June 29 is observed as the International Day of the Tropics, every year. The event is an UN initiative that aims to promote tropical regions on Earth, raise awareness about the conservation strategies, and celebrate the remarkable diversity that abounds the planet. In 2014 on June 29, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi had introduced the ‘State of the Tropics Report’ that suggested a very distinct point of view on the tropical regions. The report was the outcome of the collaborative efforts of top 12 tropical research institutions.
Exactly 2 years later from the report’s launch, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/267 in 2016, that announced June 29 to be marked as the International Day of the Tropics.
International Day of the Tropics 2021: Theme
International Day of the Tropics theme this year, as per the ‘State of the Tropics Report 2021’ is The Digital Divide in the Tropics.
International Day of the Tropics: Significance
International Day of the Tropics is celebrated all over the world to emphasize the major challenges, identify the developmental scope in tropical regions, and ensure sustainable development goals are on track. Tropics refer to regions between the Tropic of Cancer (23.4° north of the Equator) and Tropic of Capricorn (23.4° south of the Equator). These are also known as torrid zones which are basically subpolar points where the Sun is directly overhead.
Tropical regions comprise 98% world’s mangrove forests, and around 99% mangrove species. Since 1980, there has been a steep decrease in mangrove forest across the tropical regions. The fact is biodiversity is maximum in the Tropics, and its loss is also greater there. The flora and fauna are on the verge of facing extinction in these regions. The tropical regions are subjected to myriad, demanding situations that need immediate assistance to ensure sustainable development.
Around 54% of renewable water resources could be found in the Tropics. But the threat lies in the fact that despite such abundance, half of the population is deemed at risk of water paucity.
To spread awareness about the implications of climate changes, deforestation, urbanisation, global warming, how these are negatively impacting biodiversity in the tropics and upsetting ecological balance, International Day of the Tropics organizes events to share stories, experiences related to the potential of these regions, and formulate strategies to protect the tropics.
Through the endeavours of the International Day of the Tropics, people are sensitised and encouraged to take cognizance of the challenges encountered in tropical regions which account for 36% of the landmass and harbour almost one third of the planet’s population.