Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Collaborative

 

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, in partnership with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the Council of the Great Lakes Region, Freshwater Future, and Stratégies Saint-Laurent, is advocating for a shared vision and action plan to position the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence as a global leader on freshwater protection and low carbon, sustainable economic growth. This alliance of organizations, called the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Collaborative (the Collaborative), is proposing an inclusive, multi-stakeholder consultative process in Canada, inspired by the U.S. Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It is seeking the Federal Government of Canada’s commitment to endorse and finance an 18-month consultative process, with the active support and co-leadership by the Governments of Quebec and Ontario, and Indigenous governments and groups.

Building on the solid foundation of trade, water quality agreements and climate action plans nationally and in Quebec and Ontario, the vision and action plan will result in recommendations to make protection of 20% of the world’s surface fresh water, adaptive and resilient communities, and  a sustainable, low carbon economy, the defining features of the region.

Reaching a Shared Vision and Action Plan

The Collaborative partners were joined by a number of NGOs and business organisations last Fall when they met Canada's Environment and Climate Change Minister, the Hon. Catherine McKenna (right), and proposed the need for a process to arrive at a shared vision and action plan. Minister McKenna requested the Collaborative prepare a more detailed proposal for her consideration.

The Collaborative has since prepared a Discussion Paper that begins to define how to reach a shared vision and action plan, outlining key areas of common interest as well as a proposed process and budget. The Paper challenges stakeholders to envision the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Region in 2030, and to consider what investments, programming and other integrated activities are needed between now and then to:

  1. Improve ecosystem health in the Region,
  2. Build more adaptive and resilient communities,
  3. Transition to a sustainable, low carbon platform while strengthening the region’s competitiveness in the emerging ‘smart’ economy, and
  4. Recognize and respect the role and needs of First Nations and Metis of the Region.

Your Input is Needed!

The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Vision and Action Plan is only as strong as the stakeholders that support it and provide input. We encourage individuals, organisations and businesses living and working in the Region to comment on the Discussion Paper. We need your feedback by November 3, 2017. For more information and to comment on the Discussion Paper, click hereYou also may send your comments by email to Andrea Paine at andrea.paine@glslcities.org.

The Collaborative will also be seeking input from organisations by holding two invitation- only roundtables in Quebec City and Toronto this Fall, where the discussion paper principles and process will be discussed. In addition to feedback on this document, the Collaborative has also partnered with the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation and Mitacs to undertake a scan of stakeholder issues related to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Your organisation may be contacted by Mitacs to complete a survey or participate in a telephone interview on your views on Great Lakes St. Lawrence issues.

Next Steps

Following input from stakeholders, the Collaborative proposal to develop a shared vision and action plan for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Region will be presented to Minister McKenna and key federal decision makers during its second annual Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Parliament Hill Days on November 21 and 22, 2017. It will be shared concurrently to provincial and Indigenous representatives. For additional detail on Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Parliament Hill Days, click here.

Join Us!

The more organisations join the Collaborative, the stronger our voice. If you share our interest in working together to develop a shared vision and action plan to position the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence as a global leader on freshwater protection and low carbon, sustainable economic growth, please join us!