Research Handbook on the Theory and Practice of International Lawmaking
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Research Handbook on the Theory and Practice of International Lawmaking

Edited by Catherine Brölmann and Yannick Radi

The global landscape has changed profoundly over the past decades. As a result, the account of the making of international law based on the traditional theory of sources is increasingly challenged. This Handbook offers a comprehensive guide to the theory and practice of international law‐making today. It takes stock at both the conceptual and the empirical level of the instruments, processes, and actors involved in the making of international law. The book contains essays by leading scholars on key aspects of international law-making and on law-making in the main issue areas, with an interest in classic processes as well as new developments and shades of normativity.
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Chapter 20: The making of international natural resources law

Owen McIntyre


International natural resources law is not a clearly defined or systematically constructed body of rules but, instead, arises from the application of general rules and principles of ‘classical’ international law applying to shared natural resources. Most notable amongst which are the principle of State sovereignty over natural resources and the concept of equity, which informs the allocation of rights over such resources. However, international law-making in this field involves a number of unique challenges for the international legal system which have shaped the means, both formal and informal, by which such rules have emerged. Thus, international rules relating to natural resources tend be found in framework conventions, which promote inclusive participation by States and permit adaptive and scientifically sophisticated regimes to emerge. Similarly, soft-law instruments are employed to permit hesitant States to engage in early iterations of the law and to build confidence in the emerging rules. In addition, general principles of law are widely employed, while customary rules appear to form rather quickly and easily.

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