Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Head of the Office of Development Affairs and Martyrs’ Families at the Presidential Court and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), the WED Innovation Lab will take place at Yas Acres Golf and Country Club from 22-26 January 2024.

After the successful launch of WED at COP28 UAE, which effectively incorporated children’s early learning years into the global climate conversation, Abu Dhabi's Early Childhood Authority will host the WED Innovation Lab as part of the run-up to hosting the second WED Forum in Abu Dhabi in October 2024.

Participants will have the opportunity to begin activities that will lead to presenting final ideation prototype pitches to a high-profile jury. Led by WED Chair Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, the jury will prioritise the most viable outputs for piloting and implementation. Part of the planned Innovation Lab activities involve visits to local schools and play areas, to encourage WED experts to actively observe and meaningfully engage with children and their caregivers, giving the experts a clear understanding of the ECD ecosystem and enabling them to develop innovative ideas to ensure a child friendly environment at all levels.

Her Excellency Sana Mohamed Suhail, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, said: “The Innovation Lab is a transformative concept that ECA is organising to gather experts for a week of immersive activities and events leading to the WED Forum, which will examine the developmental and social challenges across the three core interrelated themes of Intentional Parenting, Culture and Identity, and Sustainable and Family-friendly Cities.

“We are delighted to be welcoming to the lab a number of high-profile advisers from global philanthropic organisations, government, NGOs, stakeholders and the private sector, who will work through challenges related to the WED themes and examine strategies to ensure that ECA resonates and aligns with Emirati culture and upholds global awareness throughout the ideation and prototyping process. Our goal is to position the UAE as the catalyst for sustainable and positive change in early childhood development through advocacy, investment and innovation.”

The Innovation Lab will welcome more than 30 regional and international experts from diverse sectors who will be working together to pave the way for innovative outcomes to ensure a world-class, child-friendly ecosystem, not only for the children of Abu Dhabi but also for those in the UAE and beyond.

Established by Abu Dhabi's Early Childhood Authority to galvanise cross-sector multidisciplinary action, and with the aim of creating a platform that discusses early childhood development issues and strengthens international stakeholder relationships with the intention of influencing policy and informing the public, the WED movement gathers local, regional and international experts and innovators to develop optimal solutions that positively impact the lives of young children and advance the early childhood development sector.