The Amazon Cooperation Treaty (ACT), signed on July 1978 by Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela, is a legal instrument that recognizes the transboundary nature of the Amazon. Until the 1970's, environmental preservation was no more than a commitment in light of the 1972 Stockholm Declaration that considered environmental protection one of the future priorities of mankind.
The ACT reaffirms the Amazon countries' sovereignty and encourages, institutionalizes and guides regional cooperation between them.
It also foresees increased scientific and technological research, information exchange, natural resources use, freedom of navigation, preservation of cultural heritage, healthcare, creation of research centers, establishment of adequate transport and communication infrastructure, and enhanced tourism and trade along the borders.
The main purpose of the ACT is to promote the harmonious development of the Amazon while incorporating the countries' Amazonian territories to their respective national economies, an essential condition for reconciling economic growth with environmental preservation.