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International Day of the Tropics

Clownfish Peeking From Anemone

History of International Day of the Tropics

International Day of the Tropics falls on 29 June every year and is observed to celebrate the diversity of the tropics and to highlight the challenges and opportunities faced by countries within thin Earth’s tropical region.

Aung San Suu Kyi launched the inaugural State of the Tropics report on 29 June 2014. The report was the product of cooperation and collaboration between 12 of the world’s leading tropical research institutions. To mark the occasion, it was proposed to have 29 June earmarked as International Day of the Tropics but it wasn’t until 2016 that the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to recognise the date as such.

What is the Tropics?

The Tropics is a region of the Earth, roughly defined as the area between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn. Tropical locations are typically warm and experience little seasonal change in day-to-day temperature. An important feature of the Tropics is the prevalence of rain in the moist inner regions near the equator. The frequency of rainfall decreases as you move further away from the equator.

The Tropics account for 40% of the world’s total surface area and is host to approximately 80% of the world’s biodiversity, as well as much of its language and cultural diversity. This also means that the tropical region faces a number of challenges such as climate change, deforestation, logging, urbanisation and demographic changes.

Why do we observe International Day of the Tropics?

The International Day of the Tropics is observed to bring awareness to the unique challenges faced by tropical areas, the far-reaching implications of the issues affecting the world’s tropical zone, and the need to raise awareness and to underline the important role that countries in the tropics will play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. As Townsville lies within the Tropic of Capricorn, the issues that affect the Tropics affects us as well.

How do we celebrate International Day of the Tropics?

James Cook University (JCU), the leading research institution in the region, leads the efforts to commemorate International Day of the Tropics in Townsville. We can do our part by spending some time on the day reading up about the tropics and the unique challenges and opportunities that the tropics present. JCU usually run a pretty comprehensive social media campaign leading up to the date so be sure to keep an eye out!