Nicole Rodger of Plan International Australia, Pia Rebello Britto of Yale University and Charles Super of University of Connecticut speak at the conference 'What future do we want for young children? The role of early childhood care and development in the post-MDG agenda.' This conference took place at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy on 14 March 2013.
Over one third of the world's children under five years of age fail to achieve their full developmental potential due to malnutrition, poverty, disease, neglect, and lack of learning opportunities. This situation sets children back irreversibly. As adults, they possess reduced skills and lower lifetime earnings. Ultimately, the cost of lack of investment in the early childhood years is borne by society as a whole.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) accorded little to no attention to Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD). At the time the MDGs were being drafted, it could be argued the evidence that ECCD is the best investment in social and economic prosperity was not firmly established. This is not the case in 2013. There is now ample and robust evidence demonstrating the value of ECCD for achieving healthy, productive societies and of the role that ECCD can play in addressing the challenges to achieving equality, sustainability and security. Evidence is also clear that huge cost savings are realised when actions in health, education and nutrition are implemented in early childhood, compared to later in life.
It is now time to put ECCD at the heart of the post-MDG agenda. The juxtaposition of the clear evidence in favour of ECCD and the dire situation of the world's young children is a call to action to decision makers. Young children must be on the global agenda so they can achieve their full developmental potential and contribute to equitable economic and social progress.
This symposium is presented by the Children's Policy Centre at Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU, in partnership with Plan International Australia.