Under the patronage of Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed HE Reem Al Hashimy announced as Chair of the World Early Childhood Development (WED) Movement at COP28

  • Emirati environmentalists Ghaya Al Ahbabi and her sister Naila Al Ahbabi led discussions on child-friendly cities with UAE leaders, Mayor of Tirana and young children.
  • Intentional Parenting, Culture and Identity, and Sustainable and Family-Friendly Cities unveiled as new WED Movement themes.
  • Bi-annual WED Forum to be held in October 2024, convening policymakers, experts, practitioners, and stakeholders from across sectors.
  • WED Movement is poised to advance advocacy in early childhood development, inspiring impactful action.
  • Nine multi-disciplinary experts confirmed, with more to join the movement to tackle pressing issues faced by children in the early years.

 

Abu Dhabi, 06 Dec 2023: Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Head of the Office of Development Affairs and Martyrs’ Families at the Presidential Court and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA)announced the launchof the second edition of WED, a visionary movement uniting the UAE with global multi-disciplinary experts, partners and disruptors driving innovation and advocacy, to catalyze cross sectoral collaboration for early childhood development.

 

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, has been announced as the WED Chair of this groundbreaking movement in its second edition. The announcement was made at a special event held as part of ECA’s participation at COP28 in the presence of HE Reem Al Hashimy, Mr. Erion Velaj, Mayor of the Albanian capital, Tirana; HE Sana Suhail, Director General of Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority alongside other team members.

 

At the launch, 13 year old environmental activist Ghaya Al Ahbabi took an active role. Winner of the Environment Award for Children from the Supreme Court of Motherhood and Childhood, Ghaya led an engaging discussion with Mayor of Tirana

 

On this occasion, His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: ” 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. 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. ”

 

HE Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, reinforced her commitment to placing early childhood development at the top of local and international agendas “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.”

 

HE Sana Suhail, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, emphasized the importance of collaboration to create transformative change. “Creating the right environment for young children to thrive must be a collaborative process that relies on expertise and the experience of the entire ecosystem. WED Movement encourages cross sectoral collaboration between the UAE and global multi-disciplinary experts, partners and disruptors, to inspire innovation and to be a catalyst for sustainable change. It is well placed as an implementation pathway for the early childhood development advocacy we’ve begun here, to create better, more sustainable policies, while mobilizing financial support and driving transformative action on the issues that matter most.”

 

WED Movement focuses on three vital themes:

The new themes align with Abu Dhabi’s ECD sector strategy and consider local and global challenges faced by young children. They were selected following consultation with experts and government stakeholders.

 

Intentional Parenting: Aims to empower parents in their journey of raising young children by fostering holistic development through personalized support.

 

Culture and Identity: Emphasizes the importance of nurturing social cohesion and preserving children’s heritage and identity.

 

Sustainable and Family-friendly Cities: Focuses on revolutionizing urban development to prioritize young children, fostering health, social unity, and climate resilience.

 

Ghaya, an Emirati UNICEF Youth Advocate and Founder of the Green Buds Community, engaged Mayor Velaj in an insightful conversation about Tirana’s transformation to become a child-friendly city. Mayor Velaj, highlighted shared goals for inclusive urban spaces, emphasizing curiosity and creativity from experiences with children, bridging the UAE and Tirana.

 

Naila, from the Green Buds Community, moderated an interactive session with HE Sana Suhail, HE Hessa Tahlak, Mayor Velaj, alongside young children from Abu Dhabi city and Al Dhafra region. The children expressed their visions for smart, clean, and sustainable cities and showcased their prototypes developed during their recent involvement in the WED Children’s Discovery Workshop.

 

Showcasing a Year of Impactful, Advocacy -Led Programs

 

WED Movement facilitates dialogue, knowledge exchange, and action through a bi-annual program comprising the WED Innovation Lab, a Children’s Fun Run, a new Research Conference and a WED Output Showcase event.

 

The program culminates with the WED Forum, a knowledge stage that unites policymakers, experts, practitioners, and stakeholders from across sectors to discuss trends, strategies, policies and actionable solutions. Slated for October 2024 in Abu Dhabi, the event will also spotlight tangible outcomes from the multi-disciplinary experts joining this edition.

 

Tackling local challenges with global relevance

 

Led by WED’s multi-disciplinary experts, the movement addresses future challenges and opportunities in early childhood development through the co-creation of knowledge and the conception and implementation of innovative outputs.

 

Key figures including Parc Sen Loke (China) at the Centre for Fathering , Samuel Veissiere (Canada) from CIUSSS West-Central Montreal; Reem Al Mansouri (UAE) of Bani and AI Culture,  Natalia Krysiak (New Zealand) from Cities for Play and Sophia Schuff (Denmark) of Gehl will spearhead discussions across the themes, joined by more experts to be announced, driving the movement’s mission.

 

In this edition, experts will focus on critical areas, within a comprehensive framework aimed at fostering optimal development in young children. Starting at the Innovation Lab in January they will work alongside partners to identify issues, brainstorm solutions, and develop implementation strategies, concluding with the presentation of final outputs, prototypes and findings at the WED Forum in Abu Dhabi.

 

As a result of the first edition of the 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 aims to promote, advocate and elicit cross-sectoral collaboration to help Abu Dhabi’s young children achieve their full potential in a safe and family-friendly nurturing environment.

 

– Ends –

 

Notes to Editor: Please see below the abbreviations key used in this press release:

ECA – Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority

ECD – Early Childhood Development

WED Movement – World Early Development Movement

BWG – Breakthrough Working Group

 

About WED [World Early Development Movement]:

WED, led by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), is a visionary movement that unites the UAE with global multi-disciplinary experts, partners and disruptors driving innovation and advocacy, to catalyze cross sectoral collaboration for early childhood development. WED Movement facilitates dialogue, knowledge exchange, and action through a bi-annual program which places young children at the heart of decision-making to advocate for a sustainable future for all. The bi-annual WED Forum to be held in Abu Dhabi in October 2024 is a significant event focused on promoting and advancing early childhood development. As a knowledge stage, it serves as a platform for policymakers, experts, practitioners, and stakeholders from across sectors to discuss trends, strategies and policies, while showcasing the innovative outcomes generated by WED’s multi-disciplinary expert.

WED Movement benefits from the support of the Board of Trustees of the Abu Dhabi ECA and other Abu Dhabi Government entities involved in Early Childhood Development.

 

About ECA Abu Dhabi:

Established in 2019, the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority [ECA] is a government entity that oversees the Early Childhood Development sector in Abu Dhabi.  Focusing on the period from pregnancy to 8 years of age, Abu Dhabi ECA aims to promote optimal child development and well-being through health & nutrition, family support, child protection and early care & education.  The ECA was born out of the Government of Abu Dhabi’s long-term commitment to improving child outcomes.  The vision of the ECA is for every child to be healthy, confident, curious, and able to learn and develop strong values in a safe, family-friendly Abu Dhabi.

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