Brazil announced Friday a return to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), a regional intergovernmental body after a four-year absence.
The measure signed by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will take effect May 5, according to a statement from Planalto, or the President’s Office.
It said UNASUR is a mechanism “to promote integration between South American countries” alongside Mercosur (Southern Common Market) and the Andean community — a free trade area that extends beyond economic spheres to social, cultural, scientific-technological and political areas.
The statement said South American integration and unity are needed for sustainable development, citizen well-being and to resolve regional issues such as poverty, exclusion and social inequality.
Da Silva signaled his push to reorganize UNASUR in March to Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez while the former union leader has been a vocal champion of rebuilding UNASUR in recent months.
Brazil left UNASUR in 2019 during the tenure of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
Argentina announced its decision to join UNASUR in March with President Alberto Fernandez stressing the need for regional unity amid various challenges.
UNASUR was set up by Venezuelan President Hugo Chaves in 2008 amid the pink tide when the region pivoted to the left politically. At its height, the group included 12 Latin American nations.
When the region shifted to the right, however, several right-wing governments formed the Lima Group in 2017.
Afterward, some countries withdrew from UNASUR and joined the Forum for the Progress and Development of South America (PROSUR), another multilateral bloc focusing on economic and social partnerships.