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2013 World Congress Resolution on the Importance of Early Childhood

3 JUNE 2013 | GENEVA — The High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda issued its final report to the United Nations Secretary-General on 30 May 2013. The report entitled A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development outlines recommendations for the next global development agenda, setting out proposed strategic shifts in development planning for the accelerated reduction of poverty and proposing illustrative goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals after their deadline in 2015.

In response to the report, OMEP made the following declaration in partnership with many other organisations and agencies promoting early childhood as a priority in the 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals, including Save the Children, USAID, Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development, International Child Fund, Global Partnership for Education, World Health Organization, UNESCO, and World Bank.

Hear the children’s voices: “Sustainability…it means like saving the world for later.”

OMEP believes that to achieve the sustainable world we want, children must survive. Beyond that, they must be able to develop to their full potential and to experience the rights to which they are entitled in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Scientific evidence from many fields provides a clear and convincing picture of the critical importance of the early years. The foundation for human development, on both the individual and the societal levels, begins at birth. The first years of life are the most critical for future developmental outcomes. Investments in early childhood are among the best investments any society can make.

Referring to the proposed goals in the High Level Panel Report (May 2013) and similar recommendations by various other organizations and agencies, OMEP’s position is that early childhood be specifically referenced and targeted in the following

HLP Goal 1:End Poverty

RECOMMENDED GOAL: Reduce by half the percentage of children between birth and primary school-entry age living in poverty.

HLP Goal 2: Empower Girls and Women and Achieve Gender Equality

RECOMMENDED GOAL: Begin empowerment and gender equality in early childhood, focusing on girls’ access to quality preschools that are safe, non-violent, and non-discriminatory.

HLP Goal 3: Provide Quality Education and Lifelong Learning for sustainability

RECOMMENDED CHANGE IN GOAL 3A: Significantly increase the proportion of children able to access and complete quality preschool education, with the aim of 100% and a minimum of 50% having access by 2030. RECOMMENDED GOAL: Introduce Education for Sustainable Development in early childhood settings, including preschools, focusing on all three pillars of sustainability: economy, environment, and equal and just society.

HLP Goal 6: Achieve Universal Access to Water and Sanitation

RECOMMENDED GOAL: Introduce WASH from the START (water, sanitation, and hygiene education) in preschools in cooperation with WASH in Schools. 2

Read the full United Nations A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development report.