1. Early Childhood Development (ECD) was brought to the forefront of discussions, and deemed essential to the future of a country’s economic and labour competitiveness
In a blog published at the start of the forum, it was demonstrated that “early childhood is key to a productive current workforce as well as nations’ future success”. Research has shown that children from lower income backgrounds, by the age of three, have half the vocabulary of their peers from more advantaged backgrounds. This lower income cohort is more likely to start primary school 18 months behind their more advantaged peers, and be at a math skill level that indicates lower reading achievement later in their school lives. One study, spanning twenty years in Jamaica, foundthat participants in an early childhood program had 25% higher wages than non-participants.
In other words, investment in a child’s early life is strongly connected to their outcomes in school and overall skill trajectory into adulthood. An investment during this stage is an investment in a country’s future human capital.
Data continues to highlight the benefits of investing in a child’s early development and there is a strong case to be made for adding indicators like stunting to the global competitiveness index, which is used to assess countries’ economic competitiveness. Adding an indicator like stunting would be a win for children everywhere and would help nations recognize that addressing inequities in health and education will also benefit economic development.
Learn more here.
2. Six key numbers in the fight to end polio
With the global last push to end polio by 2019, the World Economic Forum gave world leaders six reasons why this is a fight worth winning.
|3||The number of countries where polio is still endemic|
|155||The number of countries involved in the largest coordinated vaccine switch in history|
|60||The amount in billions of dollars that infectious disease epidemics cost per year|
|20||The number, in millions, of volunteers participating to eradicate polio|
|1.5||The amount in billions of dollars needed to end polio for good|
|4||The factor by which health savings exceed the cost of polio eradication|
Read the full blog here.
3. Gender equality is a global economic issue
Gender equality was a big topic at this year’s World Economic Forum, with notable speaker Ariana Huffington discussing women in business and leadership roles. David Nabarro (Candidate for Director General of the World Health Organization)spoke to the deficits in the health sector in accessing and engaging with women and girls, and showed how this relates to their human rights and participation in society.
For the first time in history, a fifth of the delegates that participated in Davos were women, up “from 18% in 2016 and 17% the year before.”
This notable increase in women’s participation also highlighted the need for more work to be done. As Women Deliver tweeted, “If women participated in the economy equally to men, it could add $28 trillion to the annual global GDP. #WEF17 #DeliverforGood”
The good news is that world leaders are talking about gender equality and #genderequality was one of the top issues tweeted about that was tweeted about during Davos.
4. Shakira received the Crystal Award for her continued work in child health and development
In Shakira’s acceptance speech for the Crystal Award, awarded for her ongoing work with UNICEF, she stated, “We know more than ever about the early years of child development – especially that of the brain. The brain of a child who is more nourished and nurtured, played with and read to, protected from factors like stress and conflict, has the best chance of developing its full potential because it’s proven that children receive proper care in those first five years, do better in school and in life.”
She used the platform to call on leaders around the world, and in her home of Colombia, to act on the imperative need to invest in a child’s early life. Shakira emphasized to world leaders that there “isn’t a moment to lose” when it comes to early childhood development.
Watch the speech here.
5. The World Food Program and UNICEF launched “Healthy Not Hungry” with Jamie Oliver and chefs from around the world
The Healthy Not Hungry campaign was launched at an event hosted by the World Food Program, with Jamie Oliver, Shakira and renowned chefs. Healthy Not Hungry builds on the World Food Program’s Zero Hunger campaign, and aims to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger) and Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-Being) by 2030.
Participating chefs from around the world will use their expertise and raise awareness around malnutrition, and access to food, while also addressing health issues for children. This is an ongoing campaign that was officially launched at the World Economic Forum.
Learn more about the campaign and how to get involved here.