Using the catchphrase, "Toilet is Life," The World Toilet Association Inaugural General Assembly (WTAA) will kick off with a five-day scheduled conference on November 21, 2007 at the COEX Convention Center in Seoul, Korea. Korea's toilets have improved drastically over the last twenty years. This was made possible due to the history of cooperation between the government, civic organizations, and citizens who cooperated to produce better toilet facilities.
According to Chairman Sim Jae- Duck, due to the WTAA, Korea is proving itself to be a leader in the toilet culture movement and the diffusion of toilet revolutions throughout the world as a stronghold of the toilet revolution to be diffused throughout the world.
One of the highlights of the WTAA is the International Toilet Bath and Expo that will be held throughout the conference. This will feature the most cutting-edge, toilet-related technology and promote the exchange of information. This event will not only introduce Korean companies to the world's sanitation- related market, toilet improvement projects will provide enormous benefits to the Korean economy.
Sim believes that the most cuttingedge technology is crucial to building environment-friendly toilets; in order to develop it, the WTA will continuously research, accumulate materials, and exchange information. Korea's image in the national arena will be significantly boosted due to the fact that the headquarters of the WTA will be located in Korea.
Chairman Sim, whose nickname is Mr. Toilet, states: "International interest in the effect toilets have on human life is still lacking." In that regard, the WTAA will serve as an opportunity to encourage international society's cooperation and joint efforts in sharing toilet- related issues to improve the human race's sanitation, he said.
In a nutshell, the WTAA is paving the way for a new possibility of international cooperation in circumstances where toilet facilities and the importance of sanitation-related catchphrases are increasing; in particular, in the case of grave disasters such as poverty, famines, earthquakes, tsunamis and wars, the work of an association such as the WTA is desperately needed.
If international cooperation for supplying and improving toilets is attained, the sanitation circumstances of developing countries will be improved with astonishing speed, Sim stressed.
Toilet is Life
The Toilet Revolution in Korea, which was accomplished during a short period of twenty years, is heralded as a unique and successful case. The reason Korea was able to successfully attain a toilet revolution is thanks to comprehensive national welfare improvement followed by economic growth. However, what is more important is that each sector of society -- the government, local autonomous entities, and citizens shared awareness and efforts in transforming the toilet into a cultural space.
Chairman Sim who served as the Mayor of Suwon, in Kyeonggi Province, praises this collaborative model in which a local autonomous entity played a decisive role in the Korean toilet movement's success. He assesses that Suwon's toilet culture improvement project has created a pannational toilet revolution and serves as an example to others.
The Korea Toilet Association, founded in August, 1999, has contributed to the systematic and scientific unfolding of the toilet culture movement, according to Sim. This Korea Toilet Association, which was established in the hope of beginning the toilet culture improvement movement during the World Cup in 2002, played a big role in allowing Korea's toilet culture to be advanced, he said. Such toilet-related local autonomous entities and civic organizations' activities became the driving force that allowed for the construction of better public toilets.
According to the Secretariat of WTAA, countries which are sending staff to Korea on the rise so that they can learn about how to improve their own country's toilets. China has visited Korea two times in the hopes of benchmarking Korea's toilets for the sake of their successful hosting of the Beijing Olympics next year. Russia and Brazil also visited Korea as an exemplary example of how to solve toilet problems.
In Turkey and Mongolia, toilet associations were made with the support of Korea. The foreign press has widely reported on the Korean toilet culture movement with headlines such as "South Korea Leads the Restroom Revolution".
Our toilets once caused chronic disease. But today it is the leader of toilet revolutions throughout the world, Sim said.