BANGLADESH, 3 May 2018 – UNICEF is hosting parliamentarians from across South Asia in an effort to increase investment in children and young adults, bringing about much-needed change for millions of poor and improving the prospects for healthy economic growth in the region.
The South Asia Parliamentarian Platform for Children being held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 2 to 3 May aims to strengthen opportunities for children in the first two decades of their lives. Lawmakers from all eight countries in South Asia are meeting to prioritize, promote, and safeguard children’s rights and discuss the prospects for further investment in Early Childhood and adolescent years.
“While South Asia is home to one-fourth of the world’s population, its share of global income is just 4 per cent. This fact underlines one of the biggest challenges for South Asia’s progress on the social and economic front: namely the lack of investment in its largest asset, its Human Capital – and especially the young within the society,” said Ms Jean Gough, Regional Director for UNICEF South Asia.
This year’s meeting is focusing on the region’s commitment to increased investment in children, especially for the most marginalized children. 300 million children in South Asia are multi-dimensionally poor with too little to eat, highly vulnerable to preventable diseases and have a very slim chance of ever going to school.
Evidence shows that investment in the young pays strong dividends to society. One dollar invested in quality Early Childhood Development will give a return of between US$ 6 and US$17. If low- and middle-income countries ensured preschool enrollment to half of the country’s children, the result could be cumulative lifetime earnings gains of US$15 - 34 billion. The urgent, timely and adequate investments in early childhood and adolescent years will lead to well-developed brains and a highly productive workforce.
“There are very good chances for bringing about radical and important change: in most countries in the region, children and young people make up a large part of society and even small investments now will give good results for children and South Asian societies,” said Ms Jean Gough of UNICEF South Asia.
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 for children, visit www.unicef.org.