The proper use of the Precautionary Principle

21 Oct The proper use of the Precautionary Principle

National Academy of Technologies of France (NATF)

The Precautionary Principle (PP), introduced into the French Constitution in 2004, is the epicentre of a passionate debate involving the whole of society. Is it then possible to identify the “proper use” of this principle which would allow, between irresponsibility and immobilization, the ways to construct a shared progress serving everyone? Without taking a binary position “pro” or “contra”, the NATF is making 4 main recommendations:
1. It affirms that PP is a Principle of Action,
2. Technical and scientific expertise is indispensible and should always be included in debates but the final decision belongs to the political world.
3. Legal difficulties related to applying the PP to important societal issues must be solved.
4. Application of the PP beyond the sanitary and environmental issues should be considered with a lot of caution.

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