International Watersheds Initiative

Satellite image of the world focusing on the transboundary basins between Canada and the United States


The International Watersheds Initiative recognizes that solutions to transboundary watershed problems often emerge from local communities.

The International Watersheds Initiative (IWI) is an approach to resolving transboundary water issues grounded on the belief that local communities, given appropriate assistance, are best placed to achieve solutions. This approach operates on an ecosystem focus, recognizing that ecosystems function as whole entities and should be managed as such, rather than being bound by traditional political boundaries. 

In order to make this approach into a reality, International Joint Commission (IJC) boards in watersheds along the Canada-U.S. border carry out IWI projects to help manage resources, promote communication, and conduct scientific studies. These board projects are supported through the IJC’s IWI review process.  In the 20 years since its inception, IWI has helped inform, engage, and provide tools for decision makers at all levels to better address a broad range of contentious water-related issues along the border through board projects  and IWI strategic initiatives.