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Governance Reform for a Sustainable Great Lakes Future
Published: 17 November 2011 by MDPI in The 1st World Sustainability Forum session Governance & Sustainability
Abstract: Seen from space, the Great Lakes appear as sparkling jewels strung across the center of North America. The Great Lakes ecosystem is one of the great natural wonders of the world. Nearly one-fifth of the planet\'s surface fresh water is stored in and flows through the lakes. One out of every three Canadians and one of every ten United States residents takes her or his drinking water from the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was negotiated pursuant to the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty between the United States and British Canada that had created the International Joint Commission (IJC) to help resolve problems Including pollution that was causing injury to health or property crossing the binational boarder. The IJC and the institutions added to it …were based on the principle of bi-nationalism (two countries collaborating on achieving a set of shared goals) rather than bi-lateralism (two countries negotiating with each other in an attempt to balance interests and protect each others rights).The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement has been the unifying principles for interjurisdictional shared water management for Canada and the United States for nearly 40 years. Beginning in 2009, both governments agreed to renegotiate a renewed agreement bringing it up to date with scientific advances and complex governance challenges. This is the first substantial amendment to the agreement since 1987 and represents a watershed point in the history of the Great Lakes regime. This presentation documents for posterity the process being employed in the negotiations and in public engagement through that process. It contains distressing observations and highlights promising approaches to ensure the new agreement is truly a vision for the 21st century.
Keywords: governance, great lakes, sustainability, negotiations