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Pacific ECD Champions Make Waves In Malaysia

Suva, Fiji 30 May 2024 – The political will among Pacific leaders to strengthen Early Childhood Development (ECD) has caught the attention of ECD leaders in the Asia-Pacific region.

This week, the Samoan Minister for Women, Community and Social Development Honourable Mulipola Anarosa Ale Molioo and the Marshallese Minister of Culture and Internal Affairs Honourable Jess Gasper, along with six other officials from Samoa, Solomons, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu, are in Penang, Malaysia sharing success stories of their ECD commitments at the Asia-Pacific Regional Network of Early Childhood (ARNEC) Conference on ECD.

The delegates from the Pacific shared the progress made by their individual countries and as a region in line with the 2017 Pasifika Call to Action on ECD.

Honourable Molioo, who is also the Co-Chair of the Pacific Regional Council for ECD (PRC4ECD) shared Samoa's progress and challenges, as well as next steps.

"Hope for a new tomorrow began with the establishment of the Pacific Regional Council for Early Childhood Development (ECD) at the 2nd Pacific ECD Forum in 2019, following the vision of Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders outlined in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent," said Honourable Molioo.

“Samoa has made several strides in ECD as we await cabinet endorsement for ECD framework & action plan, set for launch at CHOGM this October together with its revised Child protection bill. Furthermore, we decentralized the $1 million DDP project which enhances ECD with resources, infrastructure, and training among other achievements.”

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Meanwhile Honourable Gasper chaired the Roundtable on ECD and Climate Change.

"When ECD policies, programmes and practices are appropriately financed, of high quality, distributed equitably and at the right time, and aligned with the principles of sustainable development it increases the resilience and adaptive capacity of individuals, their families, communities and the nation to the effects of climate change and emergencies,” said Honourable Gasper.

“I would like to invite all governments and experts participating in this conference, to elevate attention to the fundamental role of ECD in promoting climate resilience, adaptation, and overall sustainable development."

Mr Coswal Nelson, Deputy Secretary Fiscal from the Ministry of Finance, Solomon Islands, made the only presentation on Climate Finance and ECD, which was well-received by other leaders.

PRC4ECD Taskforce Co-Chairs, RMI Deputy Chief Secretary Abacca Anjain-Maddison, and Samoa CEO Women, Community and Social Development, Loau Donina Tili Va'a, were also called upon to present on the PRC4ECD as the first-ever in the world regional political structure for ECD.

Other presentations included Pacific culture and knowledge in early childhood curricula in Solomon Islands, ECE policy and playgroups in Tuvalu, and story time and play in multiple countries.

UNICEF support to multi-sectoral ECD in the Pacific is possible through partnerships with New Zealand MFAT, Australian DFAT, multi-donor UN SDG funds, World Bank, and UNICEF core funding. UNICEF is proud to collaborate with partners in support of Pacific country ambitions for ECD.

About PRC4ECD:

PRC4ECD is headed by the Ministers from Health, Education, Women, Finance and Social Welfare, and reports to the Pacific Leaders and contributes to the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, as well as to sectoral strategies, frameworks and priorities as set by Ministers of Education, Health, Culture, Women, Economy, Environment, and others.

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