Territorial disputes: The Persian Gulf (Part 25) [Post 185]

The Persian Gulf, natural resources and the egalitarian shared sovereignty

Yesterday, the post introduced the issue of natural resources and their distribution (ownership, exploration, exploitation, gains and losses) in the context of a particular region with several TERRITORIAL DISPUTES: the Persian Gulf.

The differences in relation to natural resources imply several different aspects (for example, means for the exploration and exploitation, geographical location, relevant knowledge, etc.). It is for that reason that the shares will be represented as bundles of rights and obligations, benefits and burdens. However, in terms of property rights, all the parties will have the co-ownership of the natural resources (minus the ones originally owned by the inhabitants), and this will involve both rights and obligations.

A combination of elements may fit in the aim of the egalitarian shared sovereignty if and only if the combined elements or resources that an agent may exploit could not be exploited to the same efficient extent in any other way (for example, joint ventures).
Two points must be made clear: because the model aims to safeguard the interests of all the parties, the different combinations of natural resources in the bundle is in terms of their exploration and exploitation—not their ownership or the distribution of consequent benefits; and as this requirement is defined by bundles, each bundle may be constituted of diverse elements that taken together offer the same outcome: an efficient exploitation. Therefore, this implies a solution by means of an efficient model with safeguards for all the participants.

The egalitarian shared sovereignty has a twofold application in terms of natural resources. First, the most efficient combination of exploration and exploitation of natural resources bearing in mind the differences amongst the parties. Second, any party better off in relation to a given difference will make sure the other parties are able to exploit their respective share of natural resources to the same extent—when possible—or compensate the inequality. 

Consequently, even if variations appeared in the future in terms of either natural resources—e.g. drought, scarcity, lack of trading value—or the level of development or wealth of any of the agents, their ownership rights would still be the same for all of them as well as their rights and obligations in terms of exploitation and the way benefits were allocated.

Next time how all this could work with the Persian Gulf and all the claiming parties.


This post is based on Jorge Emilio Núñez, Territorial Disputes and State Sovereignty. International Law and Politics (Routledge 2020).Previous published research monograph about territorial disputes and sovereignty by the author, Jorge Emilio Núñez, Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2017.


Natural resources and the Persian Gulf.

Friday 22nd January 2021
Dr Jorge Emilio Núñez
Twitter: @DrJorge_World

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s