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  • Two young Bolivians wash their faces at the edge of Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, March 4, 2009.

    Two young Bolivians wash their faces at the edge of Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, March 4, 2009. | Photo: EFE

The governments of Bolivia and Peru will cooperate in a ten-year plan to restore South America's largest fresh water lake.

The governments of Peru and Bolivia signed a 10-year bilateral deal Saturday to work together to restore and preserve Lake Titicaca with a joint investment of more than US$400 million. 

The agreement was signed in the Bolivian capital of La Paz by each country's environment minister and was the product of high-level political meetings held in June, 2015.

“On June 23 we had a historic meeting in an expanded cabinet between Peru and Bolivia, we are proud that the environmental sector is the first to give concrete, direct results and with the signing of this agreement that sets the guidelines of action for the recovery of Lake Titicaca," said Bolivian Environment Minister Alexandra Moreira.

Moreira added that that agreement emphasizes the environmental recovery and will better coordinate the environmental stewardship of the shared lake through bi-national, integrated environmental management programs.

Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said that the two countries would work to create a bi-national research center aimed at restoring Lake Titicaca's biological diversity. 

According to the Bolivian environment ministry there will be an initial investment of US$63 million to improve water treatment and a medium-term investment of US$117 million. Both governments intend to invest more than US$400 million by 2025.

"I applaud the fact that the Plurinational State of Bolivia and Peru are already taking concrete actions and concrete investments for plants’ wastewater treatment to address the main problems that the lake is facing," said Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar. 

Lake Titicaca is located 4,000 meters above sea level and is the largest fresh water lake in South America. Nearby mining and industrial activity over the past 50 years have caused major contamination. 

Three million people in Bolivia and Peru depend on the lake's resources in one way or another. Lake Titicaca is also an important tourist destination. 

RELATED: Bolivia Expects Record Growth in Tourism for 2016

​In pursuit of policies of regional integration, Latin American governments have increasingly held joint high-level meetings to better coordinate bi-national strategies. Ecuador and Peru recently signed an agreement to create a 1.8 million acre biosphere reserve on their shared border.

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