Gro Harlem Brundtland was the youngest person and the first woman ever to hold the office of prime minister in Norway. With two other periods as prime minister from 1986 to 1989 and 1990 to 1996, Dr. Brundtland was head of government for more than 10 years.
Throughout her political career, Dr. Brundtland has developed a growing concern for issues of global significance. In 1983 the then United Nations secretary-general invited her to establish and chair the World Commission on Environment and Development. 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 finally stepped down as prime minister in October 1996. In her successful bid to become director-general of the World Health Organization her many skills as doctor, politician, activist and manager have come together.
Dr. Brundtland was nominated as director-general of the World Health Organization by the executive board of WHO in January 1998. The World Health Assembly elected her for the position on May 13, 1998.