What future do we want for young children? The role of early childhood care and development in the post-MDG agenda

Children's Policy Centre

Event details


Date & time

Thursday 14 March 2013


Springbank Room, Crawford School of Public Policy, #132 Lennox Crossing, ANU


Dr Pia Britto, Yale University; and various


Mari Fitzpatrick
03 9672 3677
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 on Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) and its role in the post-MDG agenda will feature keynote speaker Dr Pia Britto from Yale University, an internationally renowned early childhood specialist and researcher. Bringing together academics and students, civil society organisations and donors, the symposium will be an opportunity to discuss, debate and inform current direction in policy, practice and investment in ECCD focusing specifically on the post-MDG agenda and the key themes of inclusion, equity, security and social protection.

This symposium is presented by the Children’s Policy Centre at Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU, in partnership with Plan International Australia.

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