November 23, 1998
IJC TO FURTHER EXAMINE WATERSHED APPROACH
The United States and Canadian federal governments have asked the International Joint
Commission (IJC) to further examine the international watershed approach as a mechanism to
anticipate and respond to the range of water-related and other environmental challenges that are
expected to occur as we enter the 21st century.
In its report to Governments, The IJC and the 21st century, the IJC proposed the
international watershed board concept to build on cooperative efforts and successes achieved in
the Great Lakes by offering to provide similar opportunities to other major transboundary basins
through the establishment of permanent IJC international watershed boards. These boards would
provide a much improved mechanism for avoiding and resolving transboundary disputes by
building a capacity at the watershed level to anticipate and respond to the full range of water-related and other environmental challenges that may be foreseen for the 21st century.
Specifically, governments have asked the IJC to:
- Define the general framework under which watershed boards would operate, which
includes the definition of the scope of activities of the watershed boards and the definition
of the operating principles of such boards;
- Recommend the location of the first watershed board;
- Recommend the structure, composition and terms of reference of the first international
watershed board, including the priority issues that it would address;
- Develop cost projections and possible sources of funding, including innovative funding
mechanisms, for the formation and operation of the first international watershed board
and for special studies that would be projected for its first few years of operation;
- Consult provinces, states and both federal governments on the identification of locations
and the development, planning and establishment of additional international watershed
boards at appropriate times.
The IJC will undertake broad consultations with all interested parties as part of its
examination of the watershed approach.
The International Joint Commission is a binational Canada-U.S. organization established
by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. It assists the governments in managing waters along the
border for the benefit of both countries in a variety of ways including examining issues referred
to it by the two federal governments.
More information, including the full text of the letter of reference, may be found on the
Commission's web site, at www.ijc.org/rel/comm/ref1198.html.