Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) has launched the second edition of the World Early Childhood Development (WED) Movement, under the patronage of Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Office of Development and Martyrs Families Affairs at the Presidential Court, and Chairman of the ECA.
The movement unites the UAE with global multidisciplinary experts, partners, and disruptors driving innovation and advocacy, to accelerate cross-sectoral collaboration for early childhood development.
The announcement was made at a special event held as part of ECA’s participation at COP28 UAE in the presence of Ms. Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, Mr. Erion Velaj, Mayor of the Albanian capital, Tirana, Ms. Sana Suhail, Director General of ECA alongside other team members.
Ms. Al Hashimy has been appointed as the WED Chair. At the launch, 13-year-old environmental activist, Ms. Ghaya Al Ahbabi, took an active role.
Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan stated that, “No nation worldwide can attain comprehensive and sustainable progress without prioritizing the early childhood sector. Children stand as the bedrock of the future, embodying the hope for a prosperous tomorrow in any society. Hence, it’s imperative to dedicate efforts towards their care and protection, providing a secure and healthy environment for their growth, development, and the acquisition of essential knowledge and skills.”
Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan further commented that, “Our aim through the WED Movement is to nurture future leaders by fostering this environment. Announced at the Conference of the Parties, Abu Dhabi continues its global initiative, reshaping the early childhood development sector globally in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations.”
The new themes align with Abu Dhabi’s ECD sector strategy and consider local and global challenges faced by young children.
The following themes include Intentional Parenting, which aims to empower parents in their journey of raising young children by fostering holistic development through personalized support, Culture, and Identity, emphasizing the importance of nurturing social cohesion and preserving children’s heritage and identity and Sustainable and Family-friendly Cities, which focuses on revolutionizing urban development to prioritize young children, fostering health, social unity, and climate resilience.
Ms. Al Hashimy remarked that, “Our collective responsibility to improve the lives of children compels us to take collaborative action. As someone deeply devoted to creating meaningful change, I am very excited about what can be achieved by shifting the narrative to prioritize putting early childhood development at the forefront of the global agenda. While the journey is only just beginning, I am dedicated to utilizing my experience and expertise to initiate this transformative shift.”
WED Movement facilitates dialogue, knowledge exchange, and action through a bi-annual program. This includes the WED Innovation Lab, a Children’s Fun Run, a new Research Conference, and a WED Output Showcase event.
The program ends with the WED Forum, a knowledge stage that brings together policymakers, experts, practitioners, and stakeholders from across sectors to discuss trends, strategies, policies, and actionable solutions.
This edition’s panel of experts will focus on critical areas, within a comprehensive framework aimed at fostering optimal development in young children.
As a result of the inaugural WED Movement, ECA, in partnership with New York University of Abu Dhabi is implementing two key outputs developed in collaboration with 16 global multi-disciplinary experts.
ECA seeks to promote, advocate, and elicit cross-sectoral collaboration in order to help Abu Dhabi’s young children achieve their full potential in a safe and family-friendly nurturing environment.