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Leaders pledge to put early child development at the centre of sustainable development

NEW YORK, 23 September 2014 – Today, world leading scientists and economists, along with high-level representatives from business, civil society, academia, UN agencies and a host of countries, committed to making early childhood development central to sustainable development at a breakfast meeting for champions of early childhood development (ECD), on the occasion of the United Nations General Assembly.

President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, told the meeting convened by UNICEF, “Chile believes it is crucial to include early childhood development in the post-2015 development agenda.”

She continued, “As a country, we understood that the pursuit of development was pointless if our children did not enjoy equal conditions from the outset. This is the path to follow, aiming at growth to banish inequality and eliminate it where it is most shameful, most painful and most firmly rooted – in the first years of lives of our citizens.”
Pia Britto, Senior Advisor on Early Childhood Development at UNICEF, said, “The best long term solution to building a sustainable world and a better future for children is to make sure that they not only survive their early years, but thrive in them.”

Ministers and senior officials from Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, South Africa, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel and New Zealand signed the commitment to ECD.

The breakfast meeting also heard a clear message, from both Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, and Dr Jack Shonkoff, Director of the Harvard Centre for the Developing Child, that recent advances in neuroscience prove the debate between nature and nurture as determinants of early child development is over. The interdependence between genes and environment is greater than previously imagined – so nature with nurture.



UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.   For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org.

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For further information, please contact:

Elissa Jobson, UNICEF New York, +1 917 930-4521, ejobson@unicef.org




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