Precautionary principle

A response to uncertainty in the face of risks to health or the environment. In general, this involves taking action to avoid serious or irreversible potential harm, despite the lack of scientific certainty as to the likelihood, magnitude or causation of that harm. Precaution is now an established principle of environmental governance, prominent in law, policy and management instruments at international, regional and domestic levels, across such diverse areas as pollution, toxic chemicals, food, fisheries management, species introductions and wildlife trade.