Ottawa, ON & Washington, DC – In the 25 years since the International Joint Commission (IJC) first proposed it, the International Watersheds Initiative (IWI) has become an integral part of managing waters shared between Canada and the United States. In its 25th Anniversary Showcase Report, the IJC delves into the origins and successes of the IWI in its first quarter century and how it has laid the foundation for a greater, more constructive impact across the border shared by these two countries.

Water does not recognize international boundaries, yet must be cooperatively managed by Canada and the United States in these transboundary watersheds. The IWI approaches this reality by studying and managing these watersheds with greater, binational community engagement and expertise and an “integrated ecosystem approach,” where water quantity, water quality and aquatic ecosystem health issues are seen as interconnected.

The report includes challenges that the IWI will likely face over the next 25 years and suggests new ways to approach these in the short- and long-term.

Quick Facts

  • The IJC is an independent, binational and impartial advisor to the governments of Canada and the United States.
  • The IJC was created by the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty between Canada and the United States to assist governments in the prevention and resolution of disputes regarding the use of boundary waters.
  • The IJC has two main responsibilities: setting conditions for projects that affect water levels and flows on the other side of the boundary; and investigating and reporting on issues referred by governments.
  • The IJC relies on the expertise of more than 15 binational boards and committees to carry out its mandate.


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