The City of Philadelphia will work with a paired city in Ecuador on a high-impact environmental project

PHILADELPHIA—The City of Philadelphia has been selected as one of 24 cities to participate in the Cities Forward program, a collaborative initiative between the U.S. Department of StateICLEI-Local Governments for SustainabilityResilient Cities Catalyst, and the Institute of the Americas.

Launched at the Cities Summit of the Americas, this program is dedicated to connecting local leaders across Latin America, the Caribbean, and U.S. cities to create sustainable, inclusive, and resilient futures through project consultation, co-design, and knowledge sharing.

The City of Philadelphia was selected from among 129 applications for its commitment to urban sustainability, resilience, and inclusion. Over the next two years, we will work closely with our paired city, the City of Ambato, Ecuador, to advise on their development of a high-impact, financeable project that can touch on a range of environmental topics including climate resilience, resource management, climate mitigation, and accessibility of sustainability initiatives to underserved populations. The partnership will be a two-way learning opportunity centered on building equitable and inclusive economic opportunities, strengthening sustainability, and promoting a healthy environment for all.

“I am proud that Philadelphia has been chosen for the Cities Forward program and to share what we’ve learned through our city’s sustainability initiatives with a global audience,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We look forward to working with the City of Ambato, Ecuador, and other participating cities on our collective goal of building sustainable, just, and thriving cities.”

“This is a unique opportunity to collaborate with local leaders from around the world and develop local solutions to the global climate crisis,” said Elizabeth Lankenau, Director of the Office of Sustainability. “What we learn over the next two years will help inform our next steps for a resilient and climate-ready Philadelphia.”

The following cities were selected for the program:

  • Ambato, Ecuador + Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Cali, Colombia + Baltimore, Maryland
  • Cartagena, Colombia + Denver, Colorado
  • Fortaleza, Brazil + Hawai`i County, Hawai`i
  • Freeport, Bahamas + Coral Springs, Florida
  • Guatemala City, Guatemala + Dallas, Texas
  • Hermosillo, México + Dubuque, Iowa
  • Manaus, Brazil + Stockton, California
  • Mérida, México + Austin & Travis County, Texas
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica + Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Renca, Chile + Evanston, Illinois
  • Rosario, Argentina + Chattanooga, Tennessee

For more information, visit

About the City’s Office of Sustainability
The Office of Sustainability (OOS) works with partners around the city to improve quality of life in all Philadelphia neighborhoods, through addressing environmental justice, reducing the city’s carbon emissions, and preparing Philadelphia for a hotter and wetter future. The Energy Office, housed within OOS, is responsible for managing the municipal energy portfolio and its contribution towards carbon reductions. For more information, please visit

About ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability
ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) is the first and largest global network of more than 2,500 local and regional governments devoted to solving the world’s most intractable sustainability challenges. The worldwide network is active in 125+ countries, focused on influencing sustainability policies and driving local action across five key pathways: low emissions, resilient, equitable, people-centered, nature-based, and circular development.

About Resilient Cities Catalyst
Resilient Cities Catalyst is a nonprofit, founded by members of the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) leadership team in 2019 to drive catalytic change to help partners solve their most pressing challenges. Building on the pioneering legacy of 100RC, and in partnership with a community of urban resilience actors, RCC is helping cities build the capacities and partnerships needed to understand, prioritize and concretely address their risks and chronic stresses as they pursue their strategic goals or recover from a crisis.

About Institute of the Americas
The Institute of the Americas (IOA) is a non-partisan, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to be a catalyst for promoting economic development and integration, emphasizing the role of the private sector, as a means to improve the economic and social well-being of the people of the Americas. Throughout our 40-year history, the IOA has convened events of regional importance in an effort to support our mission of promoting better understanding and thought-leadership, surrounding critical issues in energy, climate change and economic development.