january, 2019

09jan12:30 pm2:30 pmAnna Stilz: 'Resource Sovereignty and International Responsibilities'A Hart Seminar


Event Details

It is my pleasure to invite you to a Hart Seminar featuring Professor Anna Stilz: ‘Resource Sovereignty and International Responsibilities’. This is an optional pre-read seminar, and the reading is available for download at this link. A light buffet lunch will follow the event.

Abstract: Among the territorial rights states claim is the exclusive right to control, regulate, and manage the natural resources found within their territories, and sometimes to profit from their sale or taxation. In international law, this prerogative is enshrined in the doctrine of Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources, proclaimed in 1962 by UN General Assembly Resolution 1803 (XII). This chapter investigates the plausibility of the permanent sovereignty principle, with specific reference to the case of forest carbon sinks. A sustainable solution to climate change will likely require countries with large forests to conserve these areas, facilitating their use for global carbon sequestration. Can countries appeal to the doctrine of permanent sovereignty to insist on exploiting their forests as they like, even if that exposes people in other regions of the globe to grave harms? This paper argues against discarding resource sovereignty. Instead, I defend a limited resource sovereignty principle, different from the permanent sovereignty doctrine as it exists in international law. This alternative principle is narrowly tailored to protect morally important interests in occupancy and self-determination. I argue that resource sovereignty (1) should be interpreted as a principle of jurisdiction rather than ownership; and (2) should be constrained by duties of environmental justice that require cooperation in international institutions.

Anna Stilz is Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. Her research focuses on questions of political membership, authority and political obligation, nationalism and self-determination, rights to land and territory, and collective agency. Author of Liberal Loyalty: Freedom, Obligation, and the State (PUP 2009), on the moral significance of political citizenship and state authority, she is currently finishing a new book on sovereign rights to control land and territory. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2005, and a B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1999.

Professor Stilz’s seminar is part of our Hart Seminar Series, which features a diverse group of leading scholars working at the intersection of law and philosophy. Hart Publishing contributes generous support to make the seminar series possible.


(Wednesday) 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm


University of Surrey School of Law

Frank Whittle Building (AB) Fifth Floor, Guildford, GU2 7XH