Eight countries in South America in which the Amazon Rainforest is located – including Brazil – have agreed a pledge to “combat deforestation” and address other environmental issues in the region.

Brazil, one of the four members of the Mercosur trading bloc – and the only Mercosur member in which the Amazon is located – has been accused in recent years of increasing deforestation to make way for new farmland as part of an effort to ramp up beef production.

However, a presidential election last year saw the then incumbent Jair Bolsonaro – who was seen as favouring this policy of expanding farmland through deforestation – voted out of office.

This political change has been associated with a change of attitude towards deforestation among Brazil’s leadership.

On Tuesday (August 8), Brazil and the seven other members of the Amazon Co-operation Treaty Organisation (ACTO) held a summit in the Brazilian city of Belem and signed the ‘Belem Declaration’.

The document “consolidates the consensus agenda of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela for the region”.

It contains 113 objectives and principles relating to deforestation, water quality, biodiversity, social equality, and several other issues.

According to the document, ACTO is “the only intergovernmental coordination body of the eight Amazonian countries for the joint development of projects and actions that produce equitable and beneficial results for the Amazonian countries”.