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South American leaders sign pact to save the Amazon

The talks, which were held in Leticia, Colombia on Friday and were led by the country's President Ivan Duque.

View of a burnt area after a fire in the Amazon rainforest near Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, on 25 August 2019 Brazil on Sunday deployed two C-130 Hercules aircraft to douse fires devouring parts of the Amazon rainforest, as hundreds of new blazes were ignited and a growing global outcry over the blazes sparks protests and threatens a huge trade deal. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – Leaders of several South American countries have signed a pact aimed at sharing resources and taking greater steps to protect the Amazon forest.

The talks, which were held in Leticia, Colombia on Friday and were led by the country's President Ivan Duque.
Leaders of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia were also in attendance.

Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro joined the meeting via video conference due to his inability to travel citing health reasons.

According to the Leticia Amazon Pact, the countries will, among other things, strengthen coordinated action, establish a regional cooperation mechanism, increase efforts associated with monitoring forest cover as well as strengthen the capacities and participation of indigenous and tribal people.

Video: Amazon fires: Funding, protests and ongoing devastation

Some indigenous tribes have turned to prayer in a bid to halt the destruction and protect their environment for future generations.

In the village of Feijo, in the West of Brazil, approaching the border with Peru, indigenous people from the tribe of Shanenawa performed a ritual to try to find peace between humans and nature. With faces painted, dozens danced in circles as they prayed to put an end to the fires.

“We want peace and love,” Tekaheyne Shanenawa, a Shanenawa leader, told Reuters as he danced in a circle as part of their ritual. “Peace, harmony and education to stop these fires that have attacked the Amazon.”
Tens of thousands of forest fires have been recorded in the Amazon during this year’s dry season, the most in at least a decade, at the same time as Brazil’s new far-right president Bolsonaro argued that the forest needs to be exploited, and Indian reservations vastly reduced.

Additional reporting by Reuters