Natural resources and the law

Research funding will investigate how international law is strategically used to control natural resources

Dr Julia Dehm has received a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council to support her research project ‘Resource Struggles and International Law: Navigating Global Transformations’.

The $453,177 grant will fund what will be the first research project of its kind in Australia to develop a thorough account of how international law is strategically used to control natural resources.

“I am delighted to have been awarded an ARC DECRA grant for my project which will examine how international law both shapes, and is shaped by, struggles over natural resources in periods of global transformation,” says Dr Dehm.

“To date, international legal scholarship on natural resources has focused on resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction, such as fisheries in the high seas, the minerals of the deep seabed, and outer space; or resources that cross territorial boundaries, such as rivers or underground oil and gas reserves.”

“There has been very limited consideration of how international law impacts the governance of resources within nation states or between states.”

Dr Dehm’s research project aims to address this gap in the international legal literature by generating new knowledge about how international law is used to assert power over natural resources and secure access to those resources.

“The expected outcomes include empirical analyses of three key periods of global transformation in the twentieth century and a socio-legal analysis of how international law is shaping struggles over natural resources during the current transition to a net zero world.”

“My findings should also provide significant benefits by helping nations to be better informed about the current legal, geopolitical, and economic transformations occurring and how they might navigate them.”