The United Nations' Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce the 1990 child mortality level by two-thirds by 2015 will not be achieved, according to a report by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. For sub-Saharan Africa, child mortality figures may have not be halved until at least 2030, compared to mortality levels of 1990 according to the report 'Beyond 2015: Long-term development and the Millennium Development Goals'. A considerable proportion of these child deaths are related to hunger, lack of safe drinking water and sanitation, and the use of coal and wood for cooking and heating. The lives of millions of children could be saved through increased agricultural productivity, efficient water use and the availability of clean and affordable energy. Many people living in poverty are strongly dependent on natural resources, such as fertile agricultural land, safe drinking water, and sufficient water for irrigation. These natural resources are under constant pressure from an increasing demand for food, water and energy, by a growing population, in a growing economy. These pressures lead to land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss in biodiversity. In addition, there is climate change, also affecting land productivity and water availability. Unsurprisingly, results for most environmental goals also show a further decline. The report says that in sub-Saharan Africa, the MDG of halving poverty may not be achieved until 2030. Moreover, by 2015, with a relatively high population growth in poorer regions, some 600 million people would have to survive on less than one dollar a day, and this number is expected to reduce to 400 million by 2030. The goal to halve hunger will probably also not be achieved in most developing regions. The Millennium Development Goals aim to improve basic quality of life, and are leading on the agenda for international policy on development and sustainable poverty reduction. Although substantial progress has been made over the last 15 years, the report shows this to be insufficient for achieving all goals in all regions by 2015. Many of the goals will not even be achieved by 2030. Reducing child mortality by two-thirds seems to be the most difficult target, requiring substantial additional development policy efforts.


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