By: Pai Mulitalo-Ale – Nadi Fiji, 23 October, 2019:
The drive for “Pasifika call to action on ECD” was cemented through a forum this week in Fiji aimed at convening ways to practically improve and upgrade Early Childhood Development in the Pacific.
The forum was supported by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and brought 15 Pacific countries together, to show their commitment for early childhood development.
The “Pasifika call to action on ECD” was endorsed for young children in 2017 and this week the forum looked at ways to ensure sufficient education for early childhood development is conducted and no child is left behind.
Discussions focused on challenges and strategies specific to the Pacific Region.
UNICEF Pacific Representative, Mr Sheldon Yett during his opening remarks said time for talk is over and there’s now a need for action.
“The Pacific’s children need actions not just words and commitment,” said Mr Yett.
“This is why it was important for UNICEF to convene this forum for all of us to share concrete achievements – in terms of policies, systems strengthening, services and programmes and to discuss with each other what we should be doing to make these ECD initiatives scalable, sustainable and inclusive. The mandate to follow up on implementation of Pasifika Call to Action was given to UNICEF at the 2017 conference.”
The work carried out by UNICEF is guided by the SDG’s principles of leaving no one behind according to Mr Yett.
“With ECD they are intervening at the most critical stage of human development when they are in a better position to break the vicious cycle of intergenerational and structural poverty and inequality of opportunities, ensuring that no child, anywhere in the Pacific is left behind.
“The UNICEF will continue to work together with the Government of New Zealand and other Pacific Island countries to make sure that the Pacific Islands can be a better home for children.”
Samoas committment was shown by a high level delegation led by the Minister of Finance Sili Epa Tuioti, the Minister and CEO of Social Development, and the CEO of Education.