In 2002 the prize was awarded to Norweigan politician Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, at the time Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), for her contribution and personal commitment to the work towards a sustainable development on a local as well as a global level.
Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland receives the prize for her visionary and innovative work during the eighties, as head of the "U.N. Commission on Environment and Development". In the final report, "Our Common Future", the concept "Sustainable Development" was formulated, and the report became the foundation for the new thinking about a common global agenda, Agenda 21. "Sustainable Development" does not only include environmental issues, but also covers social and economical issues. The goal is to "satisfy the needs of our generation, without jeopardizing the possibilities for future generations to satisfy their needs". Agenda 21 is today considered a key instrument for the integration of environmental, social and economic issues within one single framework.
Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland has shown excellent intellectual and administrative leadership, making the work of the U.N. commission the platform for "Earth Summit" - the "U.N. Conference on Environment and Development" in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. This conference signifies an important step towards a local and global sustainable development, and this year, 2002, it was followed by the U.N. conference "World Summit on Sustainable Development" in Johannesburg (Rio + 10). The social and economic issues were given an increased attention in Johannesburg, and in the continued work towards a sustainable development a common agenda for the 21st century (Agenda 21) will be more important than ever; on the international level as well as for the citizens of Göteborg.