The Precautionary Principle Revisited: Its Interpretations and their Conservation Consequences

The precautionary principle was included in 1992 in the Rio Declaration on Environmental and Development and is a part of important international agreements and documents, for example, the Convention on Biological Diversity. Yet the interpretation of this principle is not straightforward as a guide for environmental policy – a variety of interpretations are possible. This paper identifies and examines various economic versions of the principle. Furthermore, it shows that different economic versions of the principle can give rise to conflicting policy recommendations for resource conservation. In addition, it demonstrates that applications of the principle do not always favour (natural) resource conservation (for example, biodiversity conservation) although the main support for it politically has been on the assumption it does. The principle’s potential consequences for biodiversity conservation of the introduction of new genetic material, such as genetically modified organisms are explored

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Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
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ISSN: 1327-8231 (Other)
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JEL Codes:
Q2; Q28; Q3; H43
Series Statement:
Economics, Ecology and the Environment Working Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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