Brazil, Colombia 'united' in defense of Amazon ahead of UN summit

Brasília (Brazil) (AFP) –


Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro and his Colombia counterpart Ivan Duque said on Tuesday they would head to the next UN climate summit "united" in defense of the Amazon.

The Cop26 climate conference begins in Glasgow on October 31 and will last two weeks.

"We will arrive in Glasgow untied to tackle a very important and dear affair for all of us: our dear, rich and desirable Amazon," said Bolsonaro following his meeting with Duque in Brasilia.

Duque said the countries that share the Amazon -- the world's largest rainforest -- will carry "an unequivocal message of protecting this region."

"Our voice in Glasgow will not just be about working for energy transition, for a reduction in emissions, but also to achieve carbon neutrality and to do so while protecting our tropical forests and our Amazon," said Duque.

The reduction of CO2 emissions to combat climate change will be one of the key topics discussed at the summit.

Bolsonaro's government has come under fire repeatedly for its environmental policies, principally due to the increase in deforestation since he took power in 2019, and for having weakened environmental control bodies and publicly defended mineral extraction in protected areas.

In a change of tone in April, Bolsonaro had committed to putting Brazil on the path to carbon neutrality by 2050 and to eliminate illegal deforestation by 2030.

Brazil and Colombia account for 61 and six percent respectively of the Amazon, which spans 10 countries and territories.

Some 70 percent of Colombia's deforestation takes place in the Amazon.

The two heads of state have signed seven cooperation agreements during Duque's visit covering the fight against drug-trafficking, exports, health, agriculture and technology.

Bilateral trade between the two countries was worth $3.6 billion in 2020, according to Brazil's government.