Dear Mr President,
We, the organisations from around the world who support action on early childhood development congratulate you on your prestigious role as incoming Chair of the G20.
We support your leadership on tackling the climate crisis as young children will be the most affected by this huge issue for the planet’s future. They will face more extreme weather events than their grandparents’ generation: seven times as many heat waves, twice as many wildfires and three times as many droughts, crop failures and river floods.
Alongside the impacts of climate change, over the past few years a confluence of factors and overlapping crises have derailed decades of progress and will require a renewed urgency to address threats and risks to young children and their families. These interlinked crises have increased poverty, food insecurity, learning losses, displacement and migration of children, and mental health issues, and have ultimately driven the Sustainable Development Goals and other global targets off track.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of the high returns of investing in early years programs, there is a woeful lack of public funding for the under 5 age group and we are facing a global early years crisis where more than half of the world’s young children are missing out on the early years childcare and preschool they urgently need.
This lack of investment has a devastating impact on a child’s future as they start school already behind their peers, deepening inequality and impacting their future chances in life and ability to cope with future crises, not of their making. Existing gender norms also mean the brunt of the global childcare crisis falls on women, with high childcare costs or lack of availability the main reason why women cannot enter into or must leave the workforce. This can have a cascading impact on gender inequality.
Five years ago, the Development Working Group of the G20 launched a new Initiative for Early Childhood Development as the foundation for creating fair and sustainable societies. The Development Working Group called for closer examination of national investments in young children given the well-documented return on investment. However, progress has been blown off course due to the Covid-19 pandemic and other global crises.
We are calling on you to revitalise the G20 Initiative for Early Childhood Development and support new commitments that prioritise investment in the early years. Given Brazil has been a leader in child’s rights and investing in early childhood development policies and programs, we urge you to carry this mantle of leadership as you take over the chair of G20.
It is time for governments to act for early years and make the necessary investments so that every child gets the best start in life.