Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton supports a new Millennium Development Goal on early childhood development

Dec 13, 2013 |

On November 20, International Children’s Day, the Brookings Institution and the China Development Research Foundation hosted a discussion on the preparation of future generations through early childhood development (ECD) and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in ECD. Madame Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State, provided keynote addresses on the importance of early childhood development programs and their potential for achieving long-term global impact.

“Investing in early childhood development,” Clinton said, “is one of the best returns on investments that a country can make to accelerate long-term economic growth and productivity.” Clinton also recommended that the post-2015 agenda should include a Millennium Development Goal on early child development. “We made great progress on the Millennium Development Goals, starting in 2000... Now we will have a new set of goals and early childhood should be, and I hope will be, up there with every other important goal to advance human development and alleviate poverty.”

A number of efforts are underway to promote inclusion of early childhood development as a key piece of the post-2015 agenda.

  • The Sustainable Development Solutions Network: A Global Initiative of the United Nations has formed a Thematic Group on Early Childhood Development, Education and Transition to Work. Download the report
  • A group of experts convened by the National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine released a commentary, proposing a new goal for the post-2015 agenda: Reduce by half the number of children under 5 who fail to reach their developmental potential.
  • The Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development has prepared a formal response to the High-Level Panel report, also proposing a global goal on early childhood development: Reduce by 50% by 2030 the 200 million children not reaching their full potential.
  • Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet released a commentary in support of a new Millennium Development Goal on early childhood development, stating: “The High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda did not mention early child development at all… Some paediatricians say that early child development is ‘the basic science of paediatrics.’ If true, the global health community has omitted a vital element for the future of children, adolescents, and adults.