Science and precaution A complex connection Claire Weill, Iddri The Hague, May 12, 2004 6, rue du Général Clergerie - 75116 Paris
Precaution in international declarations and conventions • Rio declaration, Convention on climate change, Article 3, principles • A major political step • A clear role of science in raising concerns of human activities in the environment • But also perhaps a misunderstanding on the role of science • Role of “other factors” in collective preferences
The Heidelberg appeal • A denial of the role of alert played by scientists and of the non scientific considerations in policy-making • Towards an opposition between “acting science” and “enlightening science”? • The reality is of course much more complex
Science in society • The demands on scientists are of two kinds • Promotion of innovation • Description of the effects oh human activities on environment and health • From “laws of nature” to interaction between man and “the environment” – a major change of perspective
How to progress? • Data collection and harmonisation (climate) • Access to data of other countries (crisis) • Agencies for risk assessment (EU, MS) • The case of IPCC : exception or model?
Conclusion • Scientists have still to analyze their practices: • Status of research, of potential applications and of public intervention • The presentation of expertise to policymakers has to improve • Organization of expertise has to take into account the different time horizons and constraints of science and policy