15 Pacific Island governments endorse the inclusion of Action Point 10 to the Pasifika Call to Action on Early Childhood Development
NADI, 22 February, 2023 – Today, government ministers from 15 Pacific island countries and from several sectors, including education, finance, health and social welfare, formally endorsed the addition of Action Point 10 of the Pasifika Call to Action on Early Childhood Development (ECD) at the 2023 Pacific ECD Forum in Nadi, Fiji.
Co-Chair of the Pacific Regional Council for Early Childhood Development, Samoa’s Minister for Finance, Honourable Mulipola Anarosa Ale Molioo, made the announcement to participants, applauding the resounding commitment and political will of Pacific leaders to move forward with concrete actions to prioritise children as part of concerted efforts to build the resilience of the Pacific community.
"We heard the cries of our children and the aching of our youth today. They do not want any more talk, they want action. We heard our leaders today, it takes a village, a community and a country to raise a child. This is our calling," she said.
Action Point 10 of the Pasifika Call to Action on ECD, prioritises early childhood development as a pathway to increase the resilience and adaptive capacity of communities to the effects of climate change and other emergencies, and promote close collaboration between the areas of ECD and natural resources, environment and sustainable development to create a better future for children in the region.
"Thank you for fighting for my future," said 9 year old Aiyanna Nacewa of Fiji, during a children's talanoa on the impact of climate change on the region's youngest citizens. "Keep fighting to protect the mountains, hills and rivers because sometimes people will throw their rubbish and it will hurt a lot of animals. Protect the oceans and beaches because sometimes we can't go there as there is a lot of rubbish," she added.
In his welcoming remarks at the high level forum, the Prime Minister of Fiji, Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka, and Pacific Champion for Early Childhood Development said
"Nurturing the human capital of the Pacific starts from its very foundation – the earliest years - when we have a singular window of opportunity to make the most impact on both the lifelong trajectories of our children, and the sustainable development of our nations."
The forum participants include government representatives, stakeholders and regional partners. Over the next three days, they will discuss what progress has been made to support the full realisation of children’s potential, the challenges faced, as well as identify country-specific actions that maximise the value of ECD investments.
“Across countries, there is a resounding recognition of the importance of reaching across ministries to ensure children enjoy a comprehensive package of support. In partnership with your governments, UNICEF will continue to support the full realization of the rights of every child in the Pacific, starting from the early years,” said Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF Pacific Representative.
The Pacific Regional Council for Early Childhood Development, has convened the forum this week, with support from UNICEF Pacific, the Government of New Zealand and other regional partners.
Notes to editors:
The Pacific Regional Council for Early Childhood Development represents 15 Pacific Island Countries and territories, including the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Five years since the landmark endorsement of the Pasifika Call to Action on Early Childhood Development (ECD) by 15 Pacific island countries, the region is taking stock of its progress in supporting the region’s youngest citizens and key achievements, challenges and next steps in the implementation of Pasifika Call to Action on early childhood development.
In 2017, the first ever Pacific Conference on early childhood development, where a nine-point action plan, the Pasifika Call to Action on ECD, which defines critical national efforts to secure the best development of young children, was endorsed.
During the opening sessions, Pacific leaders had the opportunity to hear the voices of the region's youngest citizens and future leaders on issues impacting their future during the children’s and climate youth talanoa sessions. The sessions brought to the fore the significance of ensuring that the region's young children are included in discussions and decisions that will affect their lived realities in the future.
About the Pacific Regional Council for Early Childhood Development (PRC4ECD)
At the 49th Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru in 2018, Pacific Forum Leaders committed to “leading a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach at the national level to address NCDs, childhood obesity and early childhood development (ECD)”. In line with this mandate, Pacific countries established the Pacific Regional Council for Early Childhood Development (PRC4ECD) to guide and strengthen a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to ECD. The Council, comprised of Ministries of Finance, Education, Health and Social Welfare (or its equivalent), is a unique and high-level multi-sectoral body that fosters a collaborative and coordinated approach across governments, civil society, private sector, and other relevant stakeholders.
For more information, please contact:
Belinda Fraser, UNICEF Pacific, Tel: +679 8311237, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.