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6. Assembling The Tripod: Synthesis

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Chapter Summary

This study has taken up the task of defining as clearly as possible the legal implications for states of the precautionary principle as a part of general, customary international law. It has attempted to answer the question whether it is possible to discern any concrete rights or duties in this respect and, if so, how distinctive these are. The purpose of this study is better served by focussing directly on their aggregate result and the bare answer to the question. The definitions provided in the chapter clearly reflect that the precautionary principle applies to all types of environmental harm anywhere, but not to all levels; and that likewise the principle applies to all types of uncertainty, but not to all levels. The difference between the right and the duty concerns the gravity of the anticipated harm.

Keywords: customary international law; precautionary action; precautionary principle; tripod



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