The United Nations World Charter For Nature (1982) states that:
activities which are likely to pose a significant risk to nature shall be preceded by an exhaustive examination; their proponents shall demonstrate that expected benefits outweigh potential damage to nature, and where potential adverse effects are not fully understood, the activities should not proceed.
Unlike later interpretations, this definition of the PP prioritizes the protection of the well being of communities and the environment. It clearly identifies that the developer bears responsibility for proving that a development it is not harmful.
Implicit in this principle is the social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk.