Volume 22, Issue 1, 1997
March/April 1997

The International Joint Commission is an independent international organization established under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. Its purpose is to help prevent disputes over use of waters shared by Canada and the United States and to provide advice on questions of mutual concern when requested by the two federal governments. Three members are appointed by the President of the United States, with advice and approval of the Senate, and three by the Governor-in-Council of Canada, on the advice of Prime Minister.

Leonard Legault
Canadian Section Chair

Dr. Pierre Béland
Francis Murphy
Thomas L. Baldini
U.S. Section Chair

Susan B. Bayh
Alice Chamberlin



Emerging Issues

Like beauty, emerging issues are in the eye of the beholder. After years of being examined in one forum, an issue may become ripe for action and suddenly "emerge" in another forum. This edition of Focus looks mainly at issues the International Joint Commission has recently explored that may require more attention in the future. For example, decommissioning older nuclear reactors in the Great Lakes basin is one of several strategic issues recently examined by the Commissions Nuclear Task Force. The risks from persistent toxic substances, however, is an issue the Commission has focused on for years that is now gaining prominence in regional and global forums.

The need to assess the benefits of water levels regulation in new ways will potentially become an issue in watersheds across the North American continent because new concerns and constituencies have emerged. The environmental justice movement has pointed out that historical pollution problems may also need to be assessed in new ways because they have had a greater impact on some groups than others. The story of the Grosse lle Nature and Land Conservancy shows that we must look seriously at how local communities can meet the demands placed on them as society shifts more responsibility for maintaining the ecosystem to them.

We encourage our readers to respond to the 1997 Great Lakes Emerging Issues Survey in the center of this edition. Your views will help our Emerging Issues Workgroup to focus attention on issues at an early stage when we have the greatest opportunity to address them. The Commission would also welcome comments from readers on any of the topics covered in this edition of Focus.

FOCUS Staff:

Frank Bevacqua, Editor
Bruce Jamieson, Designer
Doug Bondy, Columns Editor

International Joint Commission
1250 23rd Street NW, Suite 100
Washington, DC 20440
Tel. (202) 736-9000
Fax (202) 736-9015
International Joint Commission
100 Metcalfe Street, 18th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 5M1
Tel. (613) 995-2984
Fax (613) 993-5583
International Joint Commission
Great Lakes Regional Office
100 Ouellette Ave, Eighth Floor
Windsor, ON N91 6T3
Tel. (519) 257-6700
Fax (519)257-6740
(519) 257-6734 - for IJC reports
P.O. Box 32869
Detroit, MI 48232
(313) 226-2170

Revised: April 14, 1997
Maintained by Kevin McGunagle, mcgunaglek@ijc.wincom.net