President and representatives from seven countries in South America’s Amazon region met in Colombia on Friday to discuss a joint strategy for preserving the world’s largest rainforest, which has been under threat from a record number of wildfires.
Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname signed a pact, setting up a disaster response network and satellite monitoring, the BBC reported.
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.
The pact will also increase cooperation on fighting causes of deforestation, including illegal mining and forest clearing for agriculture and drug trafficking.
Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming, and 60 per cent of it is located in Brazil.
The number of fires between January and August 2019 is double that of the same period last year, according to the country’s National Institute for Space Research (Inpe).
President Bolsonaro has drawn intense domestic and international criticism for failing to protect the region.
Colombian President Ivan Duque said that the Amazon countries are seeking backing from multilateral banks such as the Inter-American Development Bank.
Bolivia has also seen fires rage across the forest near its borders with Brazil and Paraguay.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s leading meat export industry group and agricultural businesses have joined an environmental campaign calling for an end to deforestation in public lands in the Amazon and demanding government action.
Last month, the US government had said that it did not approve the offer of $20 million in aid to Brazil made by the G7 member nations to fight the devastating wildfires in the Amazon rainforest.
French President Emmanuel Macron had announced that G7 countries will earmark $20 million to help fight the massive fires raging across Amazonia.