Colombia, Brazil presidents pledge cooperation to protect Amazon

Bogotá, July 8 (BNA): The presidents of Brazil and Colombia discussed regional coordination to combat deforestation and protect the world’s largest and most biologically diverse rainforest at a meeting held in the Amazonian city of Leticia, Colombia, on Saturday.

“My government is committed to eliminating illegal deforestation by 2030,” said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has called for better regional and global coordination. “This is a commitment that the nations of the Amazon can assume together at the next Belém summit.”

The meeting between Lula and Colombian President Gustavo Petro followed talks in Leticia earlier this week between environment ministers from Amazon nations, including Colombia’s Susana Muhammad, Peru’s Albina Ruiz Rios and Venezuela’s Jozo Lorca, among others.

Petro and Lula, who each took office less than a year ago, are calling on rich countries to provide funds to help South American countries preserve the Amazon forest, which is key to combating global climate change.

The meetings in Leticia come ahead of the Amazon Summit, which Brazil will host in the city of Belém, at the mouth of the Amazon River, in August.

The upcoming summit is an effort to mobilize the nations of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization to work together to preserve the forest and promote sustainable development in a region threatened by illegal loggers, gold miners, animal smugglers and drug traffickers.

The organization was started in 1978 by Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. French Guiana, an overseas territory of France, is invited to attend the meetings.

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