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Precautionary Principle - International Negotiations

The Precautionary Principle
Cartagena Biosafety Protocol
Ratified June 2003

Article 10, Decision Procedure:
6. Lack of scientific certainty due to insufficient relevant scientific information and knowledge regarding the extent of the potential adverse effects of a living modified organism on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in the Party of import, taking also into account risks to human health, shall not prevent that Party from taking a decision, as appropriate, with regard to the import of the living modified organism in question as referred to in paragraph 3 above, in order to avoid or minimize such potential adverse effects.

Article 11, Procedure for Living Modified Organisms Intended for Direct Use as Food or Feed, or for Processing:
8. Lack of scientific certainty due to insufficient relevant scientific information and knowledge regarding the extent of the potential adverse effects of a living modified organism on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in the Party of import, taking also into account risks to human health, shall not prevent that Party from taking a decision, as appropriate, with regard to the import of that living modified organism intended for direct use as food or feed, or for processing, in order to avoid or minimize such potential adverse effects.
Please see: http://www.biodiv.org/biosafety/protocol.asp

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
Entry into force May 2004

Article 1, Objective:
Mindful of the precautionary approach as set forth in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the objective of this Convention is to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants.

Article 8, Listing of chemicals:
7. If on the basis of the risk profile conducted in accordance with Annex E, the Committee decides . . . that the chemical is likely as a result of its long-range environmental transport to lead to significant adverse human health and/or environmental effects such that global action is warranted, the proposal shall proceed. Lack of full scientific certainty shall not prevent the proposal from proceeding.
Please see: http://www.pops.int

Ministerial Declarations of the International North Sea Conferences
1995, 1990, 1987
The Second International Conference on the Protection of the North Sea (London 1987) states: "... in order to protect the North Sea from possibly damaging effects of the most dangerous substances, a precautionary approach is necessary which may require action to control inputs of such substances even before a causal link has been established by absolutely clear scientific evidence..." Subsequent declarations in 1990 and 1995 reaffirmed precaution as a guiding principle.


Energy Charter Treaty
1994
Ref: Annex I, Sept 14, 1994, 27/94 CONF/104
In pursuit of sustainable development and taking into account its obligations under those international agreements concerning the environment to which it is a party, each Contracting Party shall strive to minimize in an economically efficient manner harmful Environmental Impact occurring either within or outside its Area from all operations within the Energy Cycle within its Area, taking proper account of safety. In doing so each Contracting Party shall act in a Cost-Effective manner. In its policies and actions each Contracting Party shall strive to take precautionary measures to prevent or minimize Environmental Degradation. The Contracting Parties agree that the polluter in the Areas of Contracting Parties, should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution, including transboundary pollution, with due regard to the public interest and without distorting investment in the Energy Cycle or International Trade.


Framework Convention on Climate Change
1992
Ref: United Nations, May 9, 1992; 31 ILM 849
The parties should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent, or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing such measures, taking into account that policies and measures to deal with climate change should be cost-effective so as to ensure global benefits at the lowest possible cost. To achieve this, such policies and measures should take into account different socio-economic contexts, be comprehensive, cover all relevant sources, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases and adaptation, and comprise all economic sectors. Efforts to address climate change may be carried out cooperatively by interested parties.


Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes
1992
Also known as: Helsinki Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes.


Bergen Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Development in the ECE Region
No Link Available (eds.).
1990
Ref: UN Doc. A/CONF.151/PC/10; 1 Yearbook on International Environmental Law 429 (1990): 4312
In order to achieve sustainable development, policies must be based on the precautionary principle. Environmental measures must anticipate, prevent, and attack the causes of environmental degradation. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation.


Second World Climate Conference: Ministerial Declaration of the Second World Climate Conference
No Link Available (eds.).
1990
Ref: Yearbook of International Environmental Law 473 (1990): 475
In order to achieve sustainable development in all countries and to meet the needs of present and future generations, precautionary measures to meet the climate challenge must anticipate, prevent, attack or minimize the causes of, and mitigate the adverse consequences of, environmental degradation that might result from climate change. Where there are threats of serious of irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reasons for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent such environmental degradation. The measure adopted should take into account different socio-economic contexts.


United Nations Environment Programme Report of the Governing Council on the Work of its Fifteenth Session, United Nations Environment Programme
No Link Available (eds.).
1989
Ref: UN GAOR, 44th Session, Supp No 25, 12th mtg at 153, UN DOC A44/25
Recommends that all Governments adopt "the principle of precautionary action" as the basis of their policy with regard to the prevention and elimination of marine pollution.


Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
1987
Ref: 26 ILM 154
Parties to this protocol....Determined to protect the ozone layer by taking precautionary measures to control equitably total global emissions of substances that deplete it, with the ultimate objective of their elimination on the basis of developments in scientific knowledge, taking into account technical and economic considerations.


Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators (ENTRI)
Finding information about environmental treaties and national resource indicators.




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