The Lake Winnipeg Basin Summit: Synthesis and next steps (November 30 - December 1, 2010)

By on February 22, 2011

On November 30 and December 1, 2010, approximately 150 scientists, policy-makers, business leaders, civil society members and other stakeholders convened in Winnipeg for an intensive, two-day "Lake Winnipeg Basin Summit" hosted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) Water Innovation Centre (WIC).

The discussions focused on how to develop solutions for Lake Winnipeg water quality and nutrient loading that not only address environmental concerns, but also recognize social and economic values.

The WIC worked closely with a dedicated Summit Steering Committee, representing a range of organizations in Manitoba, to frame the focus question posed at the summit: "How do we create and take advantage of opportunities for Manitoba's economy while reducing nutrient loading within the Lake Winnipeg Basin?"

The summit was structured as a "back-casting" exercise, which is based on the concept that stakeholders first construct a positive vision of the future, and then establish the direction and critical steps towards that future vision. Presentations by the WIC and the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium helped seed a series of discussions to help: (i) provide a historical and scientific perspective of the basin; (ii) identify a set of guiding principles for creating opportunity and reducing nutrient loading in the basin; (iii) articulate key elements that should be part of a future vision for how the basin is managed in Manitoba; and (iv) develop next steps for achieving that vision.

The next steps articulated in this paper are built on feedback received from Summit participants and with guidance from the Summit Steering Committee. The vision statements indicated a strong orientation towards the need for a sustainable development strategy for the Lake Winnipeg Basin that embraces environmental, economic and social goals. Stakeholders expect a Lake Winnipeg Basin that is sophisticated, comprehensive, innovative and adaptive, and fundamentally grounded in sustainable development principles. Manitoba, as the downstream jurisdiction of the lake and principal beneficiary, should logically lead this project.

This report provides a synthesis of the two-day Lake Winnipeg Basin Summit and provides some direction for the proposed next steps towards a strategy for a sustainable Lake Winnipeg Basin.

Report details

Water Innovation Centre
Focus area
IISD, 2011