Hot Topic - Fellows Discuss What Institutional Investors Should Be Prioritizing in Health and Well-Being

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Jun 03, 2019
by Yasmina Ghandour
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Hot Topic - Fellows Discuss What Institutional Investors Should Be Prioritizing in Health and Well-Being

Salzburg Global Fellows share their views during the Salzburg Global program Partnerships for Urban Wellbeing and Resilience: Harnessing Nature and Protected Areas for the Sustainable Development Goals Photo from Oleg Laptev on Unsplash

A select number of Fellows at the Salzburg Global Seminar program, Partnerships for Urban Wellbeing and Resilience: Harnessing Nature and Protected Areas for the Sustainable Development Goals, were asked: What Should the Institutional Investor Community Be Prioritizing in Terms of  Health and Well-Being? We have published their answers below.

“It’s a question of deliberation and engagement. I tend to think that investors don’t just arrive. There are engagements that happen between the state and the investors. I think when business engagements are made – within [the] economic center – there should be a consideration of nature, a consideration of human health, in the whole deliberation... I’m sure if the state brings that as a condition, the investor will be willing to look at it. But I think many times it’s an economic focus without looking at all other areas that are linked to it... we need to change the way we perceive development.”

Shirley Mathebula

Deputy municipal manager for community services in the City of uMhlathuze, South Africa

"It’s very important to be communicating to institutional investors that investing in nature, health, and well-being is actively investing in our future, and the future of our citizens, people, [and] next generation societies... Maybe that’s the first step... The second would be specific areas where priority investments are needed. In my opinion, [this] would be supporting the business models that integrate nature, health, and well-being. My particular bias and interest would be supporting investments on sustainable food systems in our cities because for me sustainable food systems, it’s a good opportunity for linking urban and rural needs.”

Wilson John Barbon

Director at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction in Myanmar

"One thing we’ve talked about a bit is... related to stormwater remediation. So one approach – and I’ve seen it in my own small town – is they’ve worked very hard to try to come up with a plan to assess homeowners a certain amount of money so that they can build more stormwater drainage and more stormwater holding pits for the big storms that we’re experiencing... But what they’re not talking about at all is bio-remediation and approaches that are on the individual level... helping a community understand how each entity within the community, each homeowner... can also be working on non-sealed surfaces, on plantings that function properly on swales... and really individually replicating, so you have a tapestry of these unsealed bio areas that... are interacting with rainwater... with the things that if the built environment weren’t there, they’d be interacting with – with the ecology, with plants, with the animals, and really moving towards the kinds of diversity, the kinds of culture of those as well that complement the human culture.”

Kate Christen

Environmental historian and senior manager of the Smithsonian Conservation Commons in the USA

"There is an interesting trajectory for organizations and countries... in the past couple of decades, where you see a movement from measuring a country’s success in the GDP terms, in economic finance fiscal terms, and moving away from that and now measuring countries, or nations, or a city’s success rate based on well-being indicators, or [a] well-being index... That’s what is starting to define these agendas at that institutional level.”

Ana Rold

Founder and publisher of Diplomatic Courier, based in Washington, D.C., in the USA

"We have to think about the traditional way that the investors think and how that is not traditionally assessing the health and well-being of communities or people. So, this is about... creating a new value and then evaluating that in the proper way that incorporates the effect that these investors will have in improving the health and the well-being.”

Togo Uchida

Director of ICLEI Japan


The Salzburg Global Seminar program, Partnerships for Urban Wellbeing and Resilience: Harnessing Nature and Protected Areas for the Sustainable Development Goals, is part of the Parks for the Planet Forum. This program is supported by Future Cities Forum, ICLEI CBC, IUCN Urban Alliance, Learning Economy, National Park City Foundation, The Centre for Conscious Design, World Urban Parks, and 21st Century Trust.