Gro Harlem Brundtland

Former Prime Minister of Norway, former Director-General of the World Health Organization, and Chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development

Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland was born in Oslo, Norway, on 20 April 1939. A medical doctor from the University of Oslo, with a Master of Public Health from Harvard University, Dr. Brundtland spent 10 years as a physician and scientist in the Norwegian public health system. She was in public office for more than 20 years, ten of them as Prime Minister.

Throughout her career, Dr. Brundtland developed a growing concern for issues of global significance. In 1983, the then UN Secretary-General invited her to establish and chair the World Commission on Environment and Development (later to become known as Brundtland Commission). The Commission, which is best known for developing the broad political concept of sustainable development, published its report Our Common Future in April 1987. It led to the Earth Summit - the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

After stepping down as Prime Minister in October 1996, Dr. Brundtland was nominated as Director-General of the World Health Organization in 1998, an office she held until July 2003. From 2007 to 2009, she served as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Climate Change.