You are on page 1of 17

Brundtland Commission

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Formally known as the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED),
the Brundtland Commission's mission is to unite countries to pursuesustainable
development together. The Chairman of the Commission, Gro Harlem Brundtland, was appointed
by Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, former Secretary General of the United Nations, in December 1983. At
the time, the UN General Assembly realized that there was a heavy deterioration of the human
environment and natural resources. To rally countries to work and pursue sustainable development
together, the UN decided to establish the Brundtland Commission. Gro Harlem Brundtland was
the former Prime Minister of Norway and was chosen due to her strong background in the sciences
and public health. The Brundtland Commission officially dissolved in December 1987 after
releasing Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report, in October 1987, a document
which coined, and defined the meaning of the term "Sustainable Development". Our Common
Future won the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in 1991.[1] The organization Center for
Our Common Future was started in April 1988 to take the place of the Commission.

1 History
o 1.1 Events Before Brundtland
o 1.2 Resolution establishing the Commission
2 Modern definition of sustainable development
3 Brundtland Report
4 Structure
5 Sustainability Efforts
o 5.1 Economic Growth
o 5.2 Environmental Protection
o 5.3 Social Equality
6 Members of the Commission
7 See also
8 References

After the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment and the 1980 World Conservation
Strategy of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the leaders of our world realized
that we needed to create an organization whose sole purpose was to raise awareness of the need
for sustainable development. During this time period, people in developed countries were starting to
become more aware about environmental issues stemming from industrialization and growth.
Developed countries wanted to reduce the environmental impact of their growth. On the other hand,
developing countries were becoming discouraged because they were not at and could not reach the
higher levels of economic growth that industrialized countries had. Because of this need for growth,
developing countries were desperate to use cheap methods with high environmental impact and
unethical labour practices in their push to industrialize. The United Nations saw a growing need for
an organization to address these environmental challenges which were intertwined with economic
and social conditions as well.

South Africa in 2002. both strident Conservatives. Suggests that the Special Commission. (b) To recommend ways in which concern for the environment may be translated into greater co-operation among developing .[5] In A/RES/38/161. “Our Common Future” strongly influenced the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). The Brundtland Report was intended as a response to the conflict between the nascent order promoting globalized economic growth and the accelerating ecological degradation occurring on a global scale. the General Assembly: "8. establishing the Commission. as it was christened in the Brundtland Report.In December 1983. raising awareness about them. This was to be achieved by redefining the concepts of economic development as the new idea of sustainable development. as seen below. The organization aimed to create a united international community with shared sustainability goals by identifying sustainability problems worldwide. Bretton Woods was transformed through the 1980s and 1990s. we start with the meaning of the key term: development.[3] Events Before Brundtland[edit] During the 1980s it had been revealed that the World Bank had started to experience an expanded role in intervening with the economic and social policies of theThird World. Bretton Woods was formed as an arrangement among the industrialized nation states. the United Nations saw a need to strike a better balance of human and environmental well-being. the Brundtland Commission published the first volume of “Our Common Future. Also. finally ending in 1995 with the establishment of the World Trade Organization ushered in by United States President Bill Clinton.[4] To understand this paradigm shift. These events led into an era of free markets built on a distortion of the international order forged in 1945 at Bretton Woods. should focus mainly on the following terms of reference for its work: (a) To propose long-term environmental strategies for achieving sustainable development to the year 2000 and beyond. Brazil in 1992 and the third UN Conference on Environment and Development in Johannesburg. but was transformed into a global regime of ostensibly free markets that privilegedmultinational corporations and actually undermined the sovereignty of the very national communities that established Bretton Woods. This was most notable through the events at Bretton Woods in 1945. Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. and suggesting the implementation of solutions. when established. it is credited with crafting the most prevalent definition of sustainability. To address the urgent needs of developing countries (Third World). to create an organization independent of the UN to focus on environmental and developmental problems and solutions after an affirmation by the General Assembly resolution in the fall of 1984. The challenge posed in the 1980s was to harmonize prosperity with ecology. the Secretary General of the United Nations. Gro Harlem Brundtland.” the organization’s main report. or more formally. The Brundtland Commission was first headed by Gro Harlem Brundtland as Chairman and Mansour Khalid as Vice-Chairman. The ideas of neoliberalism and the institutions promoting economic globalizationdominated the political agenda of the world's then leading trading nations: the United States under President Ronald Reagan and Great Britain under Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher. Resolution establishing the Commission[edit] The 1983 General Assembly passed Resolution 38/161 "Process of preparation of the Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond".[2] This new organization was the Brundtland Commission. This postulated finding the means to continue economic growth without undue harm to the environment. In 1987. asked the Prime Minister of Norway.

