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On October 22, 1981, the Governments of Iceland and Norway approved an agreement for the joint management of the resources of the Jan Mayen continental shelf. Incorporating the recommendations of a three-member conciliation commission, the Agreement obviated the need to draw a line demarcating the right to exploit the nonliving resources in the disputed area. The proliferation of boundary disputes during the intervening 7 years makes this an appropriate time to look at the potential benefits of using this approach in other maritime boundary disputes. After reviewing the stages in the resolution of the Jan Mayen dispute and the terms of the Agreement, this essay will discuss other situations in which the joint development approach has been used, the factors affecting its success and some examples of current delimitation disputes where this approach may be applicable.