Does international law have the resources to manage, if not solve, this complex global problem of scarcity? Different areas of international law governed by different regimes have their own ways of conceptualizing and managing scarcity. International human rights law may frame the problem as one of individual economic and social rights or as one of the right of indigenous groups. For the most part though, these models from different areas of international law operate in isolation from one another, following their own internal logics.

The problem of scarcity has started to get the attention of international law scholars and experts, but much of the discussion has remained confined to specific regimes or regime complexes. Given the interconnected nature of the problem and the complicated interaction of myriad moving parts, however, a more holistic approach, one that can bridge both subjects and regimes, is required.