During the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2013, H.E Kufuor co-chaired a roundtable breakfast meeting with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to discuss linkages between nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene. Amongst the seventeen high-level decision makers present were Ms. Rachel Kyte, Vice President of Sustainable Development at the World Bank, Ms. Etharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever.
H.E. Johnson Sirleaf opened the meeting by speaking from her own experience in Liberia, where 20% of children suffer from stunting. “We can all do better. That’s why we’re here to talk about collaboration,” she asserted. H.E. Kufuor reminded participants that improved access to WASH can help drive improvements in nutrition which, in turn, contribute to social development, women’s welfare and economic development. The UN Deputy Secretary-General (DSG), Jan Eliasson called for the building of coalitions across the UN family, working horizontally, not vertically and challenged participants to “put the problem in the centre”.
The breakfast meeting took place in the context of growing evidence of the connection between lack of water, sanitation and hygiene and poor nutrition outcomes for children, particularly during the first 1,000 days of children’s lives.
One year on from when it was launched, the 1.1 million signature-strong “Keep Your Promises” petition was shared with prominent international decision-makers gathered in New York for the UN General Assembly. End Water Poverty (EWP) campaigners met with UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, and Csaba Korosi, permanent representative of Hungary to the UN and co-chair of the influential UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, which will play the lead role in determining the "sustainable development goals" that will come after the MDGs.