Precaution for Responsible Innovation: New Options to Move Forward
On May 11, the RECIPES project has held its dissemination conference “Precaution for Responsible Innovation: New Options to Move Forward”.
At the conference, the RECIPES project presented and discussed some of the ideas on how to improve the use of the precautionary principle that were developed in consultation with several stakeholders at various points during the project period (the RECIPES guidance). The conference brought together around 90 participants from a range of different actor groups including several of those who had participated in one or more of the RECIPES workshops. The conference was carried out in hybrid format, so the participants joined it onsite or online.
Several of the speakers and panellists stressed that the topicality of the precautionary principle has increased in the past, e.g., due to the increasing transgression of planetary boundaries. They considered the principle to be even more important in the future. They appreciated that the RECIPES guidance reconfirms the importance of the precautionary principle and reinstates its innovative potential, especially by stressing its dual role as a legal principle and safeguard and as a policy principle and compass. They identified the RECIPES guidance as a timely document.
It was emphasised that the use of the precautionary principle requires political discussions at all levels (local, regional, national, EU, global). These would need to open up complex issues to the wider public, involve the knowledge and perspectives of a wide diversity of actors, and deal with (uncertain) risks as well as (uncertain) benefits, and address questions such as “(uncertain) risks and potentially serious harm for whom?” and “(uncertain) benefits for whom?” and “what are sustainable and public-interest-oriented pathways out of interlinked multiple crises such as climate change and loss of biodiversity?”.
It was highlighted that recent reports by IPBES, IPCC and UNEP, CBD and WHO on biodiversity, climate change and environment, agree that solutions for these wicked challenges of a systemic nature, characterized by uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguities, can only be achieved by systemic, multidimensional, cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and participative approaches. The benefit of the precautionary principle would be that it enables solutions for (uncertain) risks in a systemic way that not simply shifts responsibility to the individual level.
For more information, you can find the programme of the conference HERE and the presentations held at the conference below. Moreover, you can find statements by some panellists below (the panellists were not asked to provide a written statement but some have made it available to the RECIPES team).
- Welcome note by the coordinator: Guidance for the future use of the precautionary principle, Ellen Vos & Kristel de Smedt (University of Maastricht)
- The RECIPES engagement approach: Reaching out to society and policy for developing the guidance - Aske Palsberg & Niels-Kristian Tjelle Holm (The Danish Board of Technology Foundation)
- Discussion input no. 1 from the RECIPES guidance: The precautionary principle works best in a double role: safeguard and compass - Tijs Sikma (Rathenau Institute)
- Discussion input no. 2 from the RECIPES guidance: The precautionary principle is a knowledge and participation issue - Jeroen van der Sluijs (University of Bergen) and Pia-Johanna Schweizer (Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies)
- Intervention by Christine von Weizsäcker
- Intervention by Carolina Vigo
Dr. Marion Dreyer, Dialogik