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Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability (JIUS)


Minister Izabella Teixeira, Administrator Jackson and Mayor Nutter join to launch the US-Brazil Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability in Rio de Janeiro in August 2011.

Around the world, cities are facing serious challenges, including growing populations, greater demands for services, strained infrastructure systems, and tighter budgets and resources. Local leaders are addressing these challenges with innovative investments in sustainable infrastructure projects. Urban sustainability helps save money and improves efficiency - and also provides the long-term benefits of economic growth, environmental protection, and local job creation, especially for poor and underserved communities.

The Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability (JIUS) is a public-private partnership supporting investment in sustainable urban infrastructure. The JIUS brings 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.

The JIUS was established by President Obama and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff in 2011. Initial partners include EPA, Brazil’s Ministry of Environment, the City of Philadelphia, the City of Rio de Janeiro, the State of Rio de Janeiro, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Brazilian Foundation for Sustainable Development. The JIUS also engages a broad group of private, academic, and not-for-profit organizations as collaborators.

Explore the work of the JIUS:

These items are described in detail below.

New Tools for Cities

At Rio+20, Administrator Jackson and Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira launched the JIUS Project Portal, the first major product of the JIUS. The Portal is an interactive, online entry point for communities, local officials, developers and investors to help them work together toward investment in urban sustainability in cities around the world.

Designed with U.S. and Brazilian partners, the platform enables individuals to identify key links between policy, finance, and projects that can help cities and communities increase investment in urban sustainability. The collection represents the work of key JIUS partners in the U.S. and Brazil and highlights examples of policy instruments, financial mechanisms, and projects from Rio de Janeiro and Philadelphia that can serve as building blocks for other communities.

Watch Administration Jackson launch the tool at an event during Rio+20 here

To expand the JIUS platform, Administrator Jackson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have also announced a new partnership through C40 Cities. This expanded platform will include examples from other cities across the United States and around the world. This platform will become available later this year.

New Business Opportunities for Companies

Through the JIUS, EPA has also helped to catalyze new opportunities for U.S. businesses and institutions. For example:

  • In the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area, Jonathan Rose & Co., a NYC-based green real estate developer, established a new effort with the Rio-based Institute for the Study of Labor and Society (IETS) Exit EPA disclaimer to develop an investment grade plan for the redevelopment of the Gramacho Landfill and Jardim Gramacho district. Development priorities, drawn from local discussions, include green buildings and affordable housing, renewable energy and electricity, transit, and efficient water and waste networks, as well as a job training center.

  • To support key components of Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters plan, Exit EPA disclaimer EKO Asset Management, along with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Nature Conservancy and CH2MHill, have created the Natural Infrastructure Innovative Financing Lab (NatLab) to recommend policies and financing structures to catalyze private capital, to support the Green City, Clean Waters effort and beyond. This work was undertaken with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.

About the JIUS

In August 2011, EPA Administrator Jackson and Brazilian Environment Minister Teixeira established the Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability (JIUS) in Brazil, based on commitments made by President Obama and Brazilian President Rousseff in March 2011. The JIUS was established with representatives from Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State of Rio de Janeiro, the City of Rio de Janeiro, the City of Philadelphia, and representatives from the U.S. and Brazilian private, academic and civil society sectors.

Leading up to Rio + 20 in June 2012, JIUS partners convened meetings in Rio and Philadelphia to identify key areas for potential cooperation and investment, with an emphasis on solid waste, water and wastewater, and transportation infrastructure.


January 2012: Administrator Jackson joined Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter to host a Brazilian delegation led by Izabella Teixeira, Brazilian Minister of the Environment, to advance the JIUS. Shown here learning about energy efficient homes at the John S. and James L. Knight Green Jobs Training Center, Philadelphia.

Participants gathered for a high-level JIUS meeting in Philadelphia in January 2012, to explore specific projects that could be the basis for sustainable investment portfolios in Philadelphia and Rio de Janeiro, and created a plan to capture this potential in an online tool that other cities could contribute to and use.

This initiative was designed to build on US and Brazilian priorities to build greener economies and smarter cities. For information on additional joint efforts, see the following documents:

President Obama and President Rousseff -- Brasilia, March 2011

President Obama and President Rousseff -- Washington, DC, April 2012



For additional information on EPA's international work on the JIUS, contact:

Orlando Gonzalez
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2670R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
E-mail: gonzalez.orlando@epa.gov
(202) 564-6600


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