UNICEF said new survey figures show that child deaths have fallen to a modern history low of 9.7 million per year, compared to nearly 13 million in 1990.
UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman said the drop to less than 10 million is “historic” but there is much work yet to be completed.
"The loss of 9.7 million young lives each year is unacceptable," she said. "Most of these deaths are preventable and, as recent progress shows, the solutions are tried-and-tested."
The Millennium Development Goals adopted by world leaders in 2000 require the 1990 under-5 mortality rate to be cut by two-thirds by 2015. If the goal is met, it would mean an additional 5.4 million drop in the death rate.