Professor Tommy Koh
is a highly accomplished global diplomat and a passionate advocate for the Water and Sanitation Agenda. He was one of the first ardent supporters of the World Toilet Organization since our humble beginning in 2001 when he introduced me to the key members in the UN system. Over the last 20 years, he continues to promote the mission of the World Toilet Organization both globally and locally in Singapore. He also writes many articles about the importance of Sanitation and Water which is published and read widely.
He is currently Professor of Law at NUS; Ambassador-At-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore; He is the Co-chairman of the Asian Development Bank’s Advisory Committee on Water and Sanitation. He was also the first Chairman of the Asia Pacific Water Forum in 2007. He is the Chairman of the Singapore International Water Summit.
He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the SymAsia Foundation of Credit Suisse. He had served as Dean of the Faculty of Law of NUS, Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador to the United States of America, High Commissioner to Canada and Ambassador to Mexico. He was President of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea. He was also the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for and the Main Committee of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit).
He was the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. He was Singapore’s Chief Negotiator in negotiating an agreement to establish diplomatic relations between Singapore and China. He was also Singapore’s Chief Negotiator for the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. He has chaired two dispute panels for the World Trade Organization. He is the Co‑Chairman of the China‑Singapore Forum and the Japan-Singapore Symposium.
Professor Koh has received awards from the Governments of Singapore, Chile, Finland, France, Japan, Netherlands, Spain and the United States. Professor Koh received the Champion of the Earth Award from UNEP and the inaugural President’s Award for the Environment from Singapore. He was conferred with honorary doctoral degrees in law by Yale and Monash Universities. Harvard University conferred on him the Great Negotiator Award in 2014.
We are greatly indebted to Prof Tommy Koh’s service to humanity, and we honour him today with the World Toilet Organization Hall of Fame Award 2020.
Jan Kenneth Eliasson
The Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs.
He was Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations from July 2012 to December 2016. He was President of the United Nations General Assembly, from 2005 to 2006.
He has brokered any number of deals between warring parties and negotiated the world’s development targets. But whatever he does, diplomat Jan Eliasson is happiest to be known as the “water man” – the individual who, for nearly 25 years, has ceaselessly pressed governments and the UN to lift water and sanitation up the global agenda.
He was angry that the Water and Sanitation cause has not always been high on UN or government agendas. After seeing how children dying from diarrhea in Africa, he decided to never stop fighting for the fundamental right for all to water and sanitation. Eliasson believes that Water and sanitation are relevant to human rights, security, peace and development.
“In the past there was a silo approach to water and sanitation both in governments and the UN. Sanitation was taboo. Many people made jokes when, at official meetings in New York, I talked about toilets and open defecation. But bringing these words to the diplomatic discourse is, to me, very essential. In fact, they bring the stark realities into our meeting rooms.”
“It’s an investment. By having sanitation, you can save so much on health and productivity. People go to work. Children go to school. “Politicians lack long-term planning. They look at budgetary needs now but don’t see the larger picture. But they must look beyond their mandate periods. Ministers of finance should have responsibility for the long-term effects of public expenditure.
“Water and sanitation cannot drop off the agenda now. There is such a commitment to it. You have the development community, the World Bank and the big development banks, but also the scientific and health communities along with civil society, and philanthropists all backing it.”
In 2013, he was one of the key supporters for the vote for the resolution to adopt 19 Nov as the official UN World Toilet Day, which was unanimously approved by all 193 countries of the UN General Assembly. Today, he serves as Global Ambassador of WaterAid, a leading NGO for Water and Sanitation.
The World Toilet Organization honours him for his lifelong dedication to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene agenda that is improves the lives of billions of people.
Dr. Ursula Eid
A prominent German politician and a champion for Water and Sanitation.
The final Chair of UN Secretary-General Advisory Board, Dr. Uschi Eid, served on the Board from its inception in 2004. Before becoming Chair in June 2014, she ensured the smooth management of UNSGAB’s internal and external affairs as Vice-Chair, together with the Board Secretariat. Being a former Parliamentary State Secretary with long-standing experience in international development and African affairs, her convening power helped leverage partnerships and cooperation. Her effective liaison with various governments resulted in financial support, the hosting of UNSGAB meetings, and strong support, particularly from Germany, for a significant number of substantive issues. Dr. Eid has been a passionate and outspoken advocate for sanitation, de-tabooing the topic and promoting sanitation in schools. She championed the International Year of Sanitation (2008) and spearheaded the creation of a well-used “Sanitation Drive to 2015 Planners’ Guide”. All this ultimately laid the foundation for the Deputy Secretary-General’s “Call to Action on Sanitation” in 2013 and the UN resolution “Sanitation for All” in the same year, which officially designated 19 November as World Toilet Day.
Her ideas, vision and advocacy were crucial in helping shape a robust future global response to water and sanitation challenges.
The International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) presented her with the Distinguished Associate Award in 2012, for her commitment to worldwide clean drinking water and basic sanitation.
In 2013, she was also an ardent advocate rallying support for the adoption of the UN “Water for All” Resolution tabled by Singapore for the unanimous adoption of 19 Nov as the official UN World Toilet Day.
Today, we honour her for a lifetime dedication for improving the state of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene globally.
The Tokyo Toilet by The Nippon Foundation
The use of public toilets is often limited because of stereotypes that they are dark, dirty, smelly and scary. Also, many of the public toilets are not easily accessible especially for people with disability. In order to overcome these problems, and to move toward the realization of a society that embraces diversity, The Nippon Foundation has launched THE TOKYO TOILET project.
THE TOKYO TOILET builds 17 public toilets, which can be used by anyone regardless of age, gender, or disability in Shibuya, Tokyo with the help of Pritzker Prize winners among 16 leading creators. Toilets are a symbol of Japan’s world-renowned hospitality.
We honour the Nippon Foundation with the World Toilet Organization Hall of Fame Award 2020 for their effort to improve toilet culture in Japan and around the world.