WSSCC reviews guidelines on household-centered environmental sanitation

Feb. 10, 2003
Sanitation experts from NGOs, research institutes, donors, and international organizations joined a workshop in Hilterfingen, Switzerland, Nov. 25-28 to review its household centered environmental sanitation guidelines.

Feb. 10, 2003 -- Sanitation experts from NGOs, research institutes, donors, and international organizations joined a Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) workshop in Hilterfingen, Switzerland, Nov. 25-28 to review its household centered environmental sanitation (HCES) guidelines.

The HCES guidelines represent a cornerstone of the Council's work on environmental sanitation, and are designed for the municipal decision-making level. They aim to provide decision makers with a sustainable framework to design, plan, implement and monitor household level environmental sanitation, and are built around the Bellagio principles (see below), which are in agreement with the core elements of Vision 21. A second review was carried out in early January before wider consultation.

By March 2003, the Council will have a draft tool which can be presented at the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan. Over the following six to eight months, the guidelines will be piloted in a few countries in order to enable lessons to be learned and further refinements to take place.

Ultimately, the latest version of the guideline, with accompanying tools on the policy, advocacy, technology, capacity strengthening and health aspects of ecological sanitation will be presented at the Council's 6th Global Forum in Dakar, Senegal in December 2003.

The Introduction provides background information about the HCES approach, its objectives and justification, the audience to be addressed, and the structure of the guideline.

The Enabling Environment can be summarized as a guideline for the municipal leadership (referred to as "the mayor" for convenience) on how to create the enabling environment successfully to implement the HCES approach.

The 10-Step Programme is the guideline for the municipal official responsible for planning environmental sanitation services and their operation.

The guidelines are centered on the Bellagio principles, which are:

1. Human dignity, quality of life and environmental security at household level should be at the center of the new approach, which should be responsive and accountable to needs and demands in the local and national setting.

2. Solutions should be tailored to the full spectrum of social, economic, health and environmental concerns.

3. The household and community environment should be protected.

4. The economic opportunities of waste recovery and use should be harnessed.

5. In line with good governance principles, decision-making should involve participation of all stakeholders, especially the consumers and providers of services.

6. Decision-making at all levels should be based on informed choices.

7. Incentives for provision and consumption of services and facilities should be consistent with the overall goal and objective.

8. Rights of consumers and providers should be balanced by responsibilities to the wider human community and environment.

9. Waste should be considered a resource, and its management should be holistic and form part of integrated water resources, nutrient flows and waste management processes.

10. Inputs should be reduced so as to promote efficiency and water and environmental security.

11. Exports of waste should be minimized to promote efficiency and reduce the spread of pollution.

12. Wastewater should be recycled and added to the water budget.

13. The domain in which environmental sanitation problems are resolved should be kept to the minimum practicable size (household, community, town, district, catchment, city) and wastes diluted as little as possible.

14. Waste should be managed as close as possible to its source.

15 Water should be minimally used to transport waste 16 additional technologies for waste sanitation and reuse should be developed.

See also: Schertenleib, R. (2001). Principles and implications of household approach-approach in environmental sanitation. Paper presented at First International Conference on Ecological Sanitation 5-8 November 2001, Nanning, China.

More information can be found at

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