Green Economy Group, European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, Denmar
The precautionary principle is a key principle of environment governance. It poses challenges to both environmental science and environmental governance because it applies to 'situations of scientific complexity, uncertainty and ignorance, where there may be a need to act in order to avoid, or reduce, potentially serious or irreversible threats to health and/or the environment, using an appropriate strength of scientific evidence, and taking into account the pros and cons of action and inaction and their distribution' (EEA 2013, p. 681). As a tool to manage risks, uncertainties and ignorance in complex social ecological systems, it is a core element of governance for a transition towards sustainability and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
The course will explore challenges and possible ways forward for the effective and appropriate application of the precautionary principle. It will bring together a variety of highly skilled scholars and practitioners with expertise on the precautionary principle, risk assessment and management, environment and health research, science and technology studies, the governance of innovation, environmental governance, business transformation and long-term transitions to sustainability.