The Big Picture: Young Children & the Global Development Agenda
Early Childhood Development (ECD) is an essential component of the new global development framework. Without the best start in life for all children, there is no foundation for sustainable societies. Young children have the right beyond survival to thrive and contribute to sustainable communities and the workforce.
Over one-third of the world’s children under 5 years fail to develop to their full potential due to poverty, poor health including HIV/AIDS and malnutrition, high levels of family and environmental stress and exposure to violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation, disability, developmental delays and lack of learning opportunities. This has serious human, social and economic consequences for our societies and our goal to achieve prosperity,
inclusive social and economic development and sustainability.
While significant progress has been made to increase child survival, more needs to be done urgently to address
this developmental and learning gap for children aged 0-8 years. School drop out is the highest in first grade, and most children in poor countries and communities are not able to read by age 9.
The Sustainable Development Goals provide a unique opportunity to address this gap, building on decades of research showing the lifelong benefits of quality early childhood programs and policies to ensure that a specific focus is placed on the physical, mental and emotional development of young children, their families