Wingspread Conference on the Precautionary Principle

The Wingspread Conference on the Precautionary Principle was a three-day academic conference where the precautionary principle was defined. The January 1998 meeting took place at Wingspread , headquarters of the Johnson Foundation in Racine, Wisconsin , and involved 35 scientists , lawyers , policy makers and environmentalists from the United States, Canada and Europe. [1] [2]


Main article: Precautionary principle

The formal concept evolved out of the German socio-legal tradition in the 1930s, centering on the concept of good household management. [3] In German the concept is Vorsorgeprinzip , which translates into English as a precautionary principle .

Many of the concepts underpinning the precautionary principle pre-date the term’s inception. For example, the essence of the principle is captured in a cautionary aphorisms such as “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, “better safe than sorry”, and “look before you leap”. [4] The precautionary principle may also be used in the evolution of the first principles of ” first, do no harm ” to apply to institutions and institutional decision-making processes rather than individuals.

Final statement

In the final text of the agreement, it was agreed that the precautionary principle could be


When it comes to the effects of environmental hazards, it should be taken into account if it is not fully established scientifically. [5]

The members aussi Concluded That current environmental policies do not do enough to prevent prevention of environmental disasters INSTEAD controlling damage incident after-year.

Follow up committees

The February 2, 2000 European Commission Communication on the Precautionary Principle notes: “The precautionary principle of the place where the scientific evidence is inadequate, the inconclusive or uncertain , animal or plant health may be inconsistent with the high level of protection chosen by the EU “. [6]

The January 29, 2000 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety says: “Lack of scientific certainty due to inadequate scientific information … will not prevent the Party of import, in order to avoid or reduce such potential adverse effects, from taking a decision, as appropriate, with regard to the import of the living modified organism in question. ”


  1. Jump up^ “The Precautionary Principle” . The Science and Environmental Health Network. January 2000 . Retrieved October 25, 2008 .
  2. Jump up^ Detwyler, Thomas (March 3, 2001). “The Precautionary Principle” . Archived from the original on November 8, 2004 . Retrieved October 25, 2008 .
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  5. Jump up^ “Wingspread Conference on the Precautionary Principle” . The Science and Environmental Health Network. January 26, 1998 . Retrieved October 25, 2008 .
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