1 MARCH 2017 – The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN will open a large scale regional conference focused on Early Childhood Development in Siem Reap today with delegates from 36 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The conference, titled ‘The Transformative Power of Early Childhood Development: The importance of holistic interventions, will be attended by 530 national and international professionals including 12 Ministers and high-level policy makers who will look to share and learn about approaches to improving child wellbeing at the early stages of life.
Prime Minister HUN SEN says: ”Since the end of the Khmer regime in 1979, learning opportunities have been available for all kindergarten children. Kindergartens have contributed to building children’s characters, attitudes and prior knowledge for preparing them both for primary school” “Cambodia loves children and perceives them as future leaders and human capital”.
Events in the first few years of a child’s life are formative and play a vital role in shaping social, emotional, learning and health outcomes. The 2016 Lancet Early Childhood Development Series highlights that young children’s healthy development depends on nurturing care which ensures health, nutrition, responsive caregiving, safety and security, and early learning. The widely-respected Series emphasises the need to deliver interventions across many different sectors, especially to the most disadvantaged children. These include investments in nutrition, education and social protection, among others. As said by Dr. Sheldon Shaeffer, ARNEC’s Chair of the Board of the Directors: “The ARNEC Vision 2020 states, “One of the key region-specific challenges is improving equitable access to early childhood development. There is inadequate attention to equity, particularly access for young children from disadvantaged groups on account of location, language/ethnicity, gender, disability, income and/or economic status. ”
“There is clear scientific evidence that the first thousand days of life, from conception to a child’s second birthday, have a significant impact on that child’s wellbeing and development,” said Karin Hulshof, UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific. “Quality care during pregnancy, proper breastfeeding, adequate nutrition, nurturing care, and early education all play a role in building healthy children who can maximize their potential as they grow. The future of a nation’s children, and the sustainability of its economic growth, depend more than ever on investing in children, building health and cognitive capital in their early years. Investing in children is the right thing to do and it’s the smart thing to do.”
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