Highlights from the State of the Tropics 2014 Report
Nations in the region
Australia (5.7% of its population is in the Tropics), Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, New Caledonia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Island, Tonga, Tuvalu, USA (only the State of Hawaii which has 0.04% of the US population) and Vanuatu.
Life expectancy has increased from 49 years in the early 1950s to 67 years in 2010; maternal mortality has dropped by 37%, and the under 5 mortality rate has been fallen by more than 70%.
Tertiary enrolments per 100,000 population are the second highest in the Tropics and well above overall world numbers.
The region has the lowest CO2 emissions but the highest per capita CO2-equivalent emissions of green house gas emissions in the Tropics. Excluding Australia and Hawaii, per capita emissions are the third lowest in the Tropics and well below the world figure.
The region had the lowest level of organic water pollution.
In the past 20 years an additional three million people were using an improved drinking water source.
The number of undernourished people fell from 15% in 1990 to 10% in 2012, and the people living in extreme poverty declined from 31% to 28%.
It is the only region of the Tropics to report a decline in the urbanisation rate.
It has the lowest rate (15%) of slum population – the only region better than the Rest of the World.
The Human Development Index, which combines indicators of life expectancy, educational attainment and income into a composite index, is the highest in the tropical world, although when Hawaii and tropical Australia are excluded it is bettered by four other regions.
TB incidence has increased since 1990 due to increasing rates in PNG and three small Pacific Island nations – two of which had increases of more than 200%.
Micronesia, Tonga and Samoa had obesity rates of 72%, 71% and 51% respectively in 2010 – the highest national rates in the world. PNG and the Solomon Islands had obesity rates of 5% and 12%.
Youth literacy rates decreased slightly, due to PNG where the increase in the literate youth population did not keep pace with the increase in the youth population.
47% of the world’s coral reefs are in the region and the reefs at risk have increased from seven in 1998 to 28 in 2010. But more than 40% of coral reefs were at low risk and marine protected areas have increased by almost 10%.
Aquaculture production has increased from only 70 tonnes in 1950 to 12,700 tonnes in 2010.
Deforestation and overgrazing were the main causes of a 34% increase in land degradation between 1981 and 2003, and Oceania is one of only two regions to report increases in the rate of primary forest losses and the only region to experience a decline in agricultural land area. The majority of this decline is in tropical Australia, which also drove a 60% drop in sheep/goat numbers on 1980 levels.