5. Meeting the Challenges of Global Poverty

Global poverty is a widely recognized challenge and it has many different even though interconnected aspects. We are focusing on questions concerning territorial rights and questions concerning the rights – and prospects – of the poorest to actively contribute to a battering of their situation.

Main investigator: Alejandra Mancilla (CSMN)

This project is carried out in close cooperation with The Territory and Justice Research Network (http://eis.bris.ac.uk/~plcdib/territory.html) and the Humanities & Social Sciences Expert Group from the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (HASSEG-SCAR, http://antarctica-ssag.org/ <http://antarctica-ssag.org/> ).


5.1 The Normative Grounds of Claims over Land and Natural Resources, and their Limits

While most of the literature on territorial rights so far has focused on the justifications given by self-determining collectives to exercise sovereignty over the geographical areas that they inhabit, little has been said on the normative grounds that these collectives invoke to justify sovereign rights over uninhabited land and over natural resources in general.

This project seeks to fill in that gap by sorting out and critically examining the different arguments that may be offered in this regard – based, for example, on attachment to the territory by a certain group; on the past and present interventions made in it; or on the essential functions that the land and the resources in question help to fulfill for the said group. The project moreover inquires about the limits of the rights thence derived, paying special attention to certain resources that do not fit well within the framework of Full Permanent Sovereignty, like migratory species, shared ecosystems and volcanic complexes.

Having in sight pressing challenges like climate change and the biodiversity crisis, and bearing in mind the increasing awareness of the interconnectedness of the planet’s different systems, a final aim is to sketch new understandings of sovereignty (and alternative ways of governance) when it comes to the control, use and administration of uninhabited land and natural resources worldwide.


5.2 The Right of Necessity, Global Poverty and Moral Cosmopolitanism

Starting from the main assumptions of moral cosmopolitanism, this project explores the practical implications of having a basic right to subsistence when the latter remains systematically unfulfilled. Reviving the conception of a right of necessity for the chronically deprived (first conceptualized by Christian theologians and philosophers in the Middle Ages, and later developed by early modern natural law thinkers), it proposes that, given certain conditions, those who are chronically deprived are morally permitted to take the property of others, and that the latter should not interfere with their actions. A second part analyzes the main objections against this principle, especially the charge that it might turn out to be overdemanding for prospective duty-bearers, and that it might be ‘a remedy worse than the disease’. A third part proposes that, when designing the basic institutional structure, both domestic and global, the goal should be to minimize the likelihood of people falling in a situation such that they may claim necessity, thus turning this right into which it should ideally be: a truly exceptional prerogative.

Published May 12, 2016 11:38 AM - Last modified May 12, 2016 11:38 AM