Assessing the Effectiveness of Programs under the GLWQA


The comment period closed on Thursday, March 31, 2016. Thank you for your comments. Comments have been compiled and are available on this page.


International Joint Commission invited public comment on the report, Testing a Framework for Assessing the Effectiveness of Programs and Other Measures under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement until March 31, 2016.

Under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) the IJC is responsible for assessing the progress of governments in implementing the Agreement.  This includes assessing the extent to which programs and other measures are achieving the objectives of the Agreement and providing advice and recommendations on how governments might improve their effectiveness.  

To explore options for undertaking these responsibilities, the IJC commissioned a study to test a methodology for the assessment of progress in the achievement of GLWQA objectives.  The purpose of the research was to survey individuals with expertise related to selected General Objectives in the GLWQA. To test the methodology, the Great Lakes Policy Network (GLPRN) initiated a trial focused on two General Objectives:

  • General Objective (ii) that the waters of the Great Lakes should allow for swimming and other recreational use, unrestricted by environmental quality concerns; and
  • General Objective (vii) that the waters of the Great Lakes should be free from the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species …that adversely impact the quality of the waters of the Great Lakes. 

The GLPRN identified eight recommendations, which include:

  • Using the framework as a starting point for baseline and longitudinal data collecting and reporting purposes related to all 9 of the General Objectives of the GLWQA
  • Using Great Lakes Environmental Effectiveness Metric (GLEEM) scores only in comparative and longitudinal reporting.
  • The IJC develops and maintains a standing roster of expert and stakeholder participant lists related to each of the General Objectives, thereby making assessments of achievements over time a possibility and for Specific Objectives and Annexes in the future. 
  • Use on-line surveys to collect data for frameworks that evaluate effectiveness.
  • Include open-ended, qualitative questions in future surveys and supplement the online survey by in-person interviews if improving the indicators and programs associated with various General Objectives is a priority.  

The IJC welcomes your feedback and comments on the research findings, methodologies, and recommendations. In particular, the IJC is interested in comments regarding how it might use the applied methodology and collected data in the assessment of progress under the GLWQA and your feedback on the following questions: 

  • Do you support the recommendations in the report for application by the IJC?
  • Does the methodology used in the survey have value for assessing progress and improving effectiveness under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement?  
  • Does the GLEEM scoring used in the report add value to the assessment of effectiveness?
  • What improvements in the methodology or what other methods might be used to assist the IJC in assessing progress and improving effectiveness of programs under the Agreement?