One year after September 11, the importance of state stability as one component for deterring unrest and terrorism is being recognized. The provision of basic health and public services is a key factor in state viability, and one that deserves greater attention.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland addressed how improved health programs can help promote economic development and stability. She discussed the benefits of public health provisions in undeveloped areas. With one-third of the African population and millions of the poorest in Asia living in failed or conflict-torn states, satisfying their basic needs is a crucial factor in achieving the world community’s goals of poverty reduction and sustainable development.
The former Prime Minister of Norway, Brundtland formed and lead the UN World Commission on Environment and Development (known as the Brundtland Commission) from 1981 to 1987, culminating in the Brundtland Report, which originated the term “sustainable development.” Brundtland took office as Director-General of WHO in July 1998.
The Brookings Leadership Forum provides high-level government officials from around the world the opportunity to address members of the Washington policy community and to share their insights and perspectives on world events as well as on issues of particular concern to their countries.