ReadyNation: Business leaders highlight importance of early childhood programmes in letter to UN

Published March 16, 2015

Quality early childhood programmes create the foundation for workforce productivity and economic prosperity around the globe. That’s the message that the business leader group ReadyNation is sending to the United Nations in a new open letter released last week. The letter, signed by 51 business leaders spanning four continents, stresses the connection between quality early childhood programmes and a host of beneficial outcomes. It urges the United Nations to prioritize early childhood programmes in its final Sustainable Development Goals Report, to be released at the General Assembly this September.

ReadyNation members spoke out in support of the letter’s message. Former Procter & Gamble CEO John Pepper reiterated the importance of the issue. “Early childhood development is the compelling economic, social and moral issue of our time,” Pepper explained. “It helps provide all children with the opportunity they deserve to develop their natural abilities. It is also the most effective way to build the workforce and customer base we need. Investing in young children’s healthy development is a financial and social imperative for any country.”

Gideon Badagawa, the Executive Director of Private Sector Foundation Uganda – partner of the Bernard van Leer Foundation and another ReadyNation member – remarked “A commitment to high-quality early childhood programmes should be a global priority. Research shows that such programmes can yield positive results across diverse cultures and nations. We need to act now to start our youngest learners on the path to success.”

In the letter, ReadyNation cites extensive research showing that high-quality, evidence-based investments in early childhood programmes increase the chances that children will succeed in school and in life. ReadyNation’s Director Dr. Sara Watson points out that, “Starting children on the path to adult success helps create a well-trained workforce, which is a key component of addressing international priorities ranging from economic development to energy to conflict resolution.”

ReadyNation’s letter to the United Nations is an unmistakable signal that investing in early childhood programmes is a growing priority for business leaders around the world.

ReadyNation is a business membership organization with more than 1,100 executives, including current and former Fortune 500 CEOs, who advocate for strengthening the global economy and workforce through public and private investments in early childhood development.