Sustainable development, sustainable decisions and the precautionary principle

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13 Citations (Scopus)


One of the key foundations of sustainable development is the precautionary principle, a concept that has given rise to a considerable amount of controversy. For some, it is a barrier to technological progress and development, for others a means of preventing potentially harmful applications of science. What does this principle actually mean? What is its contribution to sustainable development in general and to decision-making in response to natural hazards in particular? How should it be applied? This paper will consider whether an examination of the relationship between science and law can assist in answering questions such as these, and thus provide some greater clarity about this important principle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-528
Number of pages14
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number3
Early online date15 Feb 2007
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007


  • sustainability
  • precautionary principle
  • science
  • law
  • prediction


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