Colombian President Ivan Duque was greeted with fanfare and promises of cooperation on economic and environmental initiatives Tuesday during an official visit to Brazil where he met with President Jair Bolsonaro.
The two presidents signed a series of bilateral agreements on trade and investments, pledging to increase cross border economic activity between the two countries, and discussed more cooperation on halting illegal activities in the vast Amazon regions.
"Our voice in Glasgow will be not only to work for energy transition, work for emission reductions, but also to reach a carbon neutrality with a greater protection of our tropical forests and our Amazon," Duque said in a speech before sitting down for talks with Bolsonaro.
Both countries control large areas of the Amazon rainforest, where illegal mining, ranching and other activities have caused increasing deforestation, a major issue to be addressed during the upcoming climate change summit in Scotland next month.
The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the combined goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Brazil and Colombia, as well as other regional countries bordering the Amazon rainforest, have come under intense pressure from the international community to curtail deforestation and illegal activities in the areas under their control.
Since taking office, Bolsonaro's government weakened environmental authorities by slashing funding and punishing employees who spoke out.
More recently, he has sought to demonstrate heightened environmental commitment in the face of criticism from the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden and troubled institutional investors.
His administration first deployed soldiers in 2019 as destruction of the Amazon drew global outcry.
Environmentalists and activists and specialists have dismissed reliance on the military as ineffective for preservation; an Associated Press investigation last year reached the same conclusion.
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