As “global elites” converge on Davos, Switzerland, for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, their policies and decisions may influence Austin.

The Austin Healthcare Council describes itself as “an apolitical nonprofit entity” that “does not lobby government or take positions on healthcare policy issues,” but works “through education, mentoring, networking, and international programs to foster a supportive environment for healthcare and bring together a wide spectrum of organizations.”

AHC serves as the City of Austin’s “Lead Execution Partner” for the WEF’s Healthy Cities and Communities Initiative.

According to AHC (since the WEF page for the Healthy Cities and Communities Initiative no longer exists), “The mission of the Healthy Cities and Communities initiative is to advance public-private collaborations to design and support socially vibrant health and well-being centric communities in cities.”

AHC said, “The Forum’s vision is that by 2030, cities in both developed and developing markets can create and improve physical, social, and community environments to enable people to lead healthier lives and develop to their maximum potential in a truly inclusive way.”

“​​Through our partnership with these three cities [Austin, Jersey City, and Mumbai] over the last two years, we found that city governments – mayors, public health departments, city administrators – need effective partnerships with stakeholders to support citizens’ wellbeing efforts,” said the WEF.

Notably, “stakeholders” generally refers to business and government interests with a seat at the table, not the average taxpaying citizen.

According to the WEF’s “Healthy Cities and Communities Playbook”:

Bringing business, NGOs and academic experts to cities, and also connecting citizen leaders, the network will leverage this playbook and other best-in-class resources to facilitate regular exchange of best practices and bring more partner cities to the mix. The convening power of the World Economic Forum will enable this network, providing city stakeholders with a global community to cultivate innovative ideas that can be activated, replicated and scaled across diverse cities of the world.

The Healthy Cities and Communities Initiative is part of the WEF’s “Shaping the Future of Consumption” platform. This platform promotes changes like using cacti and apple scraps to make leather instead of animal hide due to greenhouse gas emissions.

Last fall, AHC announced that in addition to their partnership with the WEF, “the Clinton Foundation has selected the Austin Healthcare Council as one of 140 new global Commitments to Action selectees at the Clinton Global Initiative Summit held in New York City in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly.”

The Clinton Foundation, established by former President Bill Clinton, works to “expand economic opportunity, improve public health, confront the climate crisis, and inspire citizen engagement and service.”

WEF’s Davos conference ends Friday, January 20, and Austin may be a recipient of its policy aims.

Sydnie Henry

A born and bred Texan, Sydnie serves as the Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard. A 2021 graduate of Patrick Henry College with a B.A. in Government, Sydnie is utilizing her research and writing skills to spread truth to Texans.

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