The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) presented the Mahbub ul Haq Award for Human Development to Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the first woman Prime Minister of Norway and currently Deputy Chair of The Elders, at a ceremony in New York today. The award is given to an eminent personality who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and contributions to furthering the cause of human development world-wide.
“Throughout her life, Gro Harlem Brundtland has been a major force for good in the world, a champion of human and sustainable development, and a genuine inspiration to me and others who have followed in her footsteps to lead our countries and/or global organisations,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, during the award-giving ceremony, held during the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Dr. Brundtland’s groundbreaking work as chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) - commonly known as the “Brundtland Commission”- put sustainable development firmly on the global agenda and stressed the connection between human development and sustainability. Dr. Bruntland’s other outstanding contributions include her pioneering approach to public health, which recognized links to broader development, during her tenure as Director General at the World Health Organization (WHO).
“It is a unique privilege and opportunity to present Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland with the Mahbub ul Haq Award for Human Development, as she has displayed a life-long commitment, passion and engagement with human development issues. By honouring her, UNDP is recognizing her outstanding leadership in this area,” said Selim Jahan, Director of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office.
Following the award ceremony, Dr. Brundtland delivered the Mahbub ul Haq Lecture on human development. “The innovative spirit and the excellent initiative around the first UNDP Human Development Report impressed me. I applauded it! I used it,” she said. “It inspired our work in the WCED, in the Norwegian Government, as well as initiatives I took in the WHO,” she added.
The Mahbub ul Haq Award was instituted in 2002 to commemorate the intellectual leadership of the late Dr. Mahbub ul Haq, in articulating the notion of human development, conceptualized by Professor Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate in Economics.
Photo credit: Dylan Lowthian/UNDP Photo