All this was on my mind when the Secretary General presented me with an argument to which there was no convincing rebuttal: No other political leader had become Prime Minister with a background of several years of political struggle, nationally and internationally, as an environment minister. This gave some hope that the environment was not destined to remain a side issue in central, political decision making.
In the final analysis, I decided to accept the challenge. The challenge of facing the future, and of safeguarding the interests of coming generations. For it was abundantly clear: We needed a mandate for change.
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We live in an era in the history of nations when there is greater need than ever for co—ord1nated political action and responsibility. The United Nations and its Secretary—General are faced with an enormous task and burden. Responsibly meeting humanity's goals and aspirations will require the active support of us all.
My reflections and perspective were also based on other important parts of my own political experience: the preceding work of the Brandt Commission on North South issues, and the Palme Commission on security and disarmament issues, on which I served.
I was being asked to help formulate a third and compelling call for political action: After Brandt's Programme for Survival and Common Crisis, and after Palme's Common Security, would come Common Future. This was my message when Vice Chairman Mansour Khalid and I started work on the ambitious task set up by the United Nations. This report, as presented to the UN General Assembly in 1987, is the result of that process.
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Perhaps our most urgent task today is to persuade nations of the need to return to multilateralism. The challenge of reconstruction after the Second World Hat was the real motivating power behind the establishment of our post-war international economic system. The challenge of finding sustainable development paths ought to provide the impetus – indeed the imperative – for a renewed search for multilateral solutions and a restructured international economic system of co-operation. These challenges cut across the divides of national sovereignty, of limited strategies for economic gain, and of separated disciplines of science.