International Institute for Sustainable Development president and CEO Scott Vaughan today welcomed Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s commitment to help save the world-renowned freshwater research facility known as the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA).
In a speech today, Wynne said Ontario will provide operating support and work toward an agreement with IISD and other partners so that the important science conducted in the ELA can continue.
“Premier Wynne’s commitment to the ELA is an important step, and we look forward to working with the province and the federal government on a plan that enables IISD to take over the operations of this extraordinary facility,” said Vaughan.
“What is special about the ELA is that it takes research out of the lab and right into the environment — so the ELA presents a rare opportunity for research, perhaps unique in the world,” said Vaughan.
Owing to its remote location in Northwestern Ontario, the ELA provides a real-world laboratory in which researchers can isolate the effects of specific pollutants on aquatic ecosystems. Over the past four decades, research conducted at the ELA has provided the scientific evidence-base on the environmental effects of acid rain, phosphorous and other pollutants that has informed policy within Canada and around the world. With new pressures like climate change, and poorly understood emerging environmental contaminants such as chromite, nanoparticles and endocrine disrupters, the logic for a research station like ELA is very strong.
“The ELA complements IISD’s work in freshwater management,” said Vaughan.
“If the ELA does come to IISD, we would work with other stakeholders to ensure it remains an independent, world-class research facility that continues to produce leading-edge freshwater ecosystems science in the public domain and in the public interest.”
Vaughan assumed his role as IISD president and CEO at the beginning of April, following five years serving as the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development for Canada.