In 1983, then-UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar asked Gro Harlem Brundtland
to establish and chair the World Commission on Environment and Development, an ambitious project that would introduce the world to the concept of “sustainable development.”
Four years later the commission published “Our Common Future
,” also known as the Brundtland Report, which laid the groundwork for the Rio Earth Summit and still drives global decision-making on environmental, human rights, and development policy.
On April 15 Brundtland, who is also a former prime minister of Norway, will visit Yale for a public conversation with Professor Daniel Esty
about the history and future of sustainable development — and her commission’s role in putting it on the international map.
The event, “Reflections on Sustainable Development: The Brundtland Report 30 Years On
,” will begin with a reception at 3:45 p.m. in the Knobloch Environmental Center in Kroon Hall, 195 Prospect Street. The conversation will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Kroon’s Burke Auditorium.
The event is hosted by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) and the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy (YCELP).
Brundtland, who in 1981 became Norway’s first female prime minister (and, at 41, its youngest), was elected as Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1998.
She is now a Special Envoy on Climate Change for the United Nations.
“Prime Minister Bruntland is remembered as a great Norwegian leader, as a path-breaking head of the WHO, and in her current incarnation as a tireless campaigner for global action on climate change,” said Esty, the Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law at F&ES and Yale Law School.
“But for those whose focus is on environment and sustainability, her leadership of the UN Commission that developed the concept of ‘sustainable development’ stands as her most significant contribution to our world.”