1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

In addition, Canada and the United States have committed to submit their own progress reports every three years at a public forum. The IJC will review this report and its own research and solicit public contributions on lake health before publishing its assessment report, also on a three-year basis. The first government progress report was published in October 2016 and, at the same time, a public forum for the Great Lakes was held. In November 2017, the IJC published its first report on the three-year progress assessment, as well as a highlights report, a technical appendix and a summary of the public notice appendix. Public consultations on the progress of the agreement will begin after the two countries have published each progress report and will be announced via the Great Lakes Connection newsletter, its social media pages and on this site. From 1918 to the late 1960s, the IJC repeatedly reported pollution problems in the Great Lakes and their linkage channels as part of its border treaty jurisdiction. These reports included recommendations for action that formed the basis for the first Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972. Canada and the United States have agreed to reduce pollution in industries and communities and limit the amount of phosphorus that has entered lakes, resulting in excessive algae growth, particularly in the Erie Sea. New laws have reduced phosphorus levels in household detergents and municipal treatment plants have been upgraded or expanded. Eriesee has recovered rapidly thanks to these efforts, and the value of binational cooperation for environmental rehabilitation in all lakes has been touted internationally as an unprecedented success. Environment and Climate Change Canada is leading the implementation of the agreement and working with a number of departments, agencies and agencies on both sides of the boarder representing governments, Aboriginal peoples, water basin management agencies and other local public bodies. Canada is cooperating with the Ontario government as part of the 2014 Great Lakes Water Quality and Health Agreement on Water Quality and Ecosystem Health and is working with Canada, which coordinates the activities of eight federal departments and three provincial departments to support the implementation of the GLWQA. Since the last amendment to the agreement in 1987, approaches to environmental management and our understanding of the ecosystem have evolved.

The 2012 agreement reflects this progress by introducing a new focus on coastal water quality and adaptive management approaches. The Great Lakes Executive Committee (GLEC) serves as a forum for advising and assisting the parties in coordinating, implementing, reviewing and reporting on programs, practices and measures that support the implementation of the GLWQA. The GLEC, co-led by Environment and Climate Change Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, includes high-level representatives from federal, provincial and regional governments, tribal, First Nations, Métis, local governments, water basin management agencies and other local public authorities. In addition, a formal committee structure has been established to involve GLEC member organizations in binational work to develop and implement measures to meet commitments in each of the ten areas identified by the GLWQA. In 2012, Canada and the United States, following extensive binational audits, consultations and negotiations conducted by the IJC and the two countries, amended the agreement again, expanding their commitment to address the problems facing lakes through nine specific objectives or objectives and ten annexes. The 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement also took into account the commitments made to date to take the entire ecosystem into account in all binational work, as well as the overall goal of restoring and preserving the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the lakes.

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