Despite progress, early childhood development (ECD) remains a neglected issue, particularly in resource-poor countries. We analyse the challenges and opportunities that ECD proponents face in advancing global priority for the issue. We triangulated among several data sources, including 19 semi-structured interviews with individuals involved in global ECD leadership, practice, and advocacy, as well as peer-reviewed research, organisation reports, and grey literature. We undertook a thematic analysis of the collected data, drawing on social science scholarship on collective action and a policy framework that elucidates why some global initiatives are more successful in generating political priority than others. The analysis indicates that the ECD community faces two primary challenges in advancing global political priority. The first pertains to framing: generation of internal consensus on the definition of the problem and solutions, agreement that could facilitate the discovery of a public positioning of the issue that could generate political support. The second concerns governance: building of effective institutions to achieve collective goals. However, there are multiple opportunities to advance political priority for ECD, including an increasingly favourable political environment, advances in ECD metrics, and the existence of compelling arguments for investment in ECD. To advance global priority for ECD, proponents will need to surmount the framing and governance challenges and leverage these opportunities.