The 'Precautionary Principle' entails identification of risk, scientific uncertainty and ignorance, and involves transparent and inclusive decision-making processes (Freestone and Hey, 1997). It is a primarily a tool for policy decision, but must impact on the scientific research agenda. It is the scientists, not the policy-makers who are in a position to identify risks, to pinpoint uncertainties and unknowns, and to provide the basis for communication. Thus, it is of key importance that scientists take responsibility for the anticipation of problems.
|Questions over GM maize.|
Photo © Greenpeace / Martin Langer