Shared Natural Resources: Future Conflicts or Peaceful Development?

Ever since the time of Aristotle, people have expressed concern on whether enough natural resources will be available for human consumption for the future generations. With a steadily increasing population and our quest for a better standard of living for all the world’s citizens, there is no doubt that the demand for natural resources to sustain and improve the present momentum for development has increased as well. This, in turn, has put increasing pressure on our biosphere, which means that better management of our natural resources than is being practised at present—both nationally and internationally—is an urgent necessity, if we are to improve the living standards of a significant percentage of the human race which is living in abject poverty at present and at the same time maintain our environment on which the sustainability of the development process depends. It is a complex task and a daunting challenge that is not going to be resolved either easily or quickly.

By Asit K. Biswas, Paper for “The Settlement of Disputes on the New Natural Resources” Workshop, 8-10 November 1982, The Hague, Hague Academy of International Law and United Nations University.

Paper online