A wave of commercial investments in the natural resource sectors has rekindled debates about the place of contracts in the interface between economic governance and control over natural resources. Since the early 2000s, the boom and bust of commodity cycles—and the increasing and then declining pace of investment in the agriculture, mining, oil and gas sectors—have fostered lively discussions over whether host countries received a fair share of economic benefits, over the distribution of those benefits within national economies, and over the social and environmental impacts of commercial activities.
This chapter explores these questions, focusing on the extractive industries and the agriculture sector.15 It first examines, based on positive law, the foundations of natural resource contracts, focusing on the notions of sovereignty, ownership and consent. This conceptual exploration highlights that, while consent underpins the contract, the legal construction of (state) sovereignty and (resource) ownership sets parameters for the expression of consent—namely, the actors whose consent is required, the processes through which consent is formed and manifested, and the bounds within which consent can lawfully operate. The chapter then distils some practical implications for natural resource contracts, focusing on illustrative issues relating both to the substantive and procedural dimensions of the investor-state contract, and to reframing the contracting process around a wider range of resource right holders and affected actors. The findings provide pointers for piecing together
the diverse and possibly conflicting commercial and non-commercial interests that are at stake in natural resource contracts.
Authors and Publishers
Throughout the world, we provide scientific and professional communities with superior specialist information – produced by authors and colleagues across cultures in a nurtured collegial atmosphere of which we are justifiably proud.
We foster communication among our customers – researchers, students and professionals – enabling them to work more efficiently, thereby advancing knowledge and learning. Our dynamic growth allows us to invest continually all over the world.