National Academy of Medicine

Beyond Survival: The Case for Investing in Young Children Globally

By G. Huebner, N. Boothby, J. L. Aber, G. L. Darmstadt, A. Diaz, A. S. Masten, H. Yoshikawa, I. Redlener, A. Emmel, M. Pitt, L. Arnold, B. Barber, B. Berman, R. Blum, M. Canavera, J. Eckerle, N. A. Fox, J. L. Gibbons, S. W. Hargarten, C. Landers, C. A. Nelson III, S. D. Pollak, V. Rauh, M. Samson, F. Ssewamala, N. St Clair, L. Stark, R. Waldman, M. Wessells, S. L. Wilson, and C. H. Zeanah
June 16, 2016 | Discussion Paper

Investing in young children globally is a primary means of achieving sustainable human, social, and economic development, all of which are vital to ensuring international peace and security. Strategic investments in children have been recognized by the world’s leaders in their recent adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to further peace, end global poverty, and ensure that all human beings can fulfill their potential in dignity. For the first time, early childhood development is acknowledged as a critical part of the global development agenda. Although child development is explicitly referenced under the new education goal, it is naturally linked to other goals—reducing poverty, improving health and nutrition, promoting equality for girls and women, and reducing violence. Indeed, coordinated, evidence-based investments must be made across sectors to ensure that more and more children not only survive but also thrive.

This paper is a call to action, informed by science from multiple disciplines. We hope it will help to close the gap between what is known and what is done to support the development of children globally and, in turn, sustainable progress for communities and nations.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.