Pacific Regional Council for Early Childhood Development

Pacific Island governments endorse the inclusion of Action Point 10 to the Pasifika Call to Action on ECD

NADI, 22 February, 2023 – Today, government ministers from 15 Pacific island countries and from several sectors, including education, finance, health and social welfare, formally endorsed the addition of Action Point 10 of the Pasifika Call to Action on Early Childhood Development (ECD) at the 2023 Pacific ECD Forum in Nadi, Fiji.

Co-Chair of the Pacific Regional Council for Early Childhood Development, Samoa’s Minister for Finance, Honourable Mulipola Anarosa Ale Molioo, made the announcement to participants, applauding the resounding commitment and political will of Pacific leaders to move forward with concrete actions to prioritise children as part of concerted efforts to build the resilience of the Pacific community.

"We heard the cries of our children and the aching of our youth today. They do not want any more talk, they want action. We heard our leaders today, it takes a village, a community and a country to raise a child. This is our calling," she said.

Action Point 10 of the Pasifika Call to Action on ECD, prioritises early childhood development as a pathway to increase the resilience and adaptive capacity of communities to the effects of climate change and other emergencies, and promote close collaboration between the areas of ECD and natural resources, environment and sustainable development to create a better future for children in the region.

"Thank you for fighting for my future," said 9 year old Aiyanna Nacewa of Fiji, during a children's talanoa on the impact of climate change on the region's youngest citizens. "Keep fighting to protect the mountains, hills and rivers because sometimes people will throw their rubbish and it will hurt a lot of animals. Protect the oceans and beaches because sometimes we can't go there as there is a lot of rubbish," she added.

In his welcoming remarks at the high level forum, the Prime Minister of Fiji, Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka, and Pacific Champion for Early Childhood Development said "Nurturing the human capital of the Pacific starts from its very foundation – the earliest years - when we have a singular window of opportunity to make the most impact on both the lifelong trajectories of our children, and the sustainable development of our nations."

The forum participants include government representatives, stakeholders and regional partners. Over the next three days, they will discuss what progress has been made to support the full realisation of children’s potential, the challenges faced, as well as identify country-specific actions that maximise the value of ECD investments.

“Across countries, there is a resounding recognition of the importance of reaching across ministries to ensure children enjoy a comprehensive package of support. In partnership with your governments, UNICEF will continue to support the full realization of the rights of every child in the Pacific, starting from the early years,” said Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF Pacific Representative.

The Pacific Regional Council for Early Childhood Development, has convened the forum this week, with support from UNICEF Pacific, the Government of New Zealand and other regional partners.