Thursday, 24 October 2019

Territorial disputes: Falkland/Malvinas islands (Part 9) [Post 29]



The Falklands/Malvinas islands, the Egalitarian Shared Sovereignty and natural resources (cont.)
Yesterday, we introduced the way in which natural resources may be distributed and the fact that there are other elements for consideration (for example, exploration and exploitation). How can this work here?

In the case of the Falkland/Malvinas islands, the three parties could be co-owners of the natural resources located in the territorial sea and the exclusive economic zone. Undoubtedly, there are several differences amongst Argentina, the United Kingdom and the Falkland/Malvinas islands. Therein, some of these differences show how the EGALITARIAN SHARED SOVEREIGNTY could work.

The first difference is given by the fact the islanders possess the total of natural resources at stake (100%). By applying the egalitarian shared sovereignty, each party receives the rights to the same ideal portion (33% of the ownership of natural resources, minus original ownership of the inhabitants of the third territory). It would be either over simplistic or naïve to imagine Argentineans or Falkland/Malvinas islanders to be able to explore and exploit to the same level their shares of natural resources in comparison to the United Kingdom (second difference). However, both Argentineans and Falkland/Malvinas islanders have some elements that put them in a better position in relation to that of the United Kingdom, for example local work force, geographical proximity (third difference).

With all these differences in mind, the could explore and exploit natural resources (as they are the party most developed technically and economically to do it), and both the islanders and Argentina could offer the work force for the joint venture and grant privileges in terms of location to British companies. Thus, Argentina could also offer the United Kingdom certain exclusive rights in the sea-zone that overlaps with the Falkland/Malvinas.

Continuous assistance from the United Kingdom to Argentina and the Falkland/Malvinas islands might become a permanent feature (it may lead to domination or an unbalanced relationship).  To avoid this, the United Kingdom would have to help Argentina and the Falkland islands in developing their means of exploration and exploitation to relatively the same level they have.

At the beginning of the agreement the United Kingdom indeed would be contributing more towards the exploration and exploitation and hence have a larger return. However, these uneven distributions of burdens and benefits amongst the parties would only be in the short term. Natural resources and all that they imply in terms of rights and obligations are part of a wider agreement that has a target: the third territory as a whole.

Finally, the way in which each party redistributes the benefits of this shared model within each population is entirely a matter of national or local distribution and hence may have various forms. That is to say, the egalitarian shared sovereignty gives the basic structure of the solution; the details are subject to actual rather than hypothetical negotiation. As an example only, the resultant revenues of some or all the joint activities could be destined to a distribution fund.

NOTE: This post is based on Jorge Emilio Núñez, “Territorial Disputes and State Sovereignty: International Law and Politics,” London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2020 (forthcoming)
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.

NEXT POST: The Falklands/Malvinas islands, final words

Thursday 24th October 2019
Dr Jorge Emilio Núñez
Twitter: @London1701

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