Theory of change: Early childhood development & sustainable development

Smiling Syrian refugee girl in pigtails holds hand peace sign (Turkey).
Smiling Syrian refugee girl in pigtails holds hand peace sign (Turkey). © Radek Procyk | Dreamstime Images



In a time of recurring violent conflict and societal shocks, it is vital to invest in long-term solutions that will end cycles of violence, build strong foundations for sustainable development and social cohesion and promote a “culture of peace”

Recent UN Peace and Security reports and the UN ‘Sustaining Peace’ Resolutions’ urge all United Nations agencies to contribute to sustaining peace. Although the international community recognizes that social services can contribute to restoring peace and stability there is currently limited understand of how early childhood development (ECD) services can support the prevention of violence and the promotion of peace. 

How early childhood development services promote equality and economic productivity

The issue brief, “Contributions of Early Childhood Development Services to Preventing Violent Conflict and Sustaining Peace” (ECPC, 2017), states that universal ECD services can help vulnerable children and families reach their potential by reducing inequalities and promoting sustainable economic productivity by:

  1.  Increasing human capital of children and families;

  2.  Reducing economic and educational inequalities;

  3.  Producing cost-effective programs; and

  4.  Fostering sustainable economic productivity.

The ECPC issue brief enforces that peace-relevant ECD policies must endorse:

  1.  Universal access to ECD services

  2.  Quality, multisectoral ECD packages

  3.  Context-specific and conflict-sensitive ECD services

  4.  Intergroup ECD services

  5.  Science-informed and evidence-based ECD action plans

  6.  National, implementable frameworks

  7.  Accountability systems that track financial investments

Relevant information

  1. Erin McCandless. (2012). Peace dividends and beyond: Contributions of administrative and social services to peacebuilding. United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office, New York.

  2. United Nations. (2016).  Report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its Ninth Session, A/70/714-S/2016/115

  3. United Nations General Assembly. (2016). Resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 23 December 2016, follow-up to the Declaration and Programme of action on a Culture of Peace. A/RES/71/252

  4. United Nations General Assembly Security Council. (2015). Report of the UN Independent High-Level Panel on Peace Operations, A/70/95-S/2015/446.  

  5. United Nations Security Council. (2016). UN Resolution 2282 Adopted by the Security Council at its 7680th meeting, S/RES/2282.  

Topics & initiatives


For breaking news and to stay connected, follow us on social media. Sign up to get our E-News delivered straight to your inbox.