" . Brundtland argues: ". and aspirational goals for the world community. and while "development" was a term habitually used to describe political goals or economic progress. environment and development. unique from that of the 1980 World Conservation Strategy of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The Brundtland Commission pushed for the idea that while the "environment" was previously perceived as a sphere separate from human emotion or action. (c) To consider ways and means by which the international community can deal more effectively with environmental concerns. because they cannot and should not be distinguished as separate entities).the "environment" is where we live. it is more comprehensive to understand the two terms in relation to each other (We can better understand the environment in relation to development and we can better understand development in relation to the environment. resources."[5] Modern definition of sustainable development[edit] Main article: Sustainable development The Brundtland Commission draws upon several notions in its definition of sustainable development. The Brundtland Commission argues against the assertions of the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment and provides an alternative perspective on sustainable development. taking into account the relevant resolutions of the session of a special character of the Governing Council in 1982.. The two are inseparable.. in the light of the other recommendations in its report. and "development" is what we all do in attempting to improve our lot within that abode. which is the most frequently cited definition of the concept to date. a long-term agenda for action during the coming decades.countries and between countries at different stages of economic and social development and lead to the achievement of common and mutually supportive objectives which take account of the interrelationships between people. (d) To help to define shared perceptions of long-term environmental issues and of the appropriate efforts needed to deal successfully with the problems of protecting and enhancing the environment. A key element in the definition is the unity of environment and development.

It lays out a core set of guiding principles that can be enriched by an evolving global discourse. economic growth will facilitate their fulfillment. The two key concepts of sustainable development are: • the concept of "needs" in particular the essential needs of the world's poorest people. as well as corporations and city efforts. As a result of the work of the Brundtland Commission. but what the entire world. including developed countries. In sum.[6] Most agree that the central idea of the Brundtland Commission's definition of "sustainable development" is that of intergenerational equity. The term sustainable development was coined in the paper Our Common Future. going beyond that traditional school of thought to include social and political atmospheres and circumstances. Therefore. Brundtland Report[edit] Main article: Our Common Future . and equity is encouraged by citizen participation. It also insists that development is not just about how poor countries can ameliorate their situation. the issue of sustainable development is on the agenda of numerous international and national institutions. released by the Brundtland Commission. and • the idea of limitations which is imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet both present and future needs. can do to ameliorate our common situation. to which they should be given overriding priority. The definition gave light to new perspectives on the sustainability of an ever-changing planet with an ever-changing population. the "needs" are basic and essential.The Brundtland Commission insists upon the environment being something beyond physicality. Sustainable development is the kind of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The particular ambiguity and openness-tointerpretation of this definition has allowed for widespread support from diverse efforts. groups and organizations. another characteristic that really sets this definition apart from others is the element of humanity that the Brundtland Commission integrates.

analysed. As such. and realistic action proposals to deal with them. “The Commission focused its attention on the areas of population. research institutes. the Report was unable to identify the mode(s) of production that are responsible for degradation of the environment. However. voluntary organizations. [2] strengthen international cooperation on environment and development and assess and propose new forms of cooperation that can break out of existing patterns and influence policies and events in the direction of needed change.[7] One version with links to cited documents[8] is available. industry. and the general public” held at public hearings throughout the world. this lack of analysis resulted in an obfuscated-introduction of the term sustainable development. was published by Oxford University Press in 1987. The document was the culmination of a “900 day” international-exercise which catalogued.realizing that all of these are connected and cannot be treated in isolation one from another” (1987: 27). industrialists. the Report postulated that such growth could be reformed (and expanded). institutes. and in the absence of analysing the principles governing market-led economic growth. and wealth redistribution was crucial to formulating strategies for environmental conservation. businesses. the loss of species and genetic resources. and it also recognised that environmental-limits to economic growth in industrialised and industrialising societies existed. and was welcomed by the General Assembly Resolution 42/187. and governments” (1987: 347). and human settlements . gender equity. the Report offered “[the] analysis. food security. and synthesised written submissions and expert testimony from “senior government representatives. The Brundtland Commission's mandate was to: “[1] re-examine the critical issues of environment and development and to formulate innovative. scientists and experts. energy.[9] . concrete. The Brundtland Commission Report recognised that human resource development in the form of poverty reduction.The Report of the Brundtland Commission. representatives of non-governmental organizations. and [3] raise the level of understanding and commitment to action on the part of individuals. and the recommendations for a sustainable course of development” within such societies (1987: 16). the broad remedies. Our Common Future.

