The Precautionary Principle most recently has been described at Principle 6 within the Earth Charter. It is within the Earth Charter that the Precautionary Principle is most clearly stated today.
Within the context of a global dialogue today, this priniciple is an outgrowth of a global dialogue that has taken place over 40 years contributed to by thousands of environmental experts, non-governmental organizations and private citizens that met over the course of numerous international conferences that was launched by the Brundtland Commission, which was convened by the UN and chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland in 1983. By 1987 the Commission’s findings demonstrated that nations of people were borrowing environmental capital from future generations with no intention to repay.
The work of this Commission resulted in the convening of numerous global summits on sustainability up through 2002, when the Earth Charter was officially recognized as a foundation and series of principles for responding to the global environmental crisis by UNESCO and officially adopted in Peace Palace Ceremony at the Hague. This message is also fundamental to all of Dr. Brundtland’s efforts since serving as chair for the Brundtland Commission. Dr. Bruntland , a trained physician and public health expert, has served on three times between 1981 and 1996 as Prime Minister of Norway and as Director General of the World Health Organization form 1998-2003. She is currently a Special Envoy for Climate Change to the UN Secretariat Generale, Ban Ki-moon.
The Precautionary Principle is most prominent presence in the writings of members of the Earth Charter, who include Global Diplomat and Earth Charter Commissioner, Mikhail Gorbachev, Philanthropist and UN Diplomat, Maurice Strong, and Economist, Hazel Henderson. These leaders contributed to a book of essays titled, The Earth Charter in Action .
Other environmental experts in law, science and public policy, who built their thought leadership from this principle include Dr. Peter Montague, Environmental Research Foundation and Publisher of the Rachel Newsletter, , Nancy J. Myers and Carolyn Rafensperger, co-authors of Precautionary Tools for Reshaping Environmental Policy and founders of the Scientific and Environmental Health Network , and Attorney Cass R. Sunstein , Faculty at U. of Chicago Law School , who has written a series of books that examine the law and public policy beyond the Precautionary Principle, that includes the Laws of Fear. Sunstein is now an advisor to the Obama Administration.
Only now is the Precautionary Principle becoming significant because of the increased concern with Global Warming. As a result more corporations and public interest groups work are working toward reducing the Carbon Footprint and a call for corporations to adopt the Triple Bottom Line management of ROI that considers factors of economic, social and environmental impact in managing shareholder value.