International ‘illegality’ and anomalous natural resources development: the case of Namibia, 1966-1986

After two decades of international legal effort to bring Namibia to independence, and many years of accompanying attempts to preserve its natural resources base, neither goal has been achieved; the overall pace of exploitation has quickened and long-term economic damage has increased. The author describes the ‘authority gap’ created by international efforts to undermine and eventually displace South African rule over the territory and the inability to replace diminished South African authority with viable, enforceable international control. Instead, limited authority has resided in the hands of two bodies – local Namibian administrations under South African dominance, and the internationally recognized, though effectively powerless, United Nations Council for Namibia. Neither authority has been capable of effectively negotiating the terms of company operation. As a result, resources like diamonds and fish have not been exploited at an efficient rate and the Namibian economy has not received its fair share of economic gain. In the final section, the author considers present attempts aimed at stemming the outward flow of resources, and argues that the only foreseeable means of gaining effective legal protection for Namibia’s natural resources is through mandatory economic sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. Notes, ref.

Title: International ‘illegality’ and anomalous natural resources development: the case of Namibia, 1966-1986
Author: Cosslett, C.E.
Year: 1987
Periodical: Lesotho Law Journal: A Journal of Law and Development
Volume: 3
Issue: 1
Pages: 223-258
Language: English
Geographic term: Namibia
Subject: natural resources
Abstract: After two decades of international legal effort to bring Namibia to independence, and many years of accompanying attempts to preserve its natural resources base, neither goal has been achieved; the overall pace of exploitation has quickened and long-term economic damage has increased. The author describes the ‘authority gap’ created by international efforts to undermine and eventually displace South African rule over the territory and the inability to replace diminished South African authority with viable, enforceable international control. Instead, limited authority has resided in the hands of two bodies – local Namibian administrations under South African dominance, and the internationally recognized, though effectively powerless, United Nations Council for Namibia. Neither authority has been capable of effectively negotiating the terms of company operation. As a result, resources like diamonds and fish have not been exploited at an efficient rate and the Namibian economy has not received its fair share of economic gain. In the final section, the author considers present attempts aimed at stemming the outward flow of resources, and argues that the only foreseeable means of gaining effective legal protection for Namibia’s natural resources is through mandatory economic sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. Notes, ref.