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Future impacts of environmental factors on achieving the SDG target on child mortality-A synergistic assessment

Article | 06-06-2019

An estimated 26% of current global child deaths can be attributed to various and modifiable environmental factors, which are addressed under multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This study assesses future reductions in child mortality in relation to the achievement of environment-related SDG targets. It uses projections of health risk factors from the IMAGE 3.0 Integrated Assessment Model, based on the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), linked to a standard multi-state health model (GISMO), distinguishing risk factors, disease occurrence and cause-specific death. 

The study concludes that, on a global level, the SDG target on child mortality will not be achieved in any of the three SSP scenarios analysed, mainly due to persistent high mortality rates in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. By 2030, environmental health risk factors – including childhood undernutrition, no access to improved drinking water and sanitation, no access to modern fuels and exposure to malaria – will still be responsible for 14% to 16% of total global child deaths (8% to 10% when excluding nutrition-related mortality).

Under the middle-of-the-road SSP2 baseline scenario, achievement of the SDG targets on hunger, drinking water and sanitation and modern energy services, would avoid 433 thousand child deaths by 2030. If, in addition, also higher standards would be achieved for access to water and energy, as well as universal secondary female education and advanced malaria control, a total of 733 thousand child deaths is projected to be avoided by 2030 (444 thousand child deaths, when excluding nutrition-related mortality), which would reduce projected global child mortality by 13%.

Overall, more than 25% of the child mortality reduction that is needed to achieve the SDG target in Sub-Saharan Africa can be achieved through SDG-related policies on food, water and energy. This requires integrated and intersectoral approaches to environmental health.

 

Author(s)Paul L. Lucas, Henk B.M. Hilderink, Peter H.M. Janssen, Samir KC, Louis Niessen and Detlef P. van Vuuren
Publication date06-06-2019
PublicationGlobal Environmental Change