Yesterday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler kicked off his visit to Brazil in Brasilia with bilateral meetings with his Brazilian counterparts at the Ministry of Environment (Ministério do Meio Ambiente [MMA]) and National Water Agency of Brazil (Agência Nacional de Águas [ANA]). With this trip, Administrator Wheeler becomes the first EPA Administrator to visit the Amazon.
“It is an honor to be in Brazil to discuss these very important, cooperative issues, especially the reduction of marine litter,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Brazil is an important partner for the United States, and our environmental cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and other ministries is an essential component of the U.S.-Brazil bilateral relationship. I’m excited about the opportunity to collaborate with MMA to reduce marine litter through sharing information and best practices that EPA developed under its marine litter programs.”
“We have very positive results to share, such as the Urban Environmental Quality Agenda. The United States’ environmental protection measures, focused on concrete results, that respect market laws and attract private capital, have been an important objective of the Ministry of the Environment,” said Minister of the Environment Ricardo Salles.
In a bilateral meeting with Minister of the Environment Ricardo Salles and Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) President Eduardo Bim, they discussed past and current EPA collaboration in Brazil including a previous project with the State of Maryland and Rio de Janeiro State on marine litter in Guanabara Bay. Top priorities for future collaboration include environmental challenges of sanitation and wastewater. Administrator Wheeler invited Minister Salles to visit the United States and they discussed possible next steps under the EPA-MMA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the areas of water quality, marine litter/ocean pollution, solid waste management, and food waste.
“The dialogue between environmental agencies is important to promote an exchange of experiences, which will result in the improvement of the Institute’s environmental processes,” said IBAMA President Eduardo Bim.
Following the bilateral meeting Administrator Wheeler and Minister Salles signed aa MOU on cooperation on urban sustainability between the Ministry of the Environment of the Federal Republic of Brazil and the EPA. The MOU aims to improve institutional capacity through technical cooperation on environmental management emphasizing urban sustainability. Specific areas of cooperation outlined in the MOU include: protection and restoration of oceans from pollution, solutions and best practices for combatting marine litter, alternative technologies for sewage treatment, water quality restoration and protection, and sound waste management for reducing waste generation, including recycling and food waste.
Administrator Wheeler also met with ANA where they discussed priority areas of focus for the ongoing successful collaboration between the U.S. Geological Survey, EPA, and ANA, as well as interest in further collaboration.
“It was an honor to host EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to discuss important water challenges facing both Brazil and the U.S. I look forward to future collaboration on issues including water quality,” said ANA Director Ricardo Andrade.
Administrator Wheeler’s visit to Brazil continues in Manaus with meetings to further efforts to combat marine litter and address marine debris.
To view the Memorandum of Understanding, please visit https://www.epa.gov/international-cooperation/us-epa-brazil-ministry-environment-memorandum-understanding.