5 - Permanent sovereignty over natural resources in territories under occupation or foreign administration  pp. 143-168

Permanent sovereignty over natural resources in territories under occupation or foreign administration

By Nico Schrijver

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In chapter 3 it was noted that during the 1960s the discussion on the principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources was increasingly confined to developing countries. From the early 1970s, the General Assembly and other UN organs also frequently stressed the principle that permanent sovereignty included the right of peoples to regain effective control over their natural resources. For example, in Resolution 3171 (XXVIII) the General Assembly ‘supports resolutely the efforts of the developing countries and of the peoples of the territories under colonial and racial domination and foreign occupation in their struggle to regain effective control over their natural resources’. The NIEO Declaration stipulates that the right to permanent sovereignty includes, in case of violation, the right to ‘restitution and full compensation for the exploitation and depletion of, and damages to, the natural resources and all other resources of those States, territories and peoples’. Problems have arisen over the question of permanent sovereignty in territories being administered and/or occupied by third States. In this chapter three cases are reviewed. Firstly, South West Africa/Namibia: its status and the exploitation of its vast mineral and fish resources by South Africa, other States and foreign enterprises. Secondly, the exploitation of resources of the Sinai and other territories occupied by Israel. Thirdly, the operation and administration of the Panama Canal and Zone.