The Fifth Report to Governments on the International Watersheds Initiative (IWI) describes what the IJC has accomplished through the IWI program between 2015 and 2019 and lays out priorities for the next five-year period. Over the past five years, the IWI has helped enable the IJC to carry out its mandate to prevent and resolve transboundary water disputes by:
- helping increase membership diversity on IJC watershed boards;
- harmonizing datasets between Canada and the United States through the data harmonization initiative;
- developing the Climate Change Guidance Framework for IJC boards to assess their vulnerabilities to anticipated impacts from climate change;
- assisting boards to assess impacts from high-water events in the Great Lakes; and
- improving basin wide understanding of nutrient sources and movement in several transboundary watersheds using the SPARROW model.
Going forward, IWI intends to prioritize studying how climate change may impact transboundary basins and the work of IJC boards, examine the potential benefits of new IJC watershed boards, and improve how project results and successes are organized and communicated.
This fourth report by the International Joint Commission (IJC or the Commission) to the Governments of Canada and the United States presents the key activities and achievements of the International Watersheds Initiative (IWI) from 2010 to 2015. It describes the significant progress toward the transboundary water stewardship objectives first envisioned by the governments and IJC nearly 20 years ago, and speaks to how the IWI will continue to help guide this stewardship in the future.
Third Report to Governments: The International Watersheds Initiative: Implementing a New Paradigm for Transboundary Basins
This report summarizes accomplishments and progress made in building local capacity for implementing a watershed approach along the international boundary, and outlines the Commission’s thinking on the future direction of the IWI, with recommended next steps.
This report focuses on strengthening the capabilities of the Commission’s existing boards to anticipate and respond to watershed issues. Building the boards’ transboundary watershed capabilities includes:
- employing a broader, systemic perspective of the watershed;
- expanding outreach and cooperation among organizations with local water-related;
- interests and responsibilities;
- promoting the development of a common vision for the watershed;
- developing a better hydrologic understanding of the water-related resources; and
- creating the conditions for the resolution of specific watershed-related issues.
This report provides the Commission's initial analysis of the feasibility of establishing international watershed boards along the common boundary and summarizes progress towards the establishment of watershed boards in the boundary area. It recommends that the governments approve, as a first step, the gradual development of the Commission's International Red River Board as an international watershed board. It also recommends that the governments provide resources to support this effort.