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Her successful tenure as Norway’s youngest Prime Minister was just the start for Gro Harlem Brundtland. A physician by training, Brundtland has used her scientific and political experience to address our most pressing global challenges. From pandemics to sustainable development to women’s rights, Brundtland has advanced the cause of humanity for more than five decades. Events seeking the wisdom and insight of an extraordinary international legacy feature Brundtland as their keynote speaker.
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Champion of sustainable development and former Prime Minister of Norway, sustainability speaker Gro Harlem Brundtland has led an extraordinary career. In her role as a keynote speaker, Gro Harlem Brundtland draws on one of the world’s most celebrated careers.
Perhaps no one has addressed the realms of politics, sustainability, diplomacy, and public health as successfully as Gro Harlem Brundtland. Known colloquially in her native Norway as “Landsmoderen,” or Mother of the Nation, Brundtland was first woman Prime Minister.
After earning her medical degree from Oslo University, Brundtland went to Harvard School of Public Health. After that, she returned to work at Norway’s Ministry of Health, and in 1974 became Minister of the Environment. There, she implemented progressive policies concerning women’s rights and family issues.
Her political effectiveness earned her a national reputation, and at age 41 Brundtland became Norway’s youngest-ever Prime Minister. As a matter of fact, she served three terms in that position.
Brundtland then chaired the World Commission on Environment and Development, producing the landmark report Our Common Future. The Brundtland Commission, as it was commonly known, paved the way for the UN’s 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
Returning to her background in public health, Brundtland served as Director General of the World Health Organization. There, she led international efforts to link global health and economic development and also to prevent a global SARS pandemic. Scientific American named Brundtland its Policy Leader of the Year for her role in leading the response to SARS. Moreover, her other awards include the 1988 Third World Prize, the 1989 Indira Gandhi Prize and the Internationaler Karlspreis zu Aachen.
Additionally, turning her attention to global security, Brundtland helped pioneer the inclusion of sustainable development as a conflict-resolution tool. She was instrumental in defining the “responsibility to protect,” a principle applied in Libya and Côte d’Ivoire in 2011.
After serving as UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, Brundtland became a founding member The Elders. She now serves as co-chair of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board and is also a member of the UHC Movement Political Advisory Panel.
As the emerging effects of climate change are becoming ever more evident, we find ourselves not only facing a financial crisis, but an increasing pattern of worsening scenarios due to global warming.
To combat potential deterioration, poverty reduction must happen in parallel with emissions reduction, two of the most important challenges facing us today. We must simultaneously succeed on both fronts. This is what sustainable development is all about.
In this keynote, Dr. Brundtland explores potential solutions. She stresses the importance of taking the right steps across both the private and public sector to safeguard the planet on which we all depend, and move towards a future of sustainable development – a future that is better, more just, and more secure.
In this keynote presentation, Dr. Brundtland explains the importance that women, their rights, and their great impact on children, families and communities, has on global policy, economies, societies, and humanity – a fundamental issue across the world and across all religions.
One of Dr. Brundtland’s enduring goals – advancing the status of health on the political agenda, and into the minds of government leaders and not only health ministers – still persists today.
During her time at the World Health Organization, Dr. Brundtland took the initiative, based on her experience linked to environment and development, to have a broad analysis made on the true relationship between human health and human development, and between health and the economy.
The results yielded core concepts on human nature, supporting Dr. Brundtland’s mandate that when we invest in the health and education of all people, and in a clean environment, progress will follow and poverty can be overcome.
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