Brundtland Report

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Our Common Future  (1987) 
United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development

Brundtland Report



General Assembly



4 August 1987




Forty-second session

Item 83 (e) of the provisional agenda[1]


Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development

Note by the Secretary-General

1. The General Assembly, in its resolution 38/161 of 19 December 1983, inter alia, welcomed the establishment of a special commission that should make available a report on environment and the global problématique to the year 2000 and beyond, including proposed strategies for sustainable development. The commission later adopted the name World Commission on Environment and Development. In the same resolution, the Assembly decided that, on matters within the mandate and purview of the United Nations Environment Programme, the report of the special commission should in the first instance be considered by the Governing Council of the Programme, for transmission to the Assembly together with its comments, and for use as basic material in the preparation, for adoption by the Assembly, of the Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond.

2. At its fourteenth session, held at Nairobi from 8 to 19 June 1987, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme adopted decision 14/14 of 16 June 1987, entitled "Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development" and, inter alia, decided to transmit the Commission's report to the General Assembly together with a draft resolution annexed to the decision for consideration and adoption by the Assembly.

3. The report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, entitled "Our Common Future", is hereby transmitted to the General Assembly. Decision 14/14 of the Governing Council, the proposed draft resolution and the comments of the Governing Council on the report of the Commission can be found an the report of the Governing Council on the work of its fourteenth session.[2]


  1. A/42/150.
  2. 1/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-second Session, Supplement No. 25 (A/42/25).


Report of the World Commission on Environment
and Development

"Our Common Future"

Members of the Commission

Chairman: Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway)
Vice Chairman: Mansour Khalid (Sudan)
Susanna Agnelli (Italy)
Saleh A. Al-Athel (Saudi Arabia)
Bernard Chidzero (Zimbabwe)
Lamine Mohammed Fadika (Côte d'Ivoire)
Volker Hauff (Federal Republic of Germany)
Istvan Lung (Hungary)
Ma Shijun (People's Republic of China)
Margarita Marino de Botero (Colombia)
Nagendra Singh (India)
Paulo Nogueira-Neto (Brazil)
Saburo Okita (Japan)
Shridath S. Ramphal (Guyana)
William D. Ruckelshaus (USA)
Mohamed Sahnoun (Algeria)
Emil Salim (Indonesia)
Bukar Shaib (Nigeria)
Vladimir Sokolov (USSR)
Janez Stanovnik (Yugoslavia)
Maurice Strong (Canada)
Ex Officio
Jim MacNeill (Canada)


Acronym List and Note on Terminology

From One Earth to One World: An overview by the World Commission on Environment and Development

Part I: Common Concerns

1. A Threatened Future

Symptoms and Causes
New Approaches to Environment and Development

2. Towards Sustainable Development

The Concept of Sustainable Development
Equity and the Common Interest
Strategic Imperatives

3. The Role of the International Economy

The International Economy, the Environment and Development
Decline in the 1980s
Enabling Sustainable Development
A Sustainable World Economy

Part II: Common Challenges

4. Population and Human Resources

The Links with Environment and Development
The Population Perspective
A Policy Framework

5. Food Security: Sustaining the Potential Achievements

Signs of Crisis
The Challenge
Strategies for Sustainable Food Security
Food for the Future

Chapter 6. Species and Ecosystems: Resources for Development

The Problem, Character and Extent
Extinction Patterns and Trends
Some Causes of Extinction
Economic Values at Stake
New Approach: Anticipate and Prevent
International Action for National Species
Scope for National Action
The Need for Action

Chapter 7. Energy: Choices for Environment and Development

Energy. Economy and Environment
Fossil Fuels: The Continuing Dilemma
Nuclear Energy: Unsolved Problems
Wood Fuels: The Vanishing Resource
Renewable Energy: The Untapped Potential
Energy Efficiency: Maintaining the Momentum
Energy Conservation Measures

Chapter 8. Industry: Producing More with Less

Industrial Growth and its Impact
Sustainable Industrial Development in a Context
Strategies for Sustainable Industrial Development

Chapter 9. The Urban Challenge

The Growth of Cities
The Urban Challenge in Developing Countries
International Cooperation

Part III: Common Endeavours

Chapter 10. Managing the Commons

Oceans: The Balance of Life
Space: A Key to Sustainable Development
Antarctica: Towards Global Cooperation

Chapter 11. Peace, Security, Development, and the Environment

Environmental Stress as a Source of Conflict
Conflict as a Cause of Unsustainable Development
Towards Security and Sustainable Development

Chapter 12. Towards Common Action: Proposals for Institutional and Legal Change

The Challenge for Institutional and Legal Change
Proposals for Institutional and Legal Change
A Call for Action

Annexe 1. Summary of Proposed Legal Principles for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development

Annexe 2. The Commission and Its Work

Throughout this report, quotes from some of the many people who spoke at WCED public hearings appear in boxes to illustrate the range of opinions the Commission was exposed to during its three years of work. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the Commission.

This work is excerpted from an official document of the United Nations. The policy of this organisation is to keep most of its documents in the public domain in order to disseminate "as widely as possible the ideas (contained) in the United Nations Publications".

Pursuant to UN Administrative Instruction ST/AI/189/Add.9/Rev.2 available in English only, these documents are in the public domain worldwide:

  1. Official records (proceedings of conferences, verbatim and summary records, …)
  2. United Nations documents issued with a UN symbol
  3. Public information material designed primarily to inform the public about United Nations activities (not including public information material that is offered for sale).

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