Policies addressing increased access to global scarcities, including food, water, and energy, need to take environmental changes into account. This could both help in achieving the MDGs and in making those achievements more sustainable.
Of the estimated 10.5 million child deaths annually, the vast majority are from preventable and treatable diseases and conditions, including low dietary energy consumption (underweight), unsafe drinking water and the lack of basic sanitation (diarrhea), and indoor air pollution related to solid fuel use for cooking and heating (pneumonia).
Rising demand for food, water, and modern energy will put pressure on scarce natural resources. This will increase the prices of (especially) food and energy. And it will hurt poor people in importing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia whose governments are unable to guarantee affordable prices when global prices increase.
Furthermore, provision of food, water, and energy becomes more difficult when natural resources are not properly managed or degrade as a result of global environmental change.
For example, climate change induces changes in rainfall and temperature patterns, potentially increasing the likelihood of short-term crop failures and long-term production declines as well as deterioration in water quality. The most vulnerable are poor and food-insecure countries at lower latitudes that largely depend on rainfed farming—in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Many such pressures are slow moving and cannot easily be stopped because of major inertia, including the pressures of fertility transition and greenhouse gas accumulation. They become apparent only in the long term, after 2015 or even after 2030, trapping people in their poverty and reversing progress.