Yesterday, January 11, marked the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Boundary Waters Treaty between the United States and Canada. To commemorate this historic and precedent setting development in international water law and explore the successes under the treaty and future challenges, the Wayne Law Review is hosting a Boundary Waters Treaty Centennial Symposium on February 5 in Detroit. The symposium brochure, with details on location, speakers, and schedule, is available online.
The Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 is perhaps the most important bilateral agreement in Canada-U.S. relations. Over the past century, it has provided a foundation for environmental cooperation and equality between the United States and Canada. Signed at a time when disagreement over the shared waterways could have divided the nations, the Boundary Waters Treaty established a binational tribunal, the International Joint Commission, to investigate, resolve and prevent boundary water disputes between the two countries.
Over the last 100 years, the Boundary Waters Treaty and the International Joint Commission have been fundamental in preventing and resolving boundary water disputes between Canada and the United States. The Treaty has also served as an archetype for multiple bilateral agreements between nations. However, in recent years, challenges for boundary water resources triggered a movement towards a more unilateral approach in dealing with international waterways. Thus, the role of the Boundary Waters Treaty – today and in the future – must be examined.
This symposium, recognizing the 100-year anniversary of the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty, will explore its history, its impact, and its continued relevance moving forward into the next century.
The symposium features an impressive and diverse line-up of experts on the Boundary Waters Treaty and international water management. Most of the appointed members of International Joint Commission will be speaking, including an opening keynote address by the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray, P.C., C.C., Q.C., Canadian Chair of the International Joint Commission. Leading scholars and policy-makers will present their perspectives in panels on the Boundary Waters Treaty and Canada-U.S. relations, international environmental law, and protecting freshwater resources in North America. Author and environmental activist Lee Botts and Canadian environmental law expert Paul Muldoon will be giving a lunchtime keynote address based on their recent book, Evolution of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. NGO and business leaders will also offer their views on the future of the Boundary Waters Treaty. For details on the speakers and schedule, see the symposium brochure.
The symposium is presented in association with Wayne State University Law School and the University of Windsor Faculty of Law, with the generous assistance of the Government of Canada (avec l’appui du gouvernement du Canada) and the Wayne State University Student Council. It is free and open to the public.