Many of the members are important political figures in their home country. and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs. The international structure and scope of the Brundtland Commission allow multiple problems (such as deforestation and ozone depletion) to be looked at from a holistic approach. The definition of this term in the report is quite well known and often cited: "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". The Brundtland Commission has been the most successful in forming international ties between governments and multinational corporations. in particular the essential needs of the world's poor. One example is William Ruckelshaus. One such network is Bill Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development. civil servants.S." Structure[edit] The Brundtland Commission was chaired by former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. The 1992 and 2002 Earth Summits were the direct result of the Brundtland Commission. The commission focuses on setting up networks to promote environmental stewardship. Politicians. It contains two key concepts:   the concept of "needs". Most of these networks make connections between governments and nongovernment entities. Environmental Protection Agency. and environmental experts make up the majority of the members. the Chairman and Vice Chairman.[10] .The report deals with sustainable development and the change of politics needed for achieving it. All members of the commission were appointed by both Gro Harlem Brundtland and Mansour Khalid. In this council government and business leaders come together to share ideas on how to encourage sustainable development. former head of the U. Members of the commission represent 21 different nations (both developed and developing countries are included). to which overriding priority should be given.

In trying to build their economies. it is evident that the other two pillars have been suffering. progress has been made. and locally in order to make life on Earth more sustainable going into the future. and social equality.[11] Economic Growth[edit] Economic Growth is the pillar that most groups focus on when attempting to attain more sustainable efforts and development. came out of the meeting. known as Agenda 21.Sustainability Efforts[edit] The three main pillars of sustainable development include economic growth. but it has been difficult to change these concepts about sustainability into concrete actions and programs. Implementing sustainable development globally is still a challenge. the total worldwide consumption of resources is projected to increase in the future. it is difficult to find evidence of equal levels of initiatives for the three pillars in countries' policies worldwide. Brazil. With the overwhelming number of countries that put economic growth on the forefront of sustainable development. especially with the overall well being of the environment in a dangerously unhealthy state. environmental protection. many countries focus their efforts on resource extraction. the Brundtland Commission called for an international meeting to take place where more concrete initiatives and goals could be mapped out. Our Common Future. A comprehensive plan of action. After releasing their report. but because of the Brundtland Commission's efforts. This meeting was held in Rio de Janeiro. nationally. Agenda 21 entailed actions to be taken globally. The Brundtland Commission has put forth a conceptual framework that many nations agree with and want to try to make a difference with in their countries. While many people agree that each of these three ideas contribute to the overall idea of sustainability. While the Commission was able to help to change the association between economic growth and resource extraction. So much of the natural world has already been converted into human use that the focus cannot simply remain on economic growth and omit the ever . which leads to unsustainable efforts for environmental protection as well as economic growth sustainability.

The growing gap between incomes of rich and poor is evident throughout the world with the incomes of the richer households increasing relative to the incomes of middle . leading to great improvements in the number of people willing to invest in green technologies.This is attributed partly to the land distribution patterns in rural areas where majority live from land.or lower-class households. but the world is still extremely unequal. consisting of the fact that "roughly 80 percent of the natural resources used each year are consumed by about 20 percent of the world's population". Through various trade negotiations such as improving access to markets for exports of developing countries. go away from the . The Brundtland Commission made a significant impact trying to link environment and development and thus.[13] The focus on environmental protection has transpired globally as well. with the richest 1% of the world’s population owning 40% of the world’s wealth and the poorest 50% owning around 1%. smart grids with renewable energy sources. Agenda 21 reinforces the importance of finding ways to generate economic growth without hurting the environment. Agenda 21 looks to increase economic growth sustainability in countries that need it most. Eco-city development occurring around the world helps to develop and implement water conservation. including a great deal of investment in renewable energy power capacity.growing problem of environmental sustainability. LED street lights and energy efficient building. the United States and Europe added more power capacity from renewable sources such as wind and solar. This level is striking and still needs to be addressed now and throughout the future. In 2011 the efforts continue with 45 new wind energy projects beginning in 25 different states. The consumption gap remains.[14] Social Equality[edit] The Social Equality and equity as pillars of sustainable development focus on the social well-being of people.[12] Environmental Protection[edit] Environmental Protection has become more important to government and businesses over the last 20 years. Global inequality has been declining. For the second year in a row in 2010.

