Norwegian ex-PM bags Zayed eco prize
Dubai, June 10, 2008
Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, a former prime minister of Norway, diplomat and physician and an international leader in sustainable development and public health, walked away with the first prize for Global leadership in environment worth $5,00,000.
Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai presented the Zayed International Prize for the Environment carrying a total prize money of $1 million to the winners in Dubai on Monday.
Dr Brundtland had also served as the director general of the World Health Organization. She is at present serving as a special envoy on climate change for the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.
Dr. Brundtland worked as a physician at the Directorate of Health from 1966 to 69 and from 1969 she worked as a doctor in Oslo’s public school health service.
She was Norwegian minister for environmental affairs from 1974 to 1979, and became Norway’s first and to date only- female prime minister for two subsequent terms.
She was chair of the WCED, widely referred to as the Brundtland Commission, developing the broad political concept of sustainable development in the course of extensive public hearings that were distinguished by their inclusiveness and published its report ‘Our Common Future’ in April 1987. The Brundtland Commission provided the momentum for the 1992 Earth Summit/UNCED and for the Agenda 21.
Dr. Brundtland was elected director-general of the WHO in May 1998. In this capacity, she adopted a far-reaching approach to public health, establishing a commission on macroeconomics and health, and addressing violence as a major public health issue. She spearheaded the movement, now worldwide, to achieve the abolition of cigarette smoking by education and persuasion.
Under her leadership, WHO was one of the first major employers to require freedom from tobacco addiction as a condition for employment.
Dr. Brundtland was recognized in 2003 by Scientific American as their Policy Leader of the Year for co-ordination, a rapid worldwide response to stem outbreaks of SARS. In 1994, Dr. Brundtland was awarded the Charlemagne Prize of the City of Aachen.
In 2004 the British newspaper, The Financial Times, listed her as the 4th most influential European over the last 25 years, behind Pope John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher.
In May 2007, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon named Dr. Brundtland, as well as Ricardo Lagos (the former president of Chile), and Han Seung-soo (the former Minister of South Korea), to serve as UN special envoys for climate change. The Jury decided that her achievements and perseverance made her worthy of the Zayed Prize.
The second Zayed Prize for Scientific/ technological achievements in environment was awarded to two professors; Jane Lubchenco from the US and V. Ramanathan from India.
Prof. Jane Lubchenco is a world leader in environmental sciences. She discovered fundamental ecological and evolutionary relationships among animals and plants in complex coastal systems. She has studied the effect of aquaculture on world fish supplies and how biotic and abiotic local interactions can have a strong influence on the large-scale properties of ecosystems.
Her recent work has shown how coastal oceanographic features can affect local community structure and dynamics. Such studies have led to a general understanding of factors affecting the distribution abundance and biodiversity of species.
Author of several Citation Classics papers, she is a fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences, American Philosophical Society, and European Academy of Sciences, TWAS, and the Royal Society of the UK.
Prof. V. Ramanathan is among the most distinguished climatologists in the world. He identified the famous chlorofluorocarbons, stratospheric ozone and other pollutants a