A catalyst for community-wide action on sustainable development

Article by Communities around the world are increasingly recognizing that breaking down silos and leveraging shared resources and interdependencies across economic, social, and environmental issues can help accelerate progress on multiple issues simultaneously. As a framework for organizing local development priorities, the world’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) uniquely combine a need for broad technical expertise with an opportunity to synergize across domains—all while adhering to the principle of leaving no one behind. For local leaders attempting to tackle intersecting issues using the SDGs, one underpinning question is how to support new forms of collaboration to maximize impact and progress?

In early May, over 100 people across the East Central Florida (ECF) region in the U.S. participated in Partnership for the Goals: Creating a Resilient and Thriving Community,” a two-day multi-stakeholder convening spearheaded by a team of local leaders from the East Central Florida Regional Resilience Collaborative (ECFR2C), the Central Florida Foundation, the City of Orlando, Florida for Good, Orange County, and the University of Central Florida. The convening grew out of a multi-year resilience planning process that leveraged the SDGs as a framework for tackling local economic, social, and environmental priorities all at once.

To move from community-wide planning to community-wide action, the organizers experimented with a 17 Rooms process—a new approach to accelerating collaborative action for the SDGs pioneered by the Center for Sustainable Development at Brookings and The Rockefeller Foundation. We collaborated with the ECF local organizing team and, in the process, spotted a range of more broadly relevant insights that we describe here…(More)”.