and sustainable.  EPA helped facilitate this partnership through a series of technical exchanges where government officials and stakeholders from both bays shared information on their challenges and programs, and on strategies for the future. EPA continues to support this partnership through technical assistance on priority topics.  

July 2013:  EPA partnered with the City of Rio’s Pereira Passos Institute (IPP) to host a workshop to share approaches and tools for participatory solid waste management in underserved areas. Exit As a follow up, EPA is exploring opportunities to work with Rio to provide technical assistance and to scale up community-based efforts to improve environmental conditions in underserved areas. One area of cooperation is technical support to the Reciclação project, a public-private partnership launched in the Prazeres community in Rio. This partnership works to reduce environmental risk by collecting recyclable materials in the community and using the revenue from their sale to implement environmental improvements in the community and environmental education programs. 



Follow Up to the Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability (JIUS)

The Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability (JIUS) was a public-private partnership supporting investment in sustainable urban infrastructure. It was established by President Obama and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff in 2011 and officially launched by former Administrator Lisa Jackson and Brazilian Minister of Environment Izabella Teixeira.
The JIUS brought together government, community and industry leaders from the United States and Brazil to generate economic growth, create decent jobs, eradicate poverty and protect the environment by increasing investment in green infrastructure and city-scale green technology strategies. Initial partners included EPA, Brazil’s Ministry of Environment, the City of Philadelphia, the City of Rio de Janeiro, the State of Rio de Janeiro, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Brazilian Foundation for Sustainable Development. The JIUS also engaged a broad group of private, academic, and not-for-profit organizations as collaborators.
JIUS partners developed the JIUS Project Portal, which was delivered at Rio+20 as the JIUS final product.  The Portal identified policy options, financing mechanisms, and projects in Rio and Philadelphia that demonstrate integrated urban sustainability and the economic, environmental and social benefits of greener urban investments, with the hope that these innovative public private partnerships for green investments in urban sustainability could be replicated in other cities globally. Since Rio+20, JIUS partners have individually supported projects identified under the initiative.
EPA is supporting two projects identified under the JIUS – improving solid waste management in underserved communities in Rio and strengthening the governance structure and regulatory framework for the Guanabara Bay.  The long term goal of these efforts is to promote opportunities and partnerships for urban infrastructure development that achieve integrated economic, social, and environmental benefits – particularly for underserved communities.  These projects support, and are consistent with, the goals of the Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality (JAPER).

Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality (JAPER)

The 2008 U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial Discrimination (JAPER) calls for ongoing collaboration between the U.S. and Brazil to eliminate racial discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity in both countries. 
Since 2010, EPA and the Government of Brazil have engaged in a series of technical exchanges on environmental justice, including the visit of an EPA technical expert to Brazil in December 2010 and August 2012. 
In September 2011, EPA hosted two environmental justice fellows from Brazil’s Ministry of Environment.  They toured U.S. environmental justice and brownfields sites, observed environmental justice projects implemented in EPA’s Region 2 (New York), and met with EPA headquarters officials to discuss EPA’s environmental justice policies. The fellows shared information and their experiences promoting environmental justice and sustainability in underserved communities in Brazil.
EPA continues to promote linkages between Joint Action Plan activities and those of the Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability.

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Past Activities

Air Quality Index

EPA has provided assistance to Companhia Ambiental do Estado de São Paulo (CETESB), the environmental agency for Sao Paulo State, Brazil, on their Air Quality Index (AQI) since 2004. 
The partnership focuses on making their AQI more usable for the public. For example, CETESB’s improved AQI website now features color coding, health effects and cautionary statements for each category. Real-time AQI values for the monitoring stations are also available. 
EPA continues its relationship with CETESB as their AQI system develops. 

Brazil Fuel Switching Project

Beginning in August 2012, stringent international standards in the North American Emissions Control Area (ECA) require that lower sulfur fuels be used by ships operating within up to 200 nautical miles of the majority of the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic and Pacific coastal waters, as well as the U.S. Gulf Coast. 
These international standards are bringing important benefits for human health through combustion of significantly lower sulfur fuels. 
To demonstrate the impact of an ECA to Brazil, EPA conducted a fuel switching project to showcase the benefits of using low sulfur fuels. In addition to port calls in Mexico and U.S., a vessel using low-sulfur fuel also called on Santos, Brazil. 
EPA calculated emissions reductions from the low-sulfur fuel, and shared the data and final report with Brazilian agencies and interested stakeholders.  Learn more about the demonstration project and see the final report.

Agreements and Relevant Documents

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Key Partners

The following links exit the site Exit

Brazil Ministry of Environment (MMA) State of Rio Environmental Agency for the State of Sao Paulo (CETESB)
Brazil Special Secretariat for Racial Equality City of Rio  

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Learn More About Brazil

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For additional information on EPA's work with Latin America and the Caribbean, contact:
Cam Hill-Macon
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2670R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-6408