The Commission has thus reduced the number of people living on less than a dollar a day to just half of what it used to be.These achievements can also be attributed to economic growth in China and India.idea of environmental protection whereby some scholars saw environment as something of its sake. Ramphal (Guyana) William D.wikipedia.[14] Members of the Commission[edit] Chairman: Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway) Vice Chairman: Mansour Khalid (Sudan) Susanna Agnelli (Italy) Saleh A. Al-Athel (Saudi Arabia) Pablo Gonzalez Casanova (Mexico) (ceased to participate in August 1986 for personal reasons) Bernard Chidzero (Zimbabwe) Lamine Mohammed Fadika (Côte d'Ivoire) Volker Hauff (Federal Republic of Germany) István Láng (Hungary) Ma Shijun (People's Republic of China) Margarita Marino de Botero (Colombia) Nagendra Singh (India) Paulo Nogueira many can approach the environment and use oNeto (Brazil) Saburo Okita (Japan) Shridath S. Ruckelshaus (USA) Mohamed Sahnoun (Algeria) Emil Salim (Indonesia) Bukar Shaib (Nigeria) Vladimir Sokolov (USSR) Janez Stanovnik (Yugoslavia) Maurice Strong (Canada) Ex Officio Jim MacNeill (Canada) [15] See also[edit] Sustainable development portal     Agenda 21 Our Common Future Sustainability Sustainable Development .

^ Jump up to:a b United Nations. Jump up^ Environment Magazine What Is Sustainable Development? Goals. Jump up^ http://www. Development and International Co-operation: Environment August 2. Retrieved: 2007-11-14 8. Jump up^ DSD :: Resources Publications . Jump up^ "1991. 2. and Practice 7. "Process of preparation of the Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond.14 9. Nuclear power proposed as renewable energy References[edit] 1. Retrieved. Published as Annex to General Assembly document A/42/427.archive.Core Publications 12. Indicators. 1987. Jump up^ worldsustainability / PreludeToBrundtland 5. Jump up^ http://web. Jump up^ DSD :: Resources Publications . Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development.un. World Commission on Environment and Development.pdf 11.pdf . Retrieved: 2007-04-11.pdf 10. Jump up^ United Nations. ahmedm." General Assembly Resolution 38/161. 11 December 1987.11. 19 December 1983. Report of the World Commission on Environment and lications/reports/upload/3Q-2011-AWEAMarket-Report-for-Public.islandvulnerability. Jump up^ http://www. 1987. Jump up^ This Norwegian's past may connect with your future 4.Core Publications 13. Jump up^ History of Sustainability 3. Jump up^ Our Common Future. 6. General Assembly Resolution 42/187.The United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development". 1983.awea. Values. csd/csd15/media/backgrounder_brundtla 7131934/http://www.

un.pdf 15. Jump up^ and_Report [hide]  V  T  E Sustainability    Principles         Consumption      Ecological modernization Environmentalism Human impact on the environment Planetary boundaries Stewardship Sustainable development Anthropization Anti-consumerism Ecological footprint Ethical Over-consumption Simple living Sustainability advertising Sustainability brand Sustainability marketing myopia Sustainable Systemic change resistance Tragedy of the commons   Population   Birth control Family planning Control Overpopulation Zero growth  Technology  Appropriate Environmental Sustainable    Biodiversity    Biosecurity Biosphere Conservation biology Deep ecology Endangered species Holocene extinction Invasive species . ^ Jump up to:a b climatechange/shared/gsp/docs/GSP16_Background%20on%20Sustainable%2 0Devt.

    Energy       Food      Water     Accountability               Applications            Carbon footprint Climate change mitigation Conservation Descent Efficiency Emissions trading Peak oil Renewable Forest gardening Local Permaculture Security Sustainable agriculture Sustainable fishery Urban horticulture Conservation Crisis Efficiency Footprint Sustainability accounting Sustainability measurement Sustainability metrics and indices Sustainability reporting Sustainability science Standards and certification Sustainable yield Advertising Architecture Art Business City College programs Community Design Ecovillage Education for Sustainable Development Fashion Gardening Green marketing Industries Landscape architecture Living Low-impact development Organizations Packaging Practices Procurement Tourism Transport .

