The international law of joint resource development with special reference to its functional role in the management and resolution of boundary and territorial disputes involving natural resources
This study's principal objectives are: (1) To evaluate the present and potential significance of the role played by natural resources in boundary and territorial disputes; (2) To determine the conceptual efficacy of joint resource development as a distinct methodological approach for the functional ("positive sum") management and/or resolution of (ostensibly "zero sum") boundary and territorial disputes involving natural resources; (3) To examine state practice in the field of joint resource development, on the basis of a comparative analysis of precedent experience, primarily in the petroleum and ground-water resource sectors, through a comprehensive case study analysis; (4) To examine both the general and specific international legal norms and principles that may be applicable to the allocation, utilization and joint development of territorial and trans-boundary resources, both on land as well as off-shore; (5) To undertake a comparative analysis of the pertinent provisions of different types of existing joint development agreements with a view to identifying their key provisions and distinguishing between the various legal and institutional forms that such agreements might take; (6) To examine the circumstances and policy factors conducive to the initial establishment and the subsequent success or failure of joint resource development regimes.
This study's principal conclusion is that natural resources play a significant role in boundary, trans-boundary and territorial disputes, and are increasingly likely to do so in the future, and that joint resource development can be an effective functional mechanism for the prevention, management and resolution of such disputes which can be consistent with the rational accommodation of the claimant states' conflicting political and economic interests, as well as a practical alternative which fully conforms with the relevant principles of international law.
While joint development is not a legal obligation, and is only practicable where the claimant states' resource interests supersede the other contentious aspects of a boundary or territorial dispute, it offers a functional means by which to transform what may be initially perceived to be a "zero-sum" conflict devolving upon mutually exclusive sovereignty or jurisdictional claims into a "positive sum" co-operative venture centered upon the claimants' common resource interests.
0616: International relations
0768: Environmental science