Summer university: The Precautionary Principle in Sustainability Transitions: Thinking forwards, Looking backwards, Acting

Open to the Public
Thursday, June 28, 2018 - 9:00am
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Thursday, June 28, 2018 - 9:00am to Wednesday, July 4, 2018 - 9:00am
Course Director(s): 

Sybille van den Hove

Bridging for Sustainability, Brussels, Belgium

Ruben Mnatsakanian

Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Anton Shkaruba

Erda RTE, Rijswijk, the Netherlands/ Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

David Stanners

European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, Denmark
Course Faculty: 

Hans Bruyninckx

European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, Denmark

Sarah Cornell

Stockholm Resilience Center, Stockholm University, Sweden

Steffen Foss Hansen

Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby

David Gee

Retired (former senior advisor EEA), London, UK

Philippe Grandjean

University of Southern Denmark, Odense

Jock Martin

European Environmental Agency, Copenhagen, Denmark

Owen McIntyre

School of Law, University College Cork, Ireland

Pierre Mottet

Ion Beam Applications SA, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Xenia Trier

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.