By 2050, 70 percent of the world’s children will be living in cities. In this increasingly urbanized world, cities play a major role in helping all children achieve their full potential. A growing body of research from the field of early childhood development (ECD) has demonstrated conclusively that poverty, poor health, inadequate nutrition, lack of stimulation, stress, and maltreatment disrupt healthy brain development — putting children at a lifelong disadvantage.
Some farsighted cities are already working to strengthen their maternal health, nutrition, and parenting programs, to create family centers, and to increase the child-friendliness of local social services, justice systems, and public spaces. The New York Academy of Sciences created the Global Compact for Early Childhood Development (GCECD) as a platform to support civic leaders in these efforts.
This initiative is unique in its international scope and focus on improving the lives of urban children from gestation through age three (“under-3 ECD”). The ECD programs of current GCECD Member Cities reach 200,000 children, and we aspire to expand this network to include over 100 cities and reach 25 million children by 2020. A one-page brief on the program can be found here. Click here for an introductory slide presentation on the GCECD.
Our goal is to build a global collaborative network of cities committed to harnessing evidence, strengthening adaptive learning capacities, and sharing best practices, so that cities are empowered to help all children reach their full potential. We are guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as they relate to children, and by the 2016 Lancet series: “Advancing Early Childhood Development: from Science to Scale.”
Theory of Change
By linking mayors, city program leaders, and ECD experts, we will promote an exchange of evidence-based ideas and solutions, empowering urban communities to transform their ECD efforts and foster a global cultural shift toward more child-friendly cities.
Invitation to Cities
We invite mayors and senior civic leaders who care deeply about the well-being and future of their city’s youngest citizens to join the Global Compact for Early Childhood Development. JOIN US
Invitation to Partners
GCECD Member Cities are a self-selected group of “early adopters” that are already investing in young children. They are — by definition — open to testing new approaches and measuring outcomes. This network can be a powerful resource for any organization that wants to promote and support ECD innovations. PARTNER WITH US
First Early Adopter Cities Workshop
The GCECD was launched at the Academy in late 2016. Participants in the first Early Adopter Cities Workshop — Cities, Science, and Nurturing Care — included delegations from 13 cities in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, along with 25 internationally recognized ECD experts. The exchange of ideas during this event has already led to the creation of new city programs, and agreement among GCECD Members to: (1) Invite additional cities into the network; (2) Develop common standards and tools for ECD-friendly cities; and (3) Build a global movement to improve the lives of children in cities. A summary of the workshop can be found in this article. The full Workshop Report can be found here.