Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

The IJC plays a key role in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement process. By assessing efforts to restore the Great Lakes ecosystem, engaging the public in its Great Lakes health outlook, and conducting its own research on the issues facing the lakes, the IJC assesses the effectiveness of government programs in achieving the objectives of the agreement. The three- and biennial assessment reports and recommendations help both countries broaden or modify approaches to address specific challenges and ensure that the agreement evolves to address future lake problems. The GLWQA comprehensively addresses the priority challenges of water quality and ecosystem health in the Great Lakes, organized by 10 themes: areas of concern; lake-wide management; chemicals of mutual interest; nutrients; discharges from ships; invasive aquatic species; habitat and species; groundwater; the effects of climate change; and science. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) is an agreement between Canada and the United States, first signed in 1972. It contributes to the quality of life of millions of Canadians by identifying shared priorities and coordinating measures to restore and protect the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes. The agreement was modernized in 2012 to reflect new knowledge and address all issues related to water quality and ecosystem health in the Great Lakes. The Canada-U.S. GLWQA 2012 requires the governments of Canada and the United States to restore and protect the Great Lakes in order to achieve a number of objectives, including: to be a source of safe and quality drinking water; the abandonment of swimming and other recreational uses that are not affected by environmental concerns; allow human consumption of fish and wildlife that are not affected by concerns due to harmful pollutants. In previous versions of the agreement, the IJC was required to report every two years on the progress made by Canada and the United States in restoring and protecting lakes. It held meetings every two years to find out whether citizens — including those of non-governmental organizations, government authorities, universities and indigenous communities — believed that the lakes were improving or deteriorating, and combined this contribution with its own assessments to publish reports every two years.

the last of which was published in April 2013. This 16th biennial report contained more than 40 recommendations regarding the new 2012 version of the agreement. In 2012, for example, the agreement under underes underes under substantial revision following previous IJC evaluation reports and recommendations, as well as an extensive consultation and review process conducted by the IJC. . . .

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