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Precaution for Responsible Innovation: New Options to Move Forward

Presentation slide used during the conference

© Recipes project


Precaution for Responsible Innovation: New Options to Move Forward

online and Brussels, Belgium

On 11 May 2022, 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 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 on-site or online. Check out the presentations held at the RECIPES conference.

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.

The RECIPES project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824665. The project runs from 2019 to 2021.

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More content from this project

Dr. Heidi Stockhaus
online and Brussels, Belgium
Project ID
precautionary principle, innovation, health, safety, engagement, policymakers, citizens, news, governance, health, safety, precautionary principle, innovation, risk, technology, chemicals, agriculture
Europe, global