The United Nations (UN) established the Brundtland Commission, officially known as the World Commission on Environment and Development, in 1983 to examine the effect of environmental degradation and natural resource depletion on future economic and social development around the world and to propose responses. The commission's 1987 report, Our Common Future, is considered a landmark in global environmental politics because it helped to define, legitimize, and popularize the concept of sustainable development.

The World Commission on Environment and Development is commonly referred to as the Brundtland Commission in recognition of its chair, former Norwegian prime minister Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland. The United Nations Secretary-General's choice of Brundtland to chair the sensitive project reflected the political respect he had earned in many capitals around the world, including ...

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