On 30 March 2007, I was part of a South Asian Workshop to pre-test a pilot e-module on Science Journalism. Held at the University of Hyderabad, India, it brought together a small group sharing a passion for science journalism and science communication. It was organised by SciDev.Net with support from UNESCO.
I used my remarks to pay tribute to an important and lasting influence on my own career as a development communicator: Our Common Future, report of the Brundtland Commission that came out exactly 20 years ago. The anniversary was marked by a few organisations like IIED, but I felt it deserved better observance.
Here’s an extract from my remarks:
Within a few months of my entering active journalism, something happened globally that left a deep impression on me -– and as I later found out, on many others like myself in different parts of the world. In March 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development –- chaired by the then Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland -– published its final report. Titled Our Common Future, it was the first of its kind to draw broad links between environmental, social and economic concerns and it made international policy recommendations accordingly. It prompted the UN to convene the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
The Report didn’t invent the concept or term sustainable development, but it certainly helped popularise it. The Commission’s work helped the environmental movement to evolve from the tree-hugging, whale-saving, cuddly animal level to a higher and multi-faceted level of environmental management.
And it inspired a generation of young journalists, educators and activists worldwide. I count myself among them –- in that sense, we are all Children of Brundtland.