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281 Can an International Treaty Strengthen a Region and Further Social and Environmental Inclusion? Lessons from the Columbia River Treaty EveVogel As we approach 2014 and 2024,when the 1964 Columbia RiverTreaty (CRT) may be renegotiated and then either terminated or altered, one of the key questions is whether and how a new treaty can incorporate a more diverse range of parties and interests. Since the CRT was ratified in 1964, a host of people, places, and interests have become central participants or considerations in Columbia River management on each side of the international border. Most prominent among these today are Native American and First Nation peoples, native fisheries, and the communities and ecosystems in the Canadian portion of the basin that were negatively affected by the treaty dams. In the years leading up to 1964, however, they were left out from the treaty negotiations—and they have been largely excluded or marginalized from CRT management ever since. Their lack of influence ultimately limits the ability of overall Columbia River management to meet important goals. Ongoing management of the three Canadian treaty dams and the river flows they control must remain within fairly narrow mandates, is inaccessible (except indirectly) to anyone other than two government agencies on the U.S.side of the border and one on the Canadian side, and causes significant social and environmental dislocation (Shurts this volume). From our current vantage point,it is easy to jump to point to the hubris and lack of accountability of a legal agreement signed by two federal governments.Today, we live in an era when there is a strong movement to devolve natural resource management to smaller-scale jurisdictions, and reorganize it into more natural territories such as watersheds. Many advocate more individualized, even ad hoc, agreements among willing stakeholders rather than formalized, top-down policy (see e.g., Kemmis 1990; DeWitt 1994; Armitage et al. 2007). In the Columbia River Basin, there are thriving local and regional efforts—again, on both sides of the border—to build a collective, participatory approach to understanding and managing the river’s diverse processes, interests, and demands (Columbia Basin Trust 2009;Kenney et al.2000;Northwest Power and Conservation Council 2003). Perhaps this time, some might argue, we need something less formal, less biggovernment -directed, than an international treaty. Can a new treaty between two huge nations do anything other than thwart the kind of thriving grass-roots activity 282 EveVogel and thinking so apparent on both sides of the border today? Or is there a way a new treaty might actually help to democratize participation in Columbia River management, and better distribute the benefits of river management?What can we learn from how the 1964 treaty was negotiated, developed, and institutionalized to try to make sure a new CRT incorporates a full range of people’s interests? It turns out the easy judgment of the CRT as anti-democratic and top-down distorts reality.The 1964 CRT actually had an empowering impact on subnational regions on either side of the international border as well as on a kind of transnational region—and this regional empowerment also corresponded to a significant democratization of resource management.The empowerment occurred because the treaty would not have been approved without several associated legal agreements which brought numerous regional jurisdictions and actors on both sides of the border into active participation in Columbia River management decisions, and gave them considerable control over the distribution of the Columbia River’s most profitable benefit, its hydropower. The problem came once the treaty was institutionalized. The international nature of the CRT imposed a permanence that would not have been present in a single-nation law.While the CRT helped to expand participation in Columbia River management and to distribute river benefits more widely, and these results were rooted in regional-scale management of the river basin, only a limited set of regional jurisdictions, actors, and interests profited. Many others were excluded entirely.Viewed from a long historical perspective, then, the CRT initially helped to democratize participation in Columbia River management, but impedes that goal today. This history seems to have two major contradictions.First,there was a concurrent rise of both international-scale autocracy and regional-scale empowerment and democratization. Second, regional-scale empowerment brought democratization in the past, but presently obstructs democratization.These seeming inconsistencies have major implications for how we should think about the possibilities of further democratization with the treaty’s renegotiation. How can we make sense...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780870716928
Related ISBN
9780870716911
MARC Record
OCLC
830023889
Pages
464
Launched on MUSE
2012-12-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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