Adaptive water governance in the Niagara River and Great Lakes
Question: What changes are needed in the existing conceptualization and framing of water governance to enable a systemic and adaptive response to climate change and what are barriers and opportunities for adaptive and systemic responses to climate change?
Ecological components: The Great Lakes are seeing intensifying pressures for urbanization, agriculture and transportation corridors. Meanwhile competing water claims are placed on extraction and allocation, incl. unresolved First Nations claims regarding land and water.
Institutions: The institutional landscape covers multiple government agencies with overlapping jurisdictions and with conflicting but legitimate concerns about water. Decentralisation (from federal to provincial and local government and/or to non-government stakeholders) has not been accompanied by devolution of power or resources.
Practice and facilitation: In response to climate change concerns, formal institutional actors (such as the International Joint Commission) as well as non-formal actors in the policy process are moving away from strictly regulatory (‘command and control’) approach toward adaptive governance principles.