Fall Preview

Research and Events on the Horizon at the WSP

Published On: August 1st, 2017

This summer, the POLIS WSP team is busy working on a number of projects that are nearing completion and will ready for release by early fall. We wanted to provide you a “sneak preview” of what our team has under development. Stay tuned for more information on each of these publications and events.

Collaborative Consent and B.C.’s Water: Towards Co-Governance for B.C.’s Watersheds

A joint effort of the POLIS Water Sustainability Project and the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources, the discussion paper Collaborative Consent and B.C.’s Water: Towards Co-Governance for B.C.’s Watersheds will expand on the concept of collaborative consent that originally emerged from the Northwest Territories to describe the decision-making process used in developing the Mackenzie River Basin Bilateral Water Management Agreements and other recent legislation and plans in the territory. This thought-provoking discussion paper articulates the core concept of collaborative consent and outlines the hallmarks of this approach based on real-world examples from Canada and beyond. It will specifically examine how collaborative consent can be applied in the freshwater governance context in British Columbia and offers a path forward towards co-governance of B.C.’s waters (including in the implementation of the Water Sustainability Act).

Collaborative consent describes an ongoing process of committed engagement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments—acting as equal partners, each with their asserted authority—to secure mutual consent on proposed paths forward related to matters of common concern and all aspects of governance. The ideas presented in this discussion paper are intended to generate further discussion about building respectful shared decision-making processes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments, and a stable and sustainable co-governance regime for fresh water.

Taking Stock: Freshwater Policy Review & Revitalized Water Agenda for B.C.

The forthcoming POLIS WSP report Taking Stock: Freshwater Policy Review & Revitalized Water Agenda for B.C. will highlight areas of achievement and gaps in progress on B.C.’s freshwater policy commitments over the last decade, as well as the urgent actions needed to advance a comprehensive and revitalized water agenda in B.C. The research for this report informed the July 2017 policy paper A Revitalized Water Agenda for British Columbia’s Circular Economy. Through an extensive review, the forthcoming report takes stock of the Province’s progress on key water policy commitments, including those set out in the cornerstone Living Water Smart strategy (2008) and the more recent Water Sustainability Act (2016); other relevant policy documents, such as mandate letters; complementing provincial policies; and recommendations from independent organizations. This report supports research in other recent POLIS publications, including Top 5 Water Challenges That Will Define B.C.’s Future (2016) and A Blueprint for Watershed Governance in British Columbia (2014).

Creating a Blue Dialogue Webinar Series

The Creating a Blue Dialogue webinar series will continue this fall for its eighth season! Hosted between September 2017 and June 2018, this season’s webinars will guide us towards the upcoming Watersheds 2018 forum (details and location forthcoming), with sessions exploring progress on provincial water policy and the need for a new B.C. water agenda, leading watershed governance pilots from across B.C., developments in important transboundary basins, and exploration of the concept of collaborative consent. Other important and timely emerging water management and governance topics, such as the water-energy nexus, will also be included in the season’s line-up.

The WSP will also be co-hosting a virtual conversation with the B.C. Water Funders Collaborative. Casting a Net: Identifying Sources of Water Data will explore the different forms and sources of water knowledge to illustrate who is collecting data, and different pathways to data collection.  This discussion will build on the December 2016 Creating a Blue Dialogue webinar, Strengthening Monitoring and Reporting for B.C.’s Waters, where participants learned about innovative “data hubs” in B.C.

Creating a Blue Dialogue brings together expert water practitioners and thinkers, as well as emerging water leaders, to engage with innovative ideas on water policy and governance in Canada. By creating an online community of interest, the series serves to strengthen the national capacity to engage with and solve problems, and raises awareness about emerging and priority water issues, best practices, and policies.

Watersheds 2018

Watersheds 2018 will be held in late summer or fall 2018. This two-day hands-on event will build directly on lessons from Watersheds 2014 and Watersheds 2016. Designed for watershed groups, water practitioners, researchers, First Nations, and other decision-makers, this forum will blend practical insights from those working on the ground (and in the water!) with big ideas and emerging innovative solutions from across B.C. and other regions. Participants will build important skills and enhance the capacity for successful watershed governance in British Columbia.

Stay Tuned!