Seven South American nations agreed to protect the Amazon river basin, amid global concern over massive fires in the world’s largest tropical forest.
Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname signed a pact, setting up a disaster response network and satellite monitoring.
At a summit in Colombia, they also agreed to work on reforestation.
More than 80,000 fires have broken out in the Amazon rainforest this year.
“This meeting will live on as a co-ordination mechanism for the presidents that share this treasure – the Amazon,” said Colombian President Iván Duque said after the summit in Leticia.
Meanwhile, Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra said: “Goodwill alone is not enough anymore.”
The seven nations also agreed to put more efforts into education and increase the role of indigenous communities.
The countries were represented in Leticia by presidents, vice-presidents and ministers.
Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro took part by videolink because he was preparing for surgery.
The Amazon rainforest often called as the “lungs of the world” has seen twice the number of fires between January and August this year compared to 2018. The Amazon which covers 60 percent of Brazil, caught international criticism after pictures and videos of the fire flooded social media.
Environmentalists say that Brazilian President Bolsonaro’s policies led to an increase in fires this year and that he has encouraged cattle farmers to clear vast swathes of the rainforest since his election last October.
Source : Various