How Does Early Childhood Development Factor in to the Post-2015 Agenda?

Jun 13, 2014 |

One of the main outcomes of the United Nations (UN) Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, was the agreement by Member States to launch a process to develop a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs). A 30-member Open Working Group (OWG) of the General Assembly is tasked with preparing a proposal on the SDGs. View the status updates on proposed goals and targets.

To facilitate this process, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN): A Global Initiative for the United Nations has mobilized scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society and the private sector in support of sustainable development problem solving on the local, national and global scales. The SDSN’s Thematic Group on Early Childhood Development, Education, and Transition to Work identifies three different areas of focus: first, an accelerated effort to complete, with a renewed focus, the promise of universal primary education as laid out by the MDGs. Second, improve learning in early childhood and at the primary level and think about post-primary expansion in a way that combines the twin objectives of learning and access. Third, prepare a population for the challenges of sustainable development through training not just in basic numeracy and literacy, but also in advanced 21st century skills (cognitive, analytical, social, cultural, civic and emotional); investing in children beginning at birth – long before they enter schools; and extending learning opportunities across the lifespan to build new competencies in multiple generations. In short, create a comprehensive, lifelong and multigenerational approach to learning that will maximize the world’s potential for sustainable development.

This brief calls upon the Member States of the United Nations to ensure that Early Childhood Development (ECD) is an essential component of the new global development framework.

A side event to promote ECD entitled Foundation for Sustainable Human Development for 2015 and Beyond will be hosted by the Permanent Mission of Colombia to the United Nations at the 12th Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals on Monday, June 16, 2014, from 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. at the UN Conference Building, Room 2, in New York City. For more information and/or to RSVP to the event, please contact Jessica Toale at