UNICEF launches three reports on Early Childhood Development

UNICEF launches three reports on Early Childhood Development

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives on Tuesday, in collaboration with UNICEF launched three reports of Early Childhood Development (ECD) Policy Mapping in Pakistan, National Policy Dialogue and Parenting Package (Key Family Care Practices).

Dr Jahanzeb Khan, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, said that children are the future of the nation and need to be nurtured to be productive members of the society. “To reap the demographic dividend the government is undertaking reforms with the support of developments partners,” he added.

Dr. Khan further noted that Early Childhood Development Policy is a sustainable way of putting in place solid foundation for building human capital and to break intergenerational cycle of poverty. He highlighted that primary work has to go on provincial and local domain while federal government would support the program.

The DCPC advised to design interventions timely in order to make the programs, part of the fiscal budget 2022-2023. It was also said that a coordinated approach between all the stakeholders including private sector academia, research and media have to be adopted.

Secretary Planning, Abdul Aziz Uqaili said that Government of Pakistan is fully cognizant of the importance of ECD and its relationship with optimal child rearing for human resource development and economic growth and development in the long run.

He informed that Sustainable Development is the priority of the Government with the International commitments focusing on food security, nutrition, poverty, health and education. He appreciated Nutrition Section / Scaling Up Nutrition Team along with technical assistance of Nutrition Development partners especially UNICEF for ECD program in Pakistan for taking the initiative.

While appreciating the Ministry of Planning, UNICEF’s Country Representative Ms Aida Girma said that the reports can be instrumental in supporting the Govt of Pakistan to rollout and scale up integrated and proven ECD. The Provincial Government representatives including AJ&K and GB later shared their perspective and recommendations to be incorporated in the program.

It is to be noted that in order to ensure that young children in Pakistan have the best start in life, and achieve their optimal development potential, a study on ECD policy mapping was commissioned by the scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Unit at the Ministry of Planning, supported by UNICEF, to understand the policy environment and land scape of ECP in Pakistan from a life cycle perspective. Consultations were conducted with diverse stakeholders at the federal, provincial and regional levels for an insight on the status, challenges and opportunities for ECD in Pakistan.