Importance of the precautionary principle emphasised at RECIPES final conference

Several of the invited speakers and panellists stressed at the RECIPES conference “Precaution for Responsible Innovation: New Options to Move Forward” (11 May 2022) that the topicality of the precautionary principle has increased in the past, e.g., due to the increasing transgression of planetary boundaries. They considered the principle to be even more important in the future. They appreciated that the RECIPES guidance on the application of the precautionary principle in the EU reconfirms the importance of the principle and reinstates its innovative potential, especially by stressing its dual role as a legal principle and safeguard and as a policy principle and compass. They identified the RECIPES guidance as a timely document.

It was highlighted that recent reports by IPBES, IPCC and UNEP, CBD and WHO on biodiversity, climate change and environment agree that solutions for these wicked challenges of a systemic nature, characterized by uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguities, can only be achieved by systemic, multidimensional, cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and participative approaches. The benefit of the precautionary principle would be that it enables solutions for (uncertain) risks in a systemic way that not simply shifts responsibility to the individual level. It was emphasised that the use of the precautionary principle requires political discussions at all levels (local, regional, national, EU, global).

RECIPES Marion Dreyer