Arbitrary and Capricious: The Precautionary Principle in European and Global Lawmaking
14:00-14:30 Welcome Coffee
14:30-16:30 Lectures and Discussion
The European Union has been one of the world’s foremost proponents of the precautionary principle, and the principle has been heavily relied upon by EU regulators and courts. However, the EU has utilised the precautionary principle without proper definition or analysis.
As such, the principle has been used to ban products that pose few risks, to promulgate regulations such as REACH which are likely to cause more harm than good, and to overturn long-standing principles of due process in law. In essence the precautionary principle has become a justification for arbitrary and capricious judgements that undermine the rule of law.
Citing the principle as justification, the EU recently threatened sanctions against Uganda’s agricultural products if the country uses DDT in its malaria control programme, even though indoor residual spraying of DDT is the most cost-effective means of controlling malarial mosquitoes and does not affect agricultural products. The EU’s application of the precautionary principle has become a matter of life-or-death for poor Africans.
An even more frightening prospect is that this illustrates a broader agenda by the European Union to utilise the precautionary principle as veiled trade protectionism.
Please join us for this timely and revealing discussion about the perils of the precautionary principle in the European Union.
Panel 1: Why the precautionary principle is ill-defined and undesirable
Gary Marchant: Reckless, Arbitrary and Ill advised – Why the Precautionary Principle isn’t Prudent
Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law & Ethics, Arizona State University, USA
Dr. Gabriel Calzada: Precaution with the Precautionary Principle
Professor of Economics, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid
President and Director, Juan de Mariana Institute
Senior Fellow, Centre for the New Europe
Professor Lucas Bergkamp: REACH, Precaution and the Rule of Law
Professor of International Environmental Law, Erasmus University, Netherlands
Partner, Hunton and Williams, Brussels
Panel 2: The EU’s precautionary threats towards the Developing World
Richard Tren: The EU’s Blackmail Against Uganda
Director, Africa Fighting Malaria (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Co-author, Malaria and the DDT Story (Institute of Economic Affairs, 2001)
Julian Morris: The Precautionary Principle as a Trade Barrier
Executive Director, International Policy Network and Visiting Professor, Buckingham University, UK
Editor, Rethinking Risk and the Precautionary Principle (Butterworth-Heinemann, 1999)
RSVP: Cecile Philippe,
email: Cecile.philippe [at] cne.org
telephone +32 2 506 40 06