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9. The Precautionary Principle And Socio-Economic Interests

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Chapter Summary

The main purpose of the precautionary principle under general international law is to protect the environment, including for its own sake. This does not mean, however, that in the demands it places on states to achieve this purpose the precautionary principle is cost-oblivious or disregards social and economic interests. In fact, socio-economic factors and considerations of cost-effectiveness are part both of the rationale of the precautionary principle and of its make-up, in line with the overarching concept of sustainable development. The great and multifaceted utilitarian value of nature, a capital which should not be encroached upon if its interest is to be enjoyed on a sustained basis by present and future generations and indeed, if the very existence of human societies and economies in the long run is to be advanced, has clearly played a part in the motives of states to adopt the precautionary principle.

Keywords: precautionary action; precautionary principle



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