Small asks for BIG impact: Investing in the early years for sustainable development and peaceful societies

Small asks for BIG impact: Investing in the early years for sustainable development and peaceful societies

Side-event held during the 2019 U.N. High-level Political Forum (HLPF)

The above video slideshow captures the spirit of the U.N. High-level Political Forum side-event held at UNICEF NY.  

Can investing in the early years lead to sustainable development and peaceful societies?

NEW YORK, NY—On 17 July 2019, the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC) co-hosted a special event at UNICEF House entitled, Small Asks for BIG Impact: Investing in the Early Years for Sustainable Development and Peaceful Societies.The opportune event coincided with the annual United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development HLPF2019. It drew a crowded and captivated audience of people representing multiple societal sectors. The event accentuated early childhood (age 0-6) as a critical window of opportunity to invest in early childhood development (ECD) services that offer a unique opportunity to make a cost-effective and sustainable impact on interrupting cycles of poverty and violence (ECPC, 2018). 

A distinguished panel of seven high-level experts from science, practice, governance and civil society presented on the growing evidence base for investing early, including how early childhood programs and services contribute to multiple 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to building ‘The Culture of Peace’. 

Event summary

► For a recap of the live event coverage on Twitter, see #ECD4SDGs

► For a summary of the panel presentations, read “Small Asks” event makes BIG impact during 2019 U.N. High-level Political Forum, by ECPC News.


  1. Dr. Anita Asiimwe, Coordinator, National Early Childhood Development Program, Rwanda
  2. Mr. Sherajul Islam, Vice MInister, Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  3. DED Mr. Omar Abdi, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF
  4. Ms. Nargis BigzadDirect Response Associate, International Rescue Committee
  5. Joan Lombardi, Ph.D., Director, Early Opportunities LLC; former US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development (2009-2011) [Moderator]
  6. Charles Nelson, Ph.D., Director of Research at Boston Children’s Hospital; Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
  7. Rima Salah, Ph.D., Chair, Early Childhood Peace Consortium; former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations 

► To learn more about these experts and their work, please read their speaker biographies.

Event sponsor

This event was supported in part by a grant from the Foundation Open Society Institute in cooperation with the Early Childhood Program of the Open Society Foundations.

Event co-hosts

This event was co-hosted by the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh and Rwanda to the United Nations, UNICEF, the Moving Minds Alliance, the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC), and the NGO Committee on Migration.

Recommended reading

  1. Medium (2019) | How investing in early childhood contributes to the Global Goals, by Mari Ullman et al. 
  2. ECPC background paper (2018) | Contributions of early childhood development programming to sustainable peace and development, by Chelsea Donaldson et al.
  3. ECPC Brief (2017) | Contributions of early childhood development services to preventing violent conflict and sustaining peace, by Chelsea Donaldson et al.


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