EDF’s Global Clean Air team examines local air quality management data with local government partners in Brazil. Photo by Sergio Sanchez.
EDF’s Global Clean Air team examines local air quality management data with local government partners in Brazil. Photo by Sergio Sanchez.

What’s new: EDF’s Global Clean Air (GCA) team met earlier this month with a working group within Brazil’s national government charged with updating the country’s air quality standards. EDF is providing technical support to the group, led by Brazil’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MMA), to overhaul the country’s air quality management strategy, aiming to establish stricter standards. The purpose of the new strategy is to align Brazil’s air quality standards with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines by 2024, following a recent Supreme Court mandate.

The partnership grew out of EDF’s regional initiative with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). The purpose of that initiative is to support and connect senior leaders as they pursue innovative clean air actions in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

Why it matters: The largest and most populous country in the LAC region, Brazil witnesses 60,000 premature deaths each year due to air pollution. Further, the country loses 2-3% of its annual GDP in health and livelihood related costs. By improving its air quality management, Brazil will not only have an opportunity to significantly improve the health of its nearly 220 million inhabitants and boost its economy, but to also set an example for the rest of the region and the world while driving progress on its climate goals.

The details: Key components of Brazil’s new air quality management strategy on which EDF is providing support include:

  • Setting up-to-date air quality standards, climate pollution reduction targets and an implementation roadmap
  • Supporting advanced air quality monitoring systems and guides for effective implementation
  • Initiatives to center and public health as a key focus of air quality management
  • An emphasis on best practices, tools and community-led solutions

The strategy will also introduce cutting edge technologies and robust tools for ensuring compliance, with a focus on cross-sector partnerships and policy innovation. It further proposes innovative financing mechanisms that would enable cities and states to independently mobilize additional funds for enhanced source identification and cross-sector efforts.

What’s next: Once the new air quality standards and monitoring system are set up, EDF aims to continue providing support as Brazil moves toward implementation, working to unlock major investments in solutions that cut emissions, such as transport electrification, clean energies and sustainable agricultural practices.

EDF’s LAC-focused Global Clean Air team includes Senior Policy Director, Sergio Sanchez, Senior Economics and Policy Analyst, Abhinand Krishnashankar and consultant Armando Retama. For more on EDF’s partnership on air quality management with Brazil, check out this blog from October, 2023.