chapter  1
1 Pages

The Questionable Power of the Millennium Development Goal to Reduce Child Mortality

WithElisa Díaz-Martínez & Elizabeth D. Gibbons

Since 1990, the period covered by Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4) for a two-thirds reduction in child mortality, the annual number of children dying before their fifth birthday has decreased from around 12 million to about 6.6 million in 2012. All regions of the world have experienced a considerable reduction in child mortality rates, but progress is uneven both among and within countries, with certain segments of the population being left behind. The pace of progress in child mortality has also accelerated from 1.2% per annum in the baseline period of 1990-1995, to 3.9% in the most recent period 20052012 (United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF] 2013). In this paper we address the question of whether accelerated reductions in child mortality after 2000 can be attributed to global/national mobilization and policy choices made in direct response to MDG4’s normative appeal. We also analyze the adequacy and evolution through time of the selected target and indicators. The first section provides a historical background to MDG4 and the global programs promoting child survival. The second section analyzes the connections between major international agreements and programs on child mortality and health, the international framework on human rights and MDG4, including an analysis of the evolution of child mortality since 1990. The third section presents a review of the sequence of global mobilization around MDG4, showing that since 2005 there has been a convergence in the work of the different

Vol. 15, Nos. 2-3, 203-217, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19452829.2013.864621