The International Joint Commission and the Great Lakes Region

The role of the International Joint Commission (IJC) in the Great Lakes Region demonstrates successful coordination of policy design and implementation in a decentralized context. Regional water governance is characterized by a complex set of policies and arrangements involving two countries, more than 75 First Nations communities along the coasts, eight states and two provinces, numerous municipalities, and a variety of users and stakeholders with different roles and concerns. While outstanding policy issues remain, the United States and Canada have slowed substantial ecological damage in the basin, with the IJC playing a key role in coordinating engagement across stakeholder groups, and completing technical and policy work around issues such as regulating shared water uses and water quality.

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