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Pacific governments commit to advance early childhood development to provide the best start to life for all children
9:20 pm GMT+12, 21/09/2017, Fiji

For the first time in the Pacific region, government officials, including Ministers of Education and Ministers of Finance, from 15 Pacific Island Countries came together to declare their support for young children and provide them with the opportunity to grow and lead happy, healthy and productive lives.
 
Today, at the 2017 Conference on Moving Forward with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Early Childhood, history was made when Pacific leaders pledged their support for early childhood development, to give every child in the Pacific the best start to life.
 
“This isn’t just any meeting. It is one where we have the different sectors of education, finance, health, child protection and social welfare in one place from all over the Pacific, committing to the early years of a child’s life. That is something we need to celebrate and get busy moving together on the ground,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett.
 
Reiterating his statement and congratulating the Pacific Island Countries was UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office Deputy Regional Director, Wivina Belmonte, “Congratulations to all those here on the Pasifika Call to Action for Early Childhood Development. It is a milestone in the Pacific region and it is the children of today, who will grow to be the future leaders of these countries who will benefit from this commitment.”
 
Closing the three-day meeting was Fiji’s Acting Prime Minister and Attorney General, Honourable Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum who reminded delegates, “The Pasifika Call to Action on Early Childhood Development announces our collective recognition of the important role of the early years in securing the lifetime success and well-being of our citizens.”
 
He added, “Through this endorsement of the Call to Action, we are also declaring as a region that the early years is an important component of our drive towards inclusive and sustainable prosperity.”
 
The conference outcome statement, Pasifika Call to Action for Early Childhood Development:
 
 Recognises the importance of early childhood development;
 
•Acknowledges the progress and challenges in the region;
 
•Acknowledges the role of parents, families and communities for early childhood development and;
 
•Commits to the Sustainable Development Goal Target 4.2 that calls on member countries to ensure that ‘by 2030, all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.'
 
The conference outcome statement, Pasifika Call to Action for Early Childhood Development clearly highlights the messages from the UNICEF early childhood report, Early Moments Matter: for every child, which was also launched around the world today.
 
The conference was made possible through UNICEF, in partnership with the World Bank and Pacific Regional Council for Early Childhood Care and Education (PRC4ECCE).
 
For more information, please contact: Cate Heinrich, UNICEF Pacific, +679 9925 606, cheinrich@unicef.org
Donna Hoerder, UNICEF Pacific, +679 9265518, dhoerder@unicef.org
 

SOURCE: UNICEF/PACNEWS


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