Natural resources have become the latest battle ground between states, where competing notions of sovereignty often play out. As states search for new sources of energy to meet growing demands, the boundaries between them have become blurred.
The understanding of sovereignty as ‘permanent’ makes it applicable to the resolution of debates over the resources in projects between states aiming to take advantage of them. The doctrine of ‘Permanent Sovereignty’ is seen as historically linked to the process of decolonisation and the right to self-determination and the ability of states to exercise control over the resources and economic growth.
The recent announcement that the EU will be pushing ahead with a strategy to create an Energy Union has raised eyebrows and furrowed brows amongst member states who see this as further divesting their sovereignty.
Perhaps the most appropriate prism through which to approach the issue of natural resources is that of international law, particularly the ways in which it can resolve contested claims.
In this the second part of the “Resources for Democracy” podcast on sovereignty, we start with Professor Harry Tzimitras outlining the context of international law that frames disputed claims over resources.