Colombian pop star Shakira has met with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the importance of providing funding for early childhood development.
The singer urged global leaders to invest heavily, in the wake of new science that is creating a revolutionary shift in our understanding of the lasting effects of deprivation and stress on the developing brains of young children.
Held on 22 September, the press conference also saw the the 38-year-old speak out about the devastating photo of drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi.
Singer Shakira speaks during a press conference following the Meeting Of The Minds: Investing In Early Childhood Development
Shakira said: "More than 100 million children are out of school and 159 million boys and girls under five are physically and cognitively stunted due to a lack of care and proper nutrition,
“Every year that passes without us making significant investment in early childhood development and initiatives that address these issues, millions of kids will be born into the same cycle of poverty and lack of opportunity.”
“UNICEF and I have joined forces and are here today because investing early in children is an urgent matter and there isn't another moment to lose."
The goodwill ambassador also spoke out about the devastating photo of drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi.
"It is without a doubt one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time.
"The image of that little boy washed up on the shore is a tragic one and one that we shouldn't ignore and shouldn't forget.
"It should humanize the plight of the refugees because children should not pay the price of war and because all of us have a responsibility today and we cannot escape it" she said.
The event preludes this week’s announcement of the new Sustainable Development Goals, which will officially include early childhood development as part of the transformative agenda for 2015 and beyond.
According to UNICEF Early childhood development provides a natural link between the new global goals, producing a multiplier effect that can help address poverty, improve health and nutrition, promote gender equality, and reduce violence.