Council of the European Union [Printer-friendly version] June 18, 2005 EUROPEAN UNION RE-ENDORSES THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE [Rachel's introduction: "Where there is scientific uncertainty, implement evaluation procedures and take appropriate preventive action in order to avoid damage to human health or to the environment."] [RPR introduction: The Council of the European Union (the main decision-making body of the EU) met for two days in Brussels June 16-17, 2005, and issued a 41-page document titled, "Presidency Conclusions (10255/05)," which is available in PDF format here. Among other decisions, the Council adopted a "Declaration of Guiding Principles for Sustainable Development, reprinted below, which includes an endorsement, or re-endorsement, of the precautionary principle.] ANNEX I DECLARATION ON GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Sustainable development is a key objective set out in the Treaty, for all European Community policies. It aims at the continuous improvement of the quality of life on earth of both current and future generations. It is about safeguarding the earth's capacity to support life in all its diversity. It is based on the principles of democracy and the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights including freedom and equal opportunities for all. It brings about solidarity within and between generations. It seeks to promote a dynamic economy with full employment and a high level of education, health protection, social and territorial cohesion and environmental protection in a peaceful and secure world, respecting cultural diversity. To achieve these aims in Europe and globally, the European Union and its Member States are committed to pursue and respect, on their own and with partners, the following objectives and principles: Key objectives ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Safeguard the earth's capacity to support life in all its diversity, respect the limits of the planet's natural resources and ensure a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment. Prevent and reduce environmental pollution and promote sustainable production and consumption to break the link between economic growth and environmental degradation. SOCIAL EQUITY AND COHESION Promote a democratic, socially inclusive, cohesive, healthy, safe and just society with respect for fundamental rights and cultural diversity that creates equal opportunities and combats discrimination in all its forms. ECONOMIC PROSPERITY Promote a prosperous, innovative, knowledge-rich, competitive and eco-efficient economy which provides high living standards and full and high-quality employment throughout the European Union. MEETING OUR INTERNATIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES Encourage the establishment and defend the stability of democratic institutions across the world, based on peace, security and freedom. Actively promote sustainable development worldwide and ensure that the European Union's internal and external policies are consistent with global sustainable development and its international commitments. Policy guiding principles PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS Place human beings at the centre of the European Union's policies, by promoting fundamental rights, by combating all forms of discrimination and contributing to the reduction of poverty and the elimination of social exclusion worldwide. SOLIDARITY WITHIN AND BETWEEN GENERATIONS Address the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs in the European Union and elsewhere. OPEN AND DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY Guarantee citizens' rights of access to information and ensure access to justice. Develop adequate consultation and participatory channels for all interested parties and associations. INVOLVEMENT OF CITIZENS Enhance the participation of citizens in decision-making. Promote education and public awareness of sustainable development. Inform citizens about their impact on the environment and their options for making more sustainable choices. INVOLVEMENT OF BUSINESSES AND SOCIAL PARTNERS Enhance the social dialogue, corporate social responsibility and private-public partnerships to foster cooperation and common responsibilities to achieve sustainable production and consumption. POLICY COHERENCE AND GOVERNANCE Promote coherence between all European Union policies and coherence between local, regional, national and global actions in order to enhance their contribution to sustainable development. POLICY INTEGRATION Promote integration of economic, social and environmental considerations so that they are coherent and mutually reinforce each other by making full use of instruments for better regulation, such as balanced impact assessment and stakeholder consultations. USE BEST AVAILABLE KNOWLEDGE Ensure that policies are developed, assessed and implemented on the basis of the best available knowledge and that they are economically sound and cost-effective. PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE Where there is scientific uncertainty, implement evaluation procedures and take appropriate preventive action in order to avoid damage to human health or to the environment. MAKE POLLUTERS PAY Ensure that prices reflect the real costs to society of production and consumption activities and that polluters pay for the damage they cause to human health and the environment.