The 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty (Treaty) is a model of, international water resources cooperation because it provides a permanent dispute mechanism, the six member International Joint Commission (IJC). Thus, both Canada and the United States have much to celebrate on the 100th anniversary of the Treaty. However, the most interesting aspect of the Treaty is the regime's ability to evolve through state practice beyond its original dispute resolution function, despite the inconsistent support for IJC involvement in transboundary water issues of the United States. The Treaty has been severely criticized by governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), especially in, Canada, for its limitations. Taking the Great Lakes alone, the area is too large and the resource management issues too complex to permit a single governance regime. Nonetheless, the LTC has been able to use the reference process to adapt "the spirit of the Treaty" to the new resource challenges, primarily environmental, that the Great Lakes face. This Article offers an example of the power of the IJC to overcome the Treaty's limitations by using its status as an international body to constructively influence the development of a new and important Great Lakes-management regime outside of the Treaty framework.
A. D. Tarlock,
The International Joint Commission and Great Lakes Diversions: Indirectly Extending the Reach of the Boundary Waters Treaty,
Wayne L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/fac_schol/774