Abu Dhabi's early-years drive to ensure brighter future for children everywhere

A new project will bring together experts to look at how children can be given the best start in life, ahead of an event in November

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An initiative to support young children around the world was launched in the UAE capital.

Abu Dhabi’s Early Childhood Authority will bring together global experts to look at how they can be given the best start in life.

ECA works on health and nutrition, child protection, early education and supports mothers from pregnancy until their children’s eighth birthdays.

The aim of the platform is to encourage the well-being of children globally, uniting the brightest minds from policymakers, researchers and private-sector institutions.

“Early-childhood development is a major priority for the Abu Dhabi Government,” said authority chairman Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed.

“We believe in the impact of a child’s early years on their lives and future, and we are looking forward to equipping young people with the knowledge and skills needed to overcome challenges, cope with change and contribute to building their communities.

“It is well known that early childhood is one of the most vital sectors on which sustainable development is based.

“Therefore, creating a safe, stable and supportive environment for children’s development and well-being is important for building children’s capabilities and preparing them for the future.”

The event was attended by Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed, chairwoman of the ECA’s higher committee; Sheikha Shamsa bint Mohamed bin Zayed and fellow members of the board.

Over the next eight months, the WED initiative will bring together global experts who will make a series of recommendations and campaigns for children and their caregivers, Sana Suhail, head of the ECA, said.

“It is a message to the world urging us to contribute to the future of our children,” she said.

“It is our responsibility to prepare for a safer, healthier future for them; to enable them to achieve the best results.”

The programme will culminate in a two-day forum hosted in Abu Dhabi this November, in conjunction with World Children’s Day, at which WED’s conclusions and recommendations will be examined.

“Imagine if we could promote a healthy lifestyle for all children. I hope to see many different milestones and gather amazing people to join the WED Movement,” said Cecilia Vaca Jones, executive director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation and co-chairwoman of WED’s working groups.

“I hope that WED will disrupt the early-childhood development system, launch new solutions and, most importantly, bring children back into the process.”