Early Childhood

Early Childhood Peace Consortium

The Global Launch Event

UNICEF Image
© N. Shemrah Fallon 2013. Jpg

UNICEF,  Yale University,  AÇEV Foundation, and the Fetzer Institute and other global partners embarked on a joint project to achieve the common objective of analyzing the linkages between early childhood development (ECD) and peace building through scientific research, to disseminate results and advocate for better policies on global platforms - as a pathway to sustainable peace.

Increased conflict and the lasting negative impact of violence on children, families and communities is a matter of grave concern around the world. Approaches to prevent violence and maximize justice, equality, and harmony are important for building peace. Promoting peace is not a new enterprise with several organizations and alliances working hard to address the great risk of violence and conflict to individuals and society. The Early Childhood Peace Consortium presents an innovative approach to promoting and maintaining peaceful societies through the transformative power of early childhood. Evidence supports the claim that the formative years of life and intra- and inter-family and community relationships are powerful agents of change that can promote resilience, social cohesion and peace.

On 20 September 2013 the UNICEF ECD Unit organized the global launch event for the Early Childhood Peace Consortium at UNICEF's Labouisse Hall. The Consortium brought together over 140 partners from multiple sectors, agencies and countries to “create a legacy of sustained peace drawing on the transformative power of early child development.”

A highly interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral group (including civil society, the social and mass media, government officials, multi and bilateral agencies, as well as practitioners and academia), the Early Childhood Peace Consortium unified stakeholders around the goal of reducing and preventing violence against children, while considering broader social contexts and promoting the generation and exchange for evidence-based programming.

The Consortium launch established an unprecedented network to advocate for investment in young children as a way to promote peace in homes and communities and, ultimately, as a strategy for peace building. The launch marked the inception of a UN Resolution on Early Childhood and Peacebulding to be endorsed by Member States and to promote investment in early childhood development (ECD) programs at the National level.

Experts from a wide range of contexts shared their experiences and lessons on ECD as a tool for peacebuilding. For instance the Mother and Child Education Foundation (AÇEV) in Turkey and Early Years in Ireland presented experiences that demonstrated that certain programmatic strategies can have positive effects at the mother, child and community network levels. The Early Years program in particular developed successful strategies to implement programs in situations of emergency, high vulnerability, fragility and conflict. Their experience demonstrates the importance of networks, alliances and partnerships in the process of peacebuilding through ECD. Based on lessons drawn from their own projects, practitioners need unique capacities to appropriately address children’s traumas, and an experiential approach is necessary to address conflict resolution and creating compassion for the “other”. Data from Sesame Street demonstrated that media and technology are powerful tools that can promote coping strategies for, and address violence and multiple contextual challenges faced by, children in fragile contexts. 

H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser the United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) delivered the Keynote address at the Consortium Launch, and made the following remarks "Our world is a great, yet complex thing. To leave it to a generation which is unprepared, and unequipped with the proper principles and ethics, would be hazardous. Hence, instilling values of harmony and tolerance in our children through instruments of early education is vital for a peaceful future. The time for change is NOW. Let us benefit from today, for a better tomorrow." For a full transcript of his remarks, please click here

For presentations and materials from the Consortium, please visit Key Resources & Useful Links on this page or click here.

NEXT STEPS
Four key next steps will be pursued under the leadership of UNICEF and with support from the Consortium partners:

  • Complete a stocktaking survey to assess how partners frame their involvement in the Consortium, contribute to the conversation about global indicators for ECD, and promote strategic approaches to fulfill the vision of the Consortium;
  • Finalize the Consortium’s governance structure, mission statement, and time-bound work plan;
  • Lead the negotiations around and completion of the UN Resolution on Early Childhood and Peacebuilding; and
  • Generate a communication strategy to engage a larger network of actors including civil society.

 The summary report from the Consortium Launch highlights concrete details on the way forward. To review the report, please click here.


 

 

ECPC Vision

To create a legacy of sustained peace by drawing on the transformative power of early childhood development by building a global movement that values the role of young children and families as agents of change in peace building.



 

A Culture of Peace

Graphic design by Adrian Cerezo, PhD (2013)

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