Letters of Endorsement
Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland
Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland is the former Prime Minister of Norway, former Director-General of the World Health Organization, and Chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development. Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland was born in Oslo, Norway, on 20 April 1939. A medical doctor from the University of Oslo, with a Master of Public Health from Harvard University, Dr. Brundtland spent 10 years as a physician and scientist in the Norwegian public health system. She was in public office for more than 20 years, ten of them as Prime Minister. Throughout her career, Dr. Brundtland developed a growing concern for issues of global significance. In 1983, the then UN Secretary-General invited her to establish and chair the World Commission on Environment and Development (later to become known as Brundtland Commission). The Commission, which is best known for developing the broad political concept of sustainable development, published its report Our Common Future in April 1987. It led to the Earth Summit - the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. After stepping down as Prime Minister in October 1996, Dr. Brundtland was nominated as Director-General of the World Health Organization in 1998, an office she held until July 2003. From 2007 to 2009, she served as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Climate Change.
Dr. David Nabarro
Dr. David Nabarro has had a long and distinguished career in public health, including leading the WHO's Roll Back Malaria initiative, serving as the UN's Senior Coordinator for Avian and Pandemic Influenza, and more recently becoming Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition. Dr. Nabarro has more than 30 years experience of public health, nutrition and development work at country, regional and global levels, and has held positions in non-governmental organizations, universities, national Governments and the United Nations system. Dr. Nabarro, born in London, qualified as a physician in 1973. After a short period in the United Kingdom National Health Service, he worked for six years in child health and nutrition programmes in Iraq, South Asia and East Africa. He also taught for six years at the London and Liverpool Schools of Tropical Medicine, served as Chief Health and Population Adviser to the British Government’s Overseas Development Administration. In 1997, he became Director for Human Development in the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID). In 1999, Dr. Nabarro was selected to lead the Roll Back Malaria initiative at the World Health Organization (WHO). Within two years, he was appointed Executive Director and two years later was asked to lead WHO’s Department for Health Action in Crises, coordinating worldwide support for health aspects of crises preparedness, response and recovery. In September 2005, Dr. Nabarro joined the office of the United Nations Secretary-General as Senior Coordinator for Avian and Pandemic Influenza. In January 2009 he was given the additional responsibility of coordinating the United Nations system’s High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis.
Dr. Rita Colwell
Dr. Rita Colwell is Chairman of Canon US Life Sciences, Inc. and Distinguished University Professor both at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She holds a BS in bacteriology and an MS in genetics, from Purdue University, and a PhD in oceanography from the University of Washington. Her interests are focused on global infectious diseases, water, and health, and she is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world. Dr. Colwell served as the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation, 1998-2004. She is a nationally-respected scientist and educator, and has authored or co-authored 16 books and more than 700 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film, Invisible Seas, and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals. Before going to NSF, Dr. Colwell was President of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and Professor of Microbiology and Biotechnology at the University Maryland. She was also a member of the National Science Board from 1984 to 1990. Dr. Colwell has previously served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology and also as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Washington Academy of Sciences, the American Society for Microbiology, the Sigma Xi National Science Honorary Society, and the International Union of Microbiological Societies. Dr. Colwell is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.
Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy
Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy is a professor at George Mason University, with a joint appointment in the Environmental Science and Policy Department and the Department of Public and International Affairs. He was President of The Heinz Center from May 2002-2008, and then became the Center's Biodiversity Chair. Prior to that, he was the World Bank’s Chief Biodiversity Advisor and Lead Specialist for Environment for Latin America and the Caribbean and Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations Foundation. Dr. Lovejoy has been Assistant Secretary and Counselor to the Secretary at the Smithsonian Institution, Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior, and Executive Vice President of the World Wildlife Fund–U.S. He conceived the idea for the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project (a joint project between the Smithsonian and Brazil's INPA), originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps, and is the founder of the public television series Nature. In 2001 he was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. Dr. Lovejoy served on science and environmental councils or committees under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. He received his BS and PhD (biology) degrees from Yale University.
Dr. Paul Ehrlich
Dr. Paul Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford University, received his Ph.D. in 1957 from the University of Kansas. Co-founder with Peter H. Raven of the field of coevolution, he has pursued long-term studies of the structure, dynamics, and genetics of natural butterfly populations. He has also been a pioneer in alerting the public to the problems of overpopulation, and in raising issues of population, resources, and the environment as matters of public policy. Professor Ehrlich is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Ehrlich has received several honorary degrees, the John Muir Award of the Sierra Club, the Gold Medal Award of the World Wildlife Fund International, a MacArthur Prize Fellowship, the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (given in lieu of a Nobel Prize in areas where the Nobel is not given), in 1993 the Volvo Environmental Prize, in 1994 the United Nations' Sasakawa Environment Prize, in 1995 the Heinz Award for the Environment, in 1998 the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement and the Dr. A. H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences, in 1999 the Blue Planet Prize, in 2001 the Eminent Ecologist Award of the Ecological Society of America and the Distinguished Scientist Award of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and in 2009 the Margalef Prize in Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw
Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw has been United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Director of the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI) since February 2007. DEPI leads UNEP's activities on ecosystem management and services, including both terrestrial (land and freshwater) and marine ecosystems; activities on conflicts and disasters and; the adaptation component of climate change. Ibrahim started his career with the Ministry of Rural Development of Mauritania. He has worked as IUCN Regional Director for West Africa and as the Acting Director-General of IUCN before joining UNEP. He has more than 22 years of experience in the fields of natural resource management and environmental policy at national, pan-African and global levels. His particular contribution has been in the successful development and implementation of large scale environmental programmes and projects.