Colombia's government will draw up plans to join with Brazil and Venezuela in creating the world's largest ecological corridor, a project aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change and preserving biodiversity, President Juan Manuel Santos announced.
The corridor will span 135 million hectares (521,240 sq. miles) of rainforest, Santos said Friday after a Cabinet meeting in Leticia, capital of Colombia's southeastern jungle province of Amazonas.
The Colombian head of state said he expects the three countries will present the so-called Triple A initiative at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP21, late this year in Paris.
"This would become the world's largest ecological (corridor) and would be a great contribution to that fight of all humanity to preserve our environment, and in Colombia's case to preserve our biodiversity," Santos added.
The president said he has instructed his foreign minister, Maria Angela Holguin, to "establish all the mechanisms of communication with Brazil and Venezuela" so they can jointly present a "concrete, realistic proposal that conveys to the world the enormous contribution the corridor would make to preserving humanity and mitigating climate change."
Santos also said he would personally present the proposal to his Venezuelan and Brazilian counterparts, Nicolas Maduro and Dilma Rousseff.
The proposal stems from an exhibition by U.S.-born Colombian anthropologist Martin von Hildebrand, who is dedicated to studying and protecting the Amazon rainforest.
Separately, the head of state said Norway and Germany have pledged $65 million toward an Amazon protection program that will promote environmentally friendly technologies and is included in Colombia's 2014-2018 National Development Plan.
Those funds will be allocated to reduce deforestation, according to Santos, who noted that 100,000 hectares (386 sq. miles) of forest are lost annually due to illegal logging.
He said the goal is to strike a balance between the goal of preserving the Amazon region's biodiversity and efforts to achieve economic growth in areas such as farming, mining and oil production, infrastructure construction and urban development.