InternationalDay of the Tropics​​​​​​​,Does marking itserve the region

29Jun 2020
Editor
The Guardian
InternationalDay of the Tropics​​​​​​​,Does marking itserve the region

The inaugural State of the Tropics Report was launched on 29 June 2014.

Marking the anniversary of the report's launch the United Nations declared that 29 June of each year is to be observed as the International Day of the Tropics.Bottom of Form

The majority of the world’s most vulnerable communities are in the Tropics, and will be most affected by environmental threats, the United Nations said three years ago, marking the first ever observance of the International Day of the Tropics.

“Loss of biodiversity is greater in the Tropics than in the rest of the world,” according to the Day’s official website, which noted that the region hosts some 80 per cent of the world’s biodiversity and much of its language and cultural diversity.

The UN has projected that by 2050, the region will host most of the world’s people and two-thirds of its children.

The Day “celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the tropics while highlighting unique challenges and opportunities nations of the Tropics face,” according to the website. For example, nearly 95 per cent of the world’s mangrove forests by area are in the Tropics.

Mangroves – ecosystems located on the interface of land and sea in tropical regions – can play an important role in reducing vulnerability to natural hazards and increasing resilience to climate change impacts, by acting as a form of natural coastal defence.

However, mangroves are disappearing three to five times faster than overall global forest losses, with serious ecological and socio-economic impacts, according to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Today’s focus on the Tropics is meant to provide “an opportunity to take stock of progress across the Tropics, to share tropical stories and expertise and to acknowledge the diversity and potential of the region,” according to the Day’s website.

One of the key characteristics of the region is the prevalence of rain – which is highly affected by climate change. The Tropics have just over half of the world’s renewable water resources, roughly 54 per cent, the UN said, yet almost half their population is considered vulnerable to water stress.

It provides an opportunity to take stock of progress across the tropics, to share tropical stories and expertise and to acknowledge the diversity and potential of the region.

The Tropics are a region of the Earth, roughly defined as the area between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn. An important feature of the Tropics is the prevalence of rain in the moist inner regions near the equator, and that the seasonality of rainfall increases with the distance from the equator. The tropical region faces several challenges such as climate change, deforestation, logging, urbanisation and demographic changes.

Tropical nations have made significant progress but face a variety of challenges that demand focused attention across a range of development indicators and data in order to achieve sustainable development. Consistent with the higher levels of poverty, more people experience undernourishment in the Tropics than in the rest of the world; The proportion of the urban population living in slum conditions is higher in the Tropics than in the rest of the World.

The inaugural State of the Tropics Report was launched on 29 June 2014, as the culmination of a collaboration between twelve leading tropical research institutions. The report offers a unique perspective on this increasingly important region.

The tropics constitute 40 per cent of the Earth's surface area and contain 36 per cent of the Earth's landmass. The Tropics host nearly 95 per cent of the world’s mangrove forests by area and 99 per cent of mangrove species; The Tropics have just over half of the world’s renewable water resources, yet almost half their population is considered vulnerable to water stress; Biodiversity is greater in the Tropics – however, loss of biodiversity is also greater in the Tropics than in the rest of the world.