chapter  2
2 Pages

Background to Framing Millennium Development Goal 4, its Target and Indicators

The United Nations (UN) Millennium Declaration of September 2000, unanimously adopted by 189 countries, committed all “to strive for the full protection and promotion in all our countries of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights for all” (UN 2000, para. 25). Yet, as we will see in this paper, these commitments to universal values and human rights did not survive the process of establishing goals and targets to monitor the Declaration’s implementation. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and their targets largely aimed to improve average outcomes around a range of basic needs, divorced from equal rights. Among the goals for the children was MDG4: Reduce Child Mortality, with a single target to “Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate.” Unlike some other MDGs, reduction of child mortality by two-thirds was included in the Millennium Declaration (UN 2000, para. 19), and thus can be considered as explicitly approved by the Member States, and undergirded by the Millennium Declaration’s human rights framework. Integral to that framework is the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which by the year 2000 had been ratified by 192 countries, and sets out the norms and principles governing the human rights of children; reduction of child mortality by two-thirds can be seen as a benchmark in the progressive realization of the CRC’s Article 6, which establishes “every child’s inherent right to life,” and Article 24, governing the child’s right to the highest attainable standard of health.1