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Future impacts of environmental factors on achieving the SDG target on child mortality – a synergistic assessment

Working paper | 12-09-2018

An estimated 26% of current global child deaths is attributable to diverse and modifiable environmental factors, addressed under multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This study assesses future child mortality reductions from achieving environment-focused SDG targets. It uses projections of environmental 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 analysis concludes that the SDG target on child mortality is not achieved in any of the three SSP scenarios analyzed, mainly due to persistent high mortality rates in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. By 2030, environmental health risk factors are still relevant, being responsible for 10-19% of total global child death. Under the middle-of-the-road SSP2 baseline scenario, achieving the health-related SDG targets on child nutrition, access to clean water and sanitation and access to modern energy, can avoid globally 433 thousand child deaths in 2030. Also including quality aspects of access to water and energy, universal female education and advanced malaria control, a total of 733 thousand child deaths can be avoided, reducing global child mortality in 2030 to 39 deaths per 1000 births.

Overall, around 20% of the required reduction in child mortality outcomes to achieve the related SDG target in Sub-Saharan Africa could be addressed by policies in other domains such as 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; Detlef P. van Vuuren
Publication date12-09-2018
RemarksThis working paper is currently under review at Global Environmental Change.