The CEPPs Manifesto

Message from the CEPPs Founding Partners

“Far too many children across all nations in the world do not have the start in life they need.  And the evidence is now clear about just how much this costs our societies in social, health and economic terms. That is why we are delighted to present this manifesto – because it not only puts a spotlight on the critical importance of acting early to improve outcomes for mothers and children but, if adopted widely, it will also contribute directly to the achievement the UN 2030 Agenda.”
1001 Critical Days

The Mother and Child Manifesto

The early years of life, from conception, through pregnancy, to age three, represent a crucial period of rapid development and change for a child. During this period the brain develops faster than at any other period in life.

These critical early years are the foundations that shape a child’s future physical and mental health, growth, development, self-confidence, happiness, and learning achievement at school. They have a life-long impact not only for themselves, but also for families, communities and societies.

However, still far too many children across all nations in the world do not have the start in life they are entitled to, especially when they live in poverty or face other forms of adversity.

International Initiatives

Public awareness about the importance of investing in maternal and child health and early childhood development (ECD) is steadily growing along with mounting scientific evidence and the implementation of many related large-scale programs. A focus on ECD epitomizes the concept of ‘sustainability’ in the UN 2030 Agenda. The increasing number of initiatives at international level highlights this issue as key, not only to progress on health and the human rights of women, children and adolescents, but also to achieve the UN 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Social and Economic Benefits

A focus on early pregnancy and childhood development brings high rates of return across the life course. Amongst other returns the UN Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health estimates:

  • At least a 10-fold return on investments through better educational attainments, workforce participation and social contributions
  • At least US$100 billion in demographic dividends from investments in early childhood and adolescent health and development.

The Origins of CEPPs

The CEPPs have been created by a group of organisations working in the delivery of maternal and child health and early childhood development. They are based on evidence from real-life initiatives operating today in a number of countries that are transforming the lives of mothers, young children and communities. Practical experience has convinced us of the importance of acting early to improve the outcomes for mothers and children. We have partnered to propose the CEPPs as a common and complementary policy framework for implementing ECD programmes.

  • CEPPs extends the critical window for early childhood development to the prenatal period of child development.
  • CEPPs includes physical and mental health.
  • CEPPs puts parents and caregivers at the centre, especially mothers, whose role is pivotal throughout pregnancy, birth and during the first years of life: beyond nutrition and basic health, it is responsive early parenting and nurturing care that can make the difference and allow a child to develop to their full potential and thrive.
  • CEPPs is implementation-oriented and supports partnerships and improved bottom-up & cross-sector collaboration between governments, professionals and civil society organisations involved in health, education and social care.

The childhood and early parenting principles (CEPPs) set out in this Mother and Child Manifesto propose interventions based on evidence and best practice and importantly, seek to evaluate new interventions in a rigorous scientific manner.

The Aims of CEPPs

CEPPs aims to do for mothers and young children what the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) of the UN Global Compact are doing for women in the workplace. It is a set of 7 principles that provide a common policy framework for a unified multi-sector and multi-stakeholder engagement with governments at all levels – with the single aim of ensuring that every child grows in a safe and nurturing environment and develops to their full potential.

In turn, CEPPs has the transformative potential to break the persistent inter-generational cycles of poverty and adversity, contribute to scaling up the implementation of the SDGs, and ultimately bring about fairer and more peaceful societies.

With this manifesto, we invite you to discover the CEPPs initiative and read about the rationale behind this proposal. We also invite you to take action by becoming partner or supporter, or by joining a CEPPs network. Your expertise and experience will be welcome.

The evidence is compelling – if we can give children and young people a good start in life, it will make a fundamental contribution to societies around the world and to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (The UN Sustainable Development Goals).

CEPPs involve Action! So we invite you to get involved and to encourage your organisation or your government to adopt and implement these critical seven childhood and early parenting principles.
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Read the Manifesto

Manifesto Part 1 The Mother and Child Manifesto >>
Manifesto Part 2 The Call to Action >>
Manifesto Part 3 The Research Base >>

Support the Mother and Child Manifesto - become a CEPPs Partner or Supporter.