G20 reaffirms importance of early childhood development

The G20 Development Working Group (DWG) submitted recommendations for the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, key to breaking the cycle of structural poverty and inequality.

Early childhood is one of the most important stages in human life: it is key for every child’s development, future well-being and learning capacity. In Buenos Aires, the G20 Development Working Group agreed last week in Buenos Aires on proposals to invest in the development of every child’s first 1,000 days of life.

The “G20 Early Childhood Development Initiative” points out that “43% of children under five years of age are at risk of not reaching their full developmental potential due to poverty and malnutrition.” With the aim of ensuring every child has access to adequate nutrition, childcare services, health coverage and education, the recommendations suggest adopting “a multidimensional approach.”

This is the first time this issue has been addressed by the G20. The group now recognizes the link between early childhood and sustainable development, and its importance in breaking the cycle of structural poverty and inequality.

The document recognizes the importance of promoting access to health services for every child and for all women during pregnancy, child-birth and breastfeeding. It also underscores the importance of good nutrition during pregnancy and in early childhood as a means of ensuring full development for all children. It reads that “responsive care is one of the most fundamental elements for optimal child  development,” while advocating for the necessity for quality and inclusive childcare services, which would contribute to reducing the gender gap through women’s labour inclusion.

The document also states that there are currently 70 million children aged up to six years old who have spent their entire lives in conflict zones. “All children should be allowed to develop and thrive in a secure and safe environment,” the document reads.

Given this context, the initiative calls for taking action in three priority areas: financing and investing in early childhood programmes, assessing and monitoring the impact of these programmes, and international cooperation.

 

About the meeting

Participants at the Third Meeting of the G20 Development Working Group also agreed on another three documents: “G20 Call on Financing for Inclusive Business”, “G20 High Level Principles on Sustainable Habitat through Regional Planning,” and the “Buenos Aires Update” of the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda.