McDonald, J, Tr(e)ading Cautiously: precaution in WTO decision-making, Implementing the Precautionary Principle: Perspectives and Prospects, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, Fisher, Jones & von Schomberg (ed), Cheltenham, pp. 160-181. ISBN 1845427025 (2006) [Research Book Chapter]
Copyright Elizabeth Fisher, Judith Jones and Rene von Schomberg 2006.
Official URL: http://www.e-elgar.co.uk/search_results.lasso
Of all the principles of sustainable development, the precautionary principle
is at once the most alluring and elusive. It offers the reassurance of a
'do no harm' philosophy, but lacks the necessary clarity for direct implementation or application. 'Precaution' attempts to bridge the gap between
the innovative powers of science and its capacity to anticipate and predict
consequences (Harremös el al. 2002, p. 209); in regulatory terms, it recognizes that prevention is better than cure.
The concept of precaution in environmental and health decision making
has emerged at a time when international economic activity is expanding in
size and geographical scope, largely spurred by the very technological
innovation that precaution responds to. The domination of economic
developmentalist discourse in global politics means that precaution is constantly under pressure; criticized. for being anti-progress. Nowhere are these tensions better demonstrated than within the principal vehicle for global
economic integration, expansion and liberalization the World Trade
Organization (WTO). As part of this book exploring the implementation
of the principle, this chapter examines precaution in the law and practice
of the WTO.
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