Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Law (SJD)




Natural resources' development scenarios involving indigenous peoples and other minority stakeholders, foreign investors (private and public), and considerable environmental and social impacts are increasingly frequent, particularly in South America and other developing regions. Balancing development's impacts and benefits and looking after a country's balance of payments while taking into account, among other things, minority rights, respect for cultural identities, the need for widespread poverty alleviation and environmental stewardship is proving an extremely delicate task and one that increasingly requires thoughtful consideration of extraneous limitations, both factual and legal. Whilst a few decades ago the international law principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources provided countries with a considerable measure of independence in the management of their natural resources, it may no longer be so. Current international and transnational legal developments and practice are having a tremendous impact on the way a country deals with complex domestic issues of resource allocation, development and management. Erosion of the principle is due to the enhanced exposure and to the proliferation of transnational networks that results from an increasingly interconnected global community characterized, among other things, by an open global economy, the proliferation of international trade and investment, the mega growth of multi-national corporations, real-time communication technologies, deepening environmental and human rights' awareness, and a growing number of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and civil society activism. International legal imperatives, practices and precepts, as well as principles developed in foreign municipal jurisdictions and by a new set of global actors, are making increasingly frequent inroads into the management of domestic affairs and there is a heightened expectation both locally and globally that those precepts and practices will be followed in every country's natural resources' development and management decisions. As the gap between the haves and the have-nots of the world continues to widen at an alarming rate, this re-alignment of natural resources law and management practices to respond to emerging global forces could be of significance to the future of humanity as a whole. The following chapters describe the forces currently driving that change and the successes and failures encountered in its wake; they also provide a glimpse of what could lie ahead and advance some ideas aimed at contributing to the achievement of equitable development and management of natural resources.

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