      Management        Agreements      Urban drainage systems Urban infrastructure Urbanism Environmental Fisheries Forest Natural resource Planetary Waste UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm 1972) Brundtlandt Commission Report (1983) Our Common Future (1987) Earth Summit (1992) Rio Declaration on Environment and Development Agenda 21 (1992) Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) ICPD Programme of Action (1994) Earth Charter Lisbon Principles UN Millennium Declaration (2000)  Category Lists  Outline  Portal  Science  Studies Categories:  Sustainability  United Nations General Assembly subsidiary organs Navigation menu  Create account  Log in      Read Edit View history Go      Main page Contents Featured content Current events Random article Article Talk  .

By using this site.  Privacy policy  About Wikipedia  Disclaimers  Contact Wikipedia . a non-profit organization. you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.  Donate to Wikipedia Wikimedia Shop Interaction  Help     About Wikipedia Community portal       Upload file Special pages Recent changes Contact page Tools  What links here  Related changes Permanent link Page information Wikidata item Cite this page Print/export  Create a book   Download as PDF Printable version Languages  Eesti  Gaeilge  한국어        हिन्दी Norsk bokmål Polski Português Simple English Українська 中文 Edit links  This page was last modified on 7 October 2014 at 18:51.  Text is available under the Creative Commons AttributionShareAlike License. Inc.. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of theWikimedia Foundation. additional terms may apply.

 Developers  Mobile view   Contact Us • Help/FAQ • Index • Search  Home > DEP Home > DEPweb > What is Sustainable Development About DEPweb What is Sustainable Development? What is Sustainable Development Learning Modules Beyond Economic Growth Student Book Interactive Quizzes and Games There are many definitions of sustainable development. 1987). Feedback Contact Us But what does this mean? What are the needs of the present? Take a minute and jot down five to ten needs that you have in your own life. city. if you listed clean air to breathe. what happens when a company’s need for cheap labor conflicts with workers’ needs for livable wages? Or when individual families’ needs for firewood conflict with the need to prevent erosion and conserve topsoil? Or when one country’s need for electricity results in acid rain that damages another country's lakes and rivers? How do we decide whose needs are met? Poor or rich people? Citizens or immigrants? People living in cities or in the countryside? People in one country or another?You or your neighbor? The environment or the corporation? This generation or the next generation? When there has to be a trade off. and environmental objectives--or needs--when making . but also listed a car for transportation. we have conflicting needs. including this landmark one which first appeared in 1987: "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. and how would you make your decision? If within ourselves." DEPweb Site Tools DEPweb Home Resource Room — from the World Commission on Environment and Development’s (the Brundtland Commission) report Our Common Future (Oxford: Oxford University Press. country. world? For example. whose needs should go first? The Long and the Short of It People concerned about sustainable development suggest that meeting the needs of the future depends on how well we balance social. Have you listed any needs that conflict with one another? For example. how much is that multiplied when we look at a whole community. Which would you choose. economic. your needs might conflict.

how can we expect to sustain our development in the long term? What sustainable development dilemmas do you and your family face in your everyday lives? Going Further Explore some of the social. can the long term economic objective of sustained agricultural growth be met if the ecological objective of preserving biodiversity is not? What happens to the environment in the long term if a large number of people cannot afford to meet their basic household needs today? If you did not have access to safe water. economic. or environmental needs would you add to the puzzle? Many of these objectives may seem to conflict with each other in the short term. responsible use of natural resources now will help ensure that there are resources available for sustained industrial growth far into the future. economic. and environmental objectives in the short term.decisions today. in the long term. economic. For example. For example. Studying the puzzle raises a number of difficult questions. Some of these needs are itemized around the puzzle diagram. if you had to drive a long distance to get to work each day. would you be willing to move or get a new job to avoid polluting the air with your car exhaust? If we don’t balance our social. and environmental challenges that are part of the sustainable development puzzle by working through theLearning Modules on this site. What social. industrial growth might conflict with preserving natural resources. . Yet. would you worry about causing deforestation? Or. and therefore needed wood to boil drinking water so that you and your children would not get sick. Delve into the issues that people around the world strive to balance when making often difficult decisions about development.

Contact Us | Help/FAQ | Index | Search © 2001 The World Bank Group. Terms and Conditions. . All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy.