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Childhood development key to sustainability: UN expert

Jasmine Al Kuttab/Abu Dhabi
Filed on January 18, 2018
Childhood development key to sustainability: UN expert
Professor Yoshikawa with students on the trip to India

Countries must also invest in urban infrastructure, environmental sustainability, transportation and governance

Investing in early childhood development by the governments will help achieve UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), according to a sustainability expert.

"If we don't start investing in the next generation and strengthening education s, we are not going to be able to leave a planet that is inhabitable for the generations to come," warned Professor Hirokazu Yoshikawa, co-director of Global TIES for Children Centre at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU New York.

The professor has been part of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network that advises the Secretary-General of the UN on the development and implementation of SDG that the UN member nations ratified in 2015.

He stressed that investing in early childhood development means countries must also invest in urban infrastructure, environmental sustainability, transportation and governance.

"Without a next generation that really reaches its developmental potential, we will have nobody to serve as effective custodians of our planet, and to build a sustainable society," added Professor Yoshikawa, who is heading the ongoing J-Term class 'Children, Youth and Sustainable Development of the World's Cities.'

The professor along with a team of NYU Abu Dhabi students travelled to New Delhi, India, last week, as part of their research on how the education of the next generation is key to the survival of the planet.

"We visited preschools and primary schools that demonstrate partnerships between government and NGOs to build quality education systems.

"New Delhi is a fantastic example of a mega city that has innovative initiatives in education and child development, in the context of major struggles with sustainability," said Professor Yoshikawa.

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