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HomeSustainable LivingEducationPRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE - explained by EDO

PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE - explained by EDO

Last Updated on Monday, 12 March 2012 14:20

These notes are taken from a paper written by David Cole and available from EDO Australian Network of Environmental Defenders Offices Inc (ANEDO).

cautionAny member of the public can get initial free advice from the EDO. Development applications, tree preservation, air, water and noise pollution, forestry, mining, contaminated land, wildlife protection and environmental impact assessment are all areas in which EDOs can help.

The Concept 

The precautionary principle in the context of environmental protection is essentially about the management of scientific risk.  It is a fundamental component of the concept of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) and has been defined in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration (1992)[1]:

     Where there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing  measures to prevent environmental degradation.

It has generally been accepted to include actions by regulators such as the use of statutory powers to refuse environmental approvals to proposed developments or activities


[1] United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio, 1992 (the "Rio Declaration").

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