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U.S. and Canadian officials met in Chicago on Jan. 23 to discuss with environmental leaders and the public the way ahead in implementing the landmark Great Lakes Water Quality agreement, amended and updated in September 2012. Commissioners of the International Joint Commission were an important part of the dialogue.The event was hosted by the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago, the Alliance for the Great Lakes and the IJC.“The future of the Great Lakes depends on the U.S. and Canada following through on their visionary commitments to protect and restore our precious clean water,” said Lyman Welch, Water Quality Program director for the Alliance. “It also depends on input from those outside government.”Years in the making, the 40-year-old pact to protect and restore the Great Lakes across national boundaries was updated by the U.S. and Canada in September. The Great Lakes Water Quality Protocol of 2012 is a bi-national agreement addressing key threats to the Great Lakes today, adding prevention of invasive species and adapting to impacts of climate change to its earlier calls for reductions in phosphorus and toxic pollutants.
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8:30-9:00 a.m. Breakfast, registration and introductions.
9:00-9:30 a.m. Welcoming Remarks.
9:30-10:00 a.m. Introduction: The Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, the work of the IJC on cross-border water issues in general.
10:00-11:15 a.m. Presentations and Panel discussion. Great Lakes challenges and GLWQA 2012 (presentations by Mike Goffin and Susan Hedman, providing highlights of GLWQA 2012 and how it meets past, present and future Great Lakes challenges).
11:15-11:30 a.m. BREAK
11:30-12:30 p.m. Presentations and Discussion. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the role of the IJC (presentations will highlight IJC work under the BWT and GLWQA, including current priority projects. Concluding presentation by Lana Pollack).
12:30-1:30 p.m. LUNCH (Keynote Speaker) James Bruce, OC, FRSC, former Assistant Deputy Minister, Environment Canada, and member of the drafting group for the 1972 and 1978 GLWQAs.
1:30-3:00 p.m. Presentations and discussion on GLWQA 2012: Diving into the Annexes and Implementation. How will governments implement commitments? Views of stakeholders -- including Alliance for the Great Lakes and the Council of Great Lakes Industries.
3:00-3:15 p.m. BREAK
3:15-4:30 p.m. Public Engagement: Role of the Public Going Forward
4:30-5:00 p.m. Closing Remarks
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