Within communities, countries, and continents—it sometimes feels that we are stuck in addressing the world’s big and urgent economic, social, and environmental challenges. Too many of the existing institutions and processes meant to foster cooperation are not measuring up to the moment. The setbacks triggered by Covid-19 over the past two years have only made the need for progress all the more urgent.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) distill a cross-section of the world’s most important priorities. In addition to defining where we want to be in 2030, the 17 SDGs can also provide a template for the type of cooperation and cross-sector collaboration needed to get us there.

To harness the SDGs as a framework for action, The Brookings Institution’s Center for Sustainable Development once again joined forces with The Rockefeller Foundation to convene the fourth annual 17 Rooms global flagship process in 2021. 17 Rooms provides a neutral and creative space, alongside official processes, where leaders from different sectors and backgrounds connect to collaborate and carry forward the next steps for the SDGs.

Every year, 17 working groups or “Rooms,” one per SDG, come together to advance specific actions within their respective, while expanding opportunities for collaboration across the Goals. Each Room is encouraged to focus on actions that are of their SDG—a specific area of their Goal that they deem ripe for action over a 12-18 month period.

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