Article Summary on Marine Pollution
The article, entitled “Redistributing the Burden of Scientific Uncertainty: Implications of the Precautionary Principle for State and Nonstate Actors” by Maguire and Ellis (2005), is primarily concerned with the role of the precautionary principle in international environmental law and policy. The precautionary principle, also called precautionary approach, has emerged from a German environmental policy in multilateral environmental agreements and has become contentious issue on marine pollution, pollution prevention, climate change, ozone layer protection, fisheries conservation and management, preservation of biodiversity, World Trade Organization’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, hormone-treated beef, and genetically modified organisms. It was necessary to examine the role and implications of the precautionary principle because it has unique qualities that allow state and nonstate actors to identify issues and build theory for better outcomes.
Therefore, a case study of the 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) was conducted to obtain information. The authors found that policy makers are faced with burden of scientific uncertainty in developing and improving principles that would lower the threshold of evidence of human health and environmental threats. They need to assess and implement policies, speeds up process, coordinate in multilateral processes, facilitate the roles of international, assume a greater responsibility for policymaking, and present a list of provisions in a narrower perspective for interpretation and discussion. Indeed, the precautionary principle is an appropriate response to overcome the risks and threats of dangerous chemicals and other causes that harm human health and the environment. The article calls for justification of the policy makers’ decisions and actions according to the nature of the problem as well as for appropriation of the level and distribution of risks and benefits of industrialization.
Maguire, S. & Ellis, J. (2005). Redistributing the Burden of Scientific Uncertainty: Implications of the Precautionary Principle for State and Nonstate Actors. Global Governance 11(4), 505+.