National Council for Science and the Environment Presents Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland

Dr. Brundtland Honored For Decades Of Leadership In Science, Policy And The Environment

Washington, D.C.

January 20, 2012


Alexis Krieg

The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) yesterday honored Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland with the NCSE Lifetime Achievement Award during the 12th National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment being held here this week. The honor is bestowed annually to recognize a leader in the field of science, policy and the environment. Dr. Brundtland is the Former Prime Minister of Norway; Director-General Emeritus, World Health Organization; and a United Nations Foundation Board Member.

The theme of this year’s NCSE conference is “Environment and Security,” addressing connections between climate disruption, energy, food, water and health security. For more than 35 years, Dr. Brundtland has been a leader in the global conversation that has created a framework for understanding our impact on the environment and addressing issues of climate change in a way that helps us build a better future.

Before accepting the award, Dr. Brundtland presented the John H. Chafee Memorial Lecture, highlighting progress made over the last 25 years, and pointing to important challenges to be met in the years to come. She highlighted the interconnected nature of the most important issues we face, saying, “Today, we face at least three fundamental challenges to human security and well-being: poverty, ecosystem degradation, and climate change. All of these challenges are connected.”

She went on to outline the critical importance of sustainable energy to our global goals, including expanding access to modern energy services, increasing energy efficiency, and ramping up the use of renewable energy sources: “Energy fuels human progress and lies at the heart of every country’s core interests…This is why United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has placed Sustainable Energy for All at the center of the international agenda.”

Dr. Brundland called on the influential NCSE audience to help the world’s youth reach their fullest potential in science, regardless of their background, in order to meet the challenges before us. Then she closed with the message that we all must work together “to prepare for a future that is safer, more prosperous, and more secure.”

Dr. Brundland, a medical doctor and Master of Public Health (MPH), spent ten years as a physician and scientist in the Norwegian public health system before taking public office. In more than two decades in public office in Norway, she served in the Ministry of Health, as Minister of the Environment, and as Prime Minister. In the 1980s she gained international recognition, championing the principle of sustainable development as the chair of the World Commission of Environment and Development (the 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. The Commission’s recommendations led to the Earth Summit — the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Dr. Brundtland later served as Director-General of the World Health Organization, a role that drew on her diverse backgrounds in health, politics, management, and development. She currently serves on the Board of the United Nations Foundation, acting as Chair of the Executive Committee.

Previous NCSE Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

2011 Dr. Sylvia Earle, Explorer-in-residence, National Geographic; Founder, Mission Blue; Chairman & CEO, Sylvia Earle Alliance

2010 Dr. Herman Daly, Ecological Economist, University of Maryland

2009 George Rabb, President Emeritus, Chicago Zoological Society; E.O. Wilson, Pellegrino Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University; Peter Raven, Director, Missouri Botanical Garden

2008 Robert Corell, Global Change Program Director, H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics & the Environment, Senior Policy Fellow, Policy Program of the American Meteorological Society

2007 Dr. Theo Colborn, Professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville and President of TEDX (The Endocrine Disruption Exchange); Dr. Herbert Needleman, Professor of child psychiatry and pediatrics at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine

2006 Russell E. Train, Former Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Chairman Emeritus, World Wildlife Fund

2005 William Ruckelshaus, First & Fifth Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

2004 Gordon (Reds) Wolman, B. Howell Jr. Professor of Geography & International Affairs, John Hopkins University; Ruth Patrick, Francis Boyer Chair of Limnology at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania

2003 Gaylord Nelson, Former Governor of Wisconsin, Retired U.S. Senator, Founder of Earth Day, Counselor of the Wilderness Society

2002 Maurice Strong, Senior Advisor to the United Nations Secretary General

About NCSE’s Approach:
NCSE utilizes a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral approach to convene involved scientists and decision-makers from various sectors of society.  Our conferences feature top-level keynote presentations, plenary roundtables, topical symposia to explore issues more in depth, breakout workshops to develop a set of recommendations on how to advance science and connect it to policy and decision-making. Attendees have the opportunity to garner candid thoughts and perspectives from the foremost influencers in the scientific community, contribute to meaningful action recommendations, and network for future collaborations, projects, and potential funding opportunities.

Media Contact
Lyle Birkey

For questions about Dr. Brundtland’s work with the UN Foundation, please contact Amy DiElsi:, 202-492-3078.