Photographs courtesy of
ICC, Durban.


Theme: Ecological sanitation: A sustainable, integrated solution

The Third International Conference on Ecological Sanitation (EcoSan) is being organised by the CSIR. It will be held under the auspices of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, with the cooperation of the Department of Science and Technology, the Water Research Commission, the South African Institution of Civil Engineering, the Institution of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa, Rand Water, eThekwini Municipality (Durban) and the Water Institute of South Africa. Various international organisations are also supporting the conference. It is to be a five-day event.

Why the EcoSan conference?

In the world today, 1.2 billion people are without access to safe drinking water, 3 billion are without proper sanitation, and 50% of solid wastes remain uncollected. The Bellagio Statement of February 2000 asserted that current waste management policies and practices were abusive to human well-being, economically unaffordable and environmentally unsustainable, and that a radical overhaul of these policies and practices was needed. The Statement called for universal access to safe environmental sanitation, within a framework of water and environmental security and respect for the economic value of wastes. Principles governing this new approach were considered, among others, to be:

  • that waste should be considered a resource, and that its management should be holistic and form part of integrated water resources, nutrient flows and waste management processes; and
  • that the domain in which environmental sanitation problems are resolved should be kept to the minimum practical size (household, community, town, district, catchment, city) and wastes diluted as little as possible.

The Millennium Development Goals were agreed to in 2000 when all United Nations member states pledged to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015. At the WSSD in 2002, it was further agreed to reduce by half the proportion of people without basic sanitation by 2015. The development of appropriate technical options and implementation methods plays a pivotal role in meeting these objectives

The conference will consider how ecological sanitation can assist in meeting these objectives.

Why Durban, South Africa?

South Africa is committed to eradicating its water supply and sanitation backlogs by 2008 and 2010 respectively. The country has also firmly grasped the ecosan challenge, with tremendous advances being made in this field. Since 1997, when the first projects were initiated, over 20 000 ecosan toilets have been implemented, with eThekwini Municipality (Durban) accounting for the largest number. Delegates will be afforded the opportunity to visit some of these projects in the area. A further attraction, of course, is the country's rich diversity of cultures, geography and wildlife, as well as its wonderful climate.

Preliminary programme

Click here for preliminary programme

Technical and poster exhibition

Various manufacturers and developers will exhibit their ecosan-related products and systems. Authors not making oral presentations will also be afforded the opportunity to display poster papers.