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`Violence among children can be prevented by good early childhood care`

Sarajevo, February 13, 2008 – The Early Childhood Development Group of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a multisectoral body initiated and convened by UNICEF, concluded their meeting today with unanimous agreement on an Action Plan that would implement the Strategy for Early Childhood Development adopted in 2007.

The group consists of representatives from concerned ministries and NGOs from health, education, civil affairs and pre-school education sectors.

The working group came up with the following statement: “In the light of recent events and the increased number of incidents and violence acts involving young people and children, who cannot be ignored, we recommend that programmes supporting Early Childhood Development become a priority for State and community investments. Institutions and penalty measures are merely treating consequences, while the underlying causes go recognised and untreated. We would like to stress that the first three years of life are the most important in determining the rest of one's life. This is the most intensive period of mental and physical growth and, if inadequately supported, can result in learning difficulties, violence, crime and social problems".

“While this country has made a remarkable recovery in many respects since the war, the social impact of conflict can last for generations. Very young children are particularly vulnerable in situations of crisis, instability and violence, and war-time conflict and stress can severely impact the physical, mental and emotional development of young children. 

Today’s youth are the generation born in war, and it is vitally important that the problems associated with them today are understood and addressed in this context.  It is also critical that adequate investments are made in early childhood development now, to safeguard progress, and to ensure a peaceful, tolerant and productive society in the future,” said June Kunugi, UNICEF Representative in BiH.

Parenting skills, emotional support and communication with a child are of extreme importance during the first three years of life. UNICEF's experiences from all over the world confirm that timely interventions and investments into the development of young children give a 6-fold return.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:
Nela Kacmarcik, UNICEF BIH, Sarajevo, Kolodvorska 6 Phone: +387 33 723 300, Mob: +387 61 192 084




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