29 June: International Day of the Tropics

Every year 29 June is observed across the world as International Day of the Tropics, to celebrate extraordinary diversity of tropics while also highlighting unique challenges and opportunities Tropical nations face.

About International Day of the Tropics

Background: On 14 June 2016, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolution A/RES/70/267 which declared that henceforth each year 29 June is to be observed as International Day of the Tropics.

Why 29 June? On this day in 2014, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi launched inaugural State of Tropics Report which is the culmination of collaboration between 12 leading tropical research institutions, and offers unique perspective on Tropics, an increasingly important region. Thus to marks the anniversary of report’s launch it was proposed that June 29 be inaugurated as ‘International Day of the Tropics’.

Need: Over the years, Tropical nations have made significant progress, but face a variety of challenges which demands focused attention across a range of development indicators and data in order to achieve sustainable development for the region.

Objective: It aims to raise awareness about specific challenges faced by tropical regions across the world, far-reaching implications of issues affecting world’s tropical zone and to underline important role that topical countries will play in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Significance of day: It provides opportunity to take stock of progress across tropics, to share tropical stories and expertise. It also acknowledges diversity and potential of tropics region.

What are Tropics?

Tropics are a region of Earth, defined as area between tropic of Cancer (23°27 N) and the tropic of Capricorn (23°27 S). These regions are typically warm and experience little seasonal change in day-to-day temperature. Even local topography and other factors also contribute to climatic variation of the region.

Feature of Tropics

Its predominant feature is the prevalence of rain in moist inner regions near equator (0o), and that seasonality of rainfall increases with distance from equator.

Tropics account for 40% of world’s total surface area and are home to approximately 80% of world’s biodiversity (much of its language and cultural diversity).

Ecosystem: It hosts about 95% of world’s mangrove forests by area and 99% of mangrove species. Although since 1980, area of mangrove forest has decreased in all tropical regions.

Challenges Faced: by tropical region includes climate change, logging, deforestation, urbanisation and demographic changes.

Tropics have nearly 54% of world’s renewable water resources, yet almost half their population is considered vulnerable to water stress.

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