The presidents of Brazil and Colombia have discussed regional coordination to fight deforestation and protect the world's largest and most biodiverse rainforest at a meeting in Colombia's Amazonian city of Leticia.
"My government is committed to eliminating illegal deforestation by 2030," said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Saturday, calling for better regional and global coordination.
"This is a commitment that the Amazon countries can assume together at the upcoming Belem summit."
The meeting between Lula and Colombia's President Gustavo Petro followed talks in Leticia earlier this week between environmental ministers from Amazonian countries, including Colombia's Susana Muhamad, Peru's Albina Ruiz Rios, and Josue Lorca from Venezuela, among others.
Both Petro and Lula, who each took office less than a year ago, have called on rich nations to cough up funds to help South American countries preserve the Amazon, considered key to fighting the global climate crisis.
Summit of Amazon
Meetings in Leticia come before a summit of Amazon nations hosted by Brazil in the city of Belem, at the mouth of the Amazon River, in August.
The coming summit attempts to move the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization nations to act together to preserve the forest and promote sustainable development in a region threatened by illegal loggers and gold miners, animal smugglers and drug traffickers.
The organisation was started in 1978 by Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.
French Guiana, an overseas territory of France, is invited to meetings.
In 2019, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Guyana and Suriname signed the Leticia Pact to strengthen coordinated actions for the preservation of the natural resources of the Amazon.
Lula's approach contrasts sharply with the actions of his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro. Under the far-right leader’s term, deforestation soared to a 15-year high, and environmental restrictions were weakened.
Deforestation fell by 33.6 percent during the first six months of Lula’s term, according to satellite data the Brazilian government released this week from the National Institute for Space Research, a federal agency.