The interactive sessions led by children representing the Early Childhood Authority and their partners at Youth Hub at COP28 at Expo City Dubai Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: The second edition of World Early Childhood Development (WED) Movement, a global platform for creating and spreading knowledge for the advancement of Early Childhood Development (ECD), was announced at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai on Monday.

Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, was appointed as WED Movement Chair at a press conference at Expo City Dubai. The conference held at COP28 was designed to create solutions for future challenges of culture, climate and city planning and design.

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Reem Al Hashimy addressing the gathering Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

An interactive session led by children representing the Early Childhood Authority (ECA) in Abu Dhabi and their partners hosted a conversation on the need for a sustainable future.

Sisters Ghaya Al Ahbabi and Naila Al Ahbabi anchored the event alongside other children from Abu Dhabi and the Al Dhafra region - Khadija Sulaiman, Fatima Al Mansoori, Yousef Ibrahim and Anna Hill. The children discussed solutions to conserve energy such as introducing more battery-operated road and air transportation and more. Also present at the conference was Mayor Erion Veliaj, Mayor of Tirana, Albania who was part of the discussion alongside the children on how to lead a sustainable life.

Sana Suhail, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, said launch of the second edition of WED movement is crucial to the early years of children’s development.

Sana said: “COP28 is a chance for the world to come together and find ways to forge better outcomes on everything from promoting sustainability, equity in our society and protecting our planet. We are launching the next edition of WED here at COP28 because it is a critical moment in deciding humanity’s future.”

She added: “We urge that not only children of today, but that of unborn generations continue our legacy. Creating the right environment for young children to live in must be a collaborative process that relies on expertise and experiences of caregivers, policymakers, practitioners. Every voice is essential for this to work.”

Sana continued: “At COP28, we have launched the second edition of WED and we are ready to go further, be bolder and aim higher as we fulfil the vision of enabling every child to achieve their full potential in a safe and family friendly environment.”

About the WED movement

The WED movement aims to create a collaborative, innovative, and effective early childhood development sector. It’s vision is to curate and generate an exchange of insights between experts, educators, and community stakeholders that can be shared globally for all to learn from. The movement aims to guide parents, caregivers, and other community stakeholders through navigating some of the most common obstacles they are facing in the ECD sector.

‘Crucial concerns’

Sana said: “After working extensively with parents, and children, we narrowed down the 50 most crucial concerns and areas of interest. We divided them into three interconnected themes to explore new ways to support the health, well-being and holistic development of the children. These themes are intentional parenting, cultural identity, and the creation of sustainable and family friendly cities.”

“We are nurturing a generation equipped with resilience and wisdom, urging them to see things differently and dare to dream of new ways to improve the presence of child’s future.”

Reem Al Hashimy, who was appointed WED Movement Chair, said: “The way we can make lasting and impactful change is to start right from the beginning. The earlier we instil positive behaviours, love for nature, love for the environment in our young children, the more it will have a positive outcome in the world. My commitment is fuelled by a dedicated purpose to reshape the discourse that we now have about children.”

She added: “As Chair, I will make sure that my focus lies in fostering international collaboration to create a beneficial influence on the well-being of children. The women’s movement aims to unite multi-disciplinary experts, experts from different sectors and different spheres together, but it also aims to include children in that conversation from the UAE and also across the globe. And the ultimate goal is to envision a world where young children can flourish in a healthy, safe and stimulating environment that they too have been part of creating, whether it’s in their homes, or their schools.”