'Rose in the rock' Brundtland and her long fight for the environment (Focus Taiwan)

  • Gro Harlem Brundtland, 2014 Tang Prize Laureate in Sustainable Development
A- | A+

Oslo, Norway June 18 (CNA) With several titles under her belt, "mother of the nation" and "godmother of sustainable development" Gro Harlem Brundtland is known for decades of leadership in policy and the environment.

The 75-year-old former prime minister of Norway now has another title to add to the list after being named winner ofthe first Tang Prize in Sustainable Development on Wednesday, in recognition of her contributions in the field.

Brundtland will attend the Tang Prize award ceremony in Taipei on Sept. 18. It will be her first time to visit Taiwan.

"It is a great honor to be the first recipient of the new Tang Prize [in] Sustainable Development," Brundtland told CNAin an interview at her home in Oslo. "I am very grateful for this great honor."

Brundtland, who served three terms as Norway's prime minister, said she appreciates all the titles she has been awardedover her long career.

"It's important that people respect the knowledge behind that, and respect what we need to do to secure a betterfuture," she said.

On the walls of her Oslo home hang several newspaper illustrations of her likeness. Two compare the former leader of the Norwegian Labour Party to a rose, an emblem of her party and a symbol of womanhood and nature.

One depicts a rose growing out of a huge rock that takes the shape of a capitalized "A" (Arbeiderpartiet, the party's name in Norwegian), signifying Brundtland's unwavering commitment to protecting the environment.A long-time advocate of sustainability, Brundtland believes that energy is a double-edged sword, as it is crucial to development but also a main cause for environmental destruction.

"So in the energy field, we must change and get into sustainable energy because energy is necessary for everyhousehold, every human being. But it has to be sustainable energy."

The 1987 Brundtland Report she spearheaded, compiled after extensive public hearings, coined the term "sustainable development" and put sustainability on the international political agenda.

But the environment is not the only issue Brundtland is passionate about. A trained physician, she also cares about public health as well as gender equality.

Since childhood, "I was convinced that there was injustice and unfairness because boys and girls, even in Norway, were not treated equally. Girls did not have the same opportunities," she said.

In spite of that injustice, however, Brundtland has managed to overcome obstacles as she has fought against injustice toward both people and the planet.

(By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Christie Chen)