23.09.2014 - ODG

“Champions for Early Childhood Development"

© UNESCOUNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova at the Breakfast of Champions for Early Childhood Development, New York, September 2014.

On 23 September, the Director-General, Irina Bokova participated in the Breakfast of Champions for Early Childhood Development, convened by UNICEF at the UN in New York and co-sponsored by the Government of Chile and the Government of Rwanda.

The Breakfast saw speeches by HE Ms Michelle Bachelet, President of the Republic of Chile, Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF, as well as HE Dr Agnes Binagwaho, Minister of Health for the Republic of Rwanda, the First Lady of Colombia, Ms Maria Clemencia Rodriguez de Santos, as well as speakers from the WHO, Harvard University and Columbia University -- including Jeffrey Sachs who spoke on the need to fund ECCE in the future development agenda.

Speaking before a packed room, Irina Bokova underlined the importance of early childhood care and education.

"Early childhood care and development is one of the greatest equalizers that makes for better health, better nutrition and has positive impact on later school learning and achievement," said the Director-General.

She spoke of the importance of the UNESCO World Conference held in Moscow in 2010 and progress since then, in integrating ECCE into national education policies, but stressed the need to do more. She underlined here the importance of working with Governments at the national level and also to ensure ECCE finds a key place in the post 2015 sustainable development agenda.

"We must be vigilant because this is critical for humanity," said Irina Bokova.

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