Press Release

Great Lakes Experts, Officials from U.S. and Canada Gather to Discuss Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Great Lakes Experts, Officials from U.S. and Canada Gather to Discuss Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Symposium aims to foster ongoing cross-border collaboration on improving health of the Great Lakes.

TORONTO, Canada — The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, in partnership with the Midwest-based Environmental Law & Policy Center, invited stakeholders from the Great Lakes to come together in Toronto, Canada, to hear from scientists on the recently released Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Under the direction of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the assessment was authored by 145 leading international experts from 50 countries, with nearly 15,000 references. As the first report of its kind, it provides an impetus for dialogue and collaboration.

“In partnership with the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Chicago, I am pleased to host this timely event featuring a keynote briefing on the Global Assessment from one of its three co-chairs, Prof. Eduardo Brondizio of Indiana University, and expert panels about issues of relevance on both sides of the border,” said the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.  “As Lieutenant Governor, the opportunity to convene in an apolitical space in order to further our shared understanding and continue our history of working together in the Great Lakes Region is one that I cherish.”

“The Great Lakes are where we live, work and play. The Great Lakes are a global treasure, supplying 40 million people with fresh drinking water, jobs, and recreation, and sustaining a rich ecological system,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “We are honored to co-host this substantive dialogue among leading U.S. and Canadian experts about the state of biodiversity in the Great Lakes and ways to work together on a binational basis to protect our vital shared resources.”

The half-day symposium will center on three panel discussions: impacts of toxic algae blooms on Great Lakes biodiversity and steps toward solutions: impacts of invasive species, especially Asian carp, on Great Lakes biodiversity and steps toward solutions; and  “Diplomacy of Water,” with participants including the current U.S. Consul General in Toronto Greg Stanford, current Canadian Consul General in Chicago John Cruickshank, former Ambassador of the U.S. to Canada David Jacobson and former Ambassador of Canada to the U.S. Gary Doer.

Additional panelists and speakers include City of Toledo (Ohio) Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, Rob Sisson, U.S. Commissioner of the International Joint Commission, and Professor Brad Cardinale, Director of the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.


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