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Center for Sustainable Development

17 Rooms

UPDATE: On February 23, 2021, the 17 Rooms secretariat released a new report, 17 Rooms: A new approach to spurring action for the Sustainable Development Goals, also summarized in a blog on March 12. This takes stock of the initiative as of early 2021 and captures insights for a broader community of readers who might be interested in collaborating moving forward.

The 17 Rooms initiative was first launched by The Brookings Institution and The Rockefeller Foundation in September 2018, as an experiment in stimulating new forms of collective action for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Gathering on the eve of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, the aim was to provide a fun and energizing approach to convening 17 disparate specialist communities under the same roof, to identify—in parallel and in concert—high-impact actions that can be taken over the next 12-18 months to improve SDG outcomes.

Following two years of innovative collaborations across both a flagship annual process and a variety of offshoot efforts, 17 Rooms continues to evolve as a unique format for bringing diverse constituencies together around a common premise. In 2020, the methodologies have further advanced through virtual convenings (“17 Zooms”), maintaining a focus on actions toward SDG outcomes amid the COVID-19 pandemic and related crises.

Building on the experiences of the annual flagship process, which focuses on global policy priorities, Brookings and Rockefeller are also exploring opportunities to syndicate the 17 Rooms approach as an open-access methodology (“17 Rooms-X”) to support disparate communities in organizing their own conversations for SDG action. Several universities have already been pursuing variants of “17 Rooms-U” as a tool for advancing SDG collaboration within and across campuses—to foster action among faculty, staff, students, and community stakeholders. A range of local governments are also exploring the option of convening 17 Rooms-type processes for local stakeholders.

Brookings and The Rockefeller Foundation are working together to develop a toolkit to support broader constituencies to implement their own 17 Rooms-X activities. If you are interested to learn more and potentially collaborate, please email

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