South America

Highlights from the State of the Tropics Report relating to South America:

  • Life expectancy has increased from 50 years in the early 1950s to 73 years in 2010; maternal mortality has dropped by almost 50%, and the Under 5 mortality rate has been lowered by more than 80%.
  • The number of people living in extreme poverty fell from 21% to 7% between 1981 and 2008.
  • Tertiary enrolments per 100,000 population have increased from 1967 in 2000 to 3491 in 2010.
  • South American youth literacy rates are above the global rate and it has had a substantial increase in the number of literate adults relative to the adult population.
  • Economic growth rates in South America have improved significantly over the past ten years, influenced by stronger demand for commodities, greater political stability and improved governance.
  • But it has the second highest per capita CO2-equivalent emissions of GHG’s in the Tropics and is in the top three for the greatest increase in CO2 emissions between 1950 and 2008.
  • The region generates the largest amount of renewable electricity in the Tropics, primarily through hydroelectricity. It has the largest regional renewable water resource at 13,500 billion cubic metres per year, which is almost 50% of all renewable water in the Tropics. It has no identified water scarcity.
  • Since 1980, cattle/buffalo numbers have increased to 245 million head, or 37% of the total global increase. Cereal yields have improved by 125% to 3.8 tonnes per hectare.
  • Brazil, with more than 54% of the region’s people, has become the first tropical ‘food giant’, going from a food importer 30 years ago to the world’s largest exporter of beef, poultry, sugar cane and ethanol.
  • By 2010 South America was the third largest aquaculture producer in the Tropics. Shrimp and prawn farming are very important particularly in Brazil and Ecuador. But disease risks are greater in intensive farm systems, and have been responsible for major losses in recent years across South America.
  • At 26.2%, South America had the highest combined proportion of marine and terrestrial protected areas in 2010, having more than doubled its protected areas since 1990.
  • Brazil has the fourth largest system of protected areas in the world, due in part to the development of the Amazon Region Protected Areas Program. Driven by improvements in South America and South East Asia, the annual loss of primary forests in the Tropics has been falling.
  • Since 1980 South America has maintained its position as the most urbanised region in the Tropics.
  • In 2010, the region had the largest number of obese adults in the Tropics at 46 million.
  • TB control efforts in Brazil and Peru since 1990 have contributed to a 42% decrease in the number of new cases from 1990 to 2010. But dengue is a major public health problem particularly in Brazil, where outbreaks have caused significant illness, death and economic burden.
  • Mobile phone subscriptions were less than one per cent in 1993 and now exceed the total population.

South America

The nations in the region are Bolivia, Brazil (82.4% of the population), Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname

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