JOINT PRESS RELEASE
KATHMANDU, 5 June 2018 – Right Honorable Prime Minister of Nepal Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli inaugurated the 2018 Asia-Pacific Regional Early Childhood Development (ECD) Conference and 3rd Asia-Pacific Regional Policy Forum on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) today. The three-day event, being hosted by Government of Nepal, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, includes participation from around 700 high level policy makers, government officials, development professionals, researchers as well as representatives from organizations working in early childhood development, care and education from 40 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Addressing to the inauguration ceremony, Rt. Hon'ble Prime Minister Oli said, “Early childhood development is one of the priorities of Government of Nepal. The constitution of Nepal has guaranteed holistic early childhood development for all children. Nepal has opened its new chapter of prosperity and development. The goal now is to lead the country into sustainable development in newly federalized structure. We understand that quality early childhood development will play critical role in this goal.”
The 2016 Lancet Early Childhood Development Series highlights that young children’s healthy development depends on nurturing care which contributes to better health, nutrition, responsive caregiving, safety and security, and early learning. It emphasizes the need for nurturing care to take place in the context of families and through service providers across many sectors such as health, nutrition, education, child and social protection.
The 2018 regional ECD conference seeks to provide stronger focus on investing in and scaling up effective multi-sectoral ECD programmes for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by the countries. The conference is being jointly convened with the Third High-Level Asia-Pacific Regional Policy Forum on ECCE which provides a platform for policy-makers of Asia and Pacific countries to share experiences and lessons learnt in developing and implementing ECCE policies and discuss innovative strategies to improve the equity and quality of ECCE within the region. The policy forum expected to develop and finalize a Regional Action Strategy on the operationalization and monitoring of SDG target 4.2.
"Both more exacting scientific evidence and more innovative practical experience are making clear the importance of a multi-sectoral approach to the promotion and successful implementation of ECD programmes - and therefore to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Dr Sheldon Shaeffer, ARNEC's Chair of the Board of Directors. “This week's event in Nepal – combining both the annual ARNEC ECD conference and a high-level policy dialogue on ECD – should be especially critical in helping to ensure that such multi-sectoral approaches succeed throughout Asia and the Pacific and beyond. In the support of this goal, speakers with global reputations and planners and practitioners responsible for successful policies and practices including those found in Nepal, will be featured."
Dr Aisha Yousafzai, Associate Professor of Global Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a keynote speaker at the conference further highlighted the importance of taking multi-sectoral approach when it comes to care and development of young children.
“Parents think about all the needs of their child including health, safety and education. Parents do not separate or compartmentalize their child’s needs,” said Dr. Yousafzai. “Therefore, a multi-sectoral approach to early childhood development must also respond to the holistic needs of young children. Effective multi-sectoral approaches encompass a shared vision for young children guided by a multi-sectoral national or regional policy coordination between sectors to ensure each child is receiving all services, and monitoring of progress that reflects the efforts of many services providers.”
The Regional ECD Conference is organized by the Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC) www.arnec.net including it’s core partners United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Regional Office for East Asia and the Pacific http://www.unicef.org/eapro/ and Regional Office for South Asia and http://www.unicef.org/rosa/; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) http://bangkok.unesco.org/; Plan International www.plan-international.org/; Open Society Foundations https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/; Save the Children www.savethechildren.org and Child Fund International https://www.childfund.org/. The 3rd Asia-Pacific Regional Policy Forum on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is led by UNESCO.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Baikuntha Prasad Aryal, Joint Secretary/Spokesperson, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Kyungah Bang, Programme Officer, UNESCO Bangkok Email: email@example.com