“17 Rooms-X” is a widely accessible methodology that seeks to help communities advance practical next steps toward local priorities for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This includes contexts where priorities align with the underlying economic, social, and environmental challenges of sustainable development, but might not be framed in the policy jargon of the SDGs.

17 Rooms-X aims to provide a practical and inclusive process for any scale of community to engage with the SDGs and identify specific forms of cooperation to drive progress. A 17 Rooms-X “community of practice” launched by the Center for Sustainable Development at Brookings and The Rockefeller Foundation in February 2021 now includes over 200 members representing over 100 organizations interested in experimenting with the 17 Rooms approach.

Since 2019, the following communities have already convened 17-Rooms-X processes to drive local SDG action, while a range of other cities, governments, and organizations are also exploring how to apply 17 Rooms to help advance their own SDG priorities:

  • 17 Rooms-Latin America: The Centro de Pensamiento Estrategico Internacional (Cepei) convenes participants from over a dozen countries spanning government, civil society, and private sectors to augment  pandemic and natural disaster recovery efforts and to help translate Latin American countries’ high-level Voluntary National Reviews into practical next steps.
  • 17 Rooms-Hawai’i: Hawai’i Green Growth (HGG), a U.N. Local2030 Hub, conducted a 17 Rooms exercise to strengthen practical cross-sector collaborations in advance of their next Voluntary Local Review and SDG mid-term review in 2023.
  • 17 Rooms-University of Nigeria: Faculty members at the University of Nigeria (UNN) deployed a 17 Rooms process to spur research and address critical and interwoven economic, social, and environmental crises facing Nigeria. 
  • 17 Rooms-East Central Florida: A cross-sector team of organizers from the East Central Florida region (USA) coordinated a 17 Rooms process to convert their regional sustainability action plan into actionable next steps.
  • 17 Rooms-Concordia University: Experimenting with a novel “17 Rooms in 17 weeks” format, Concordia University used the 17 Rooms approach to stimulate pragmatic conversations and surface actionable priorities for sustainable development on campus and beyond.
  • 17 Rooms-Festa Center for Sustainability: Working with the prime minister’s office in Iceland, Festa developed a highly curated 17 Rooms process to engage key community leaders and experts from business, NGOs, and government ministries in frank conversations about practical next steps for sustainability, with a particular focus on themes of circular economy (SDG 12) and climate action (SDG 13).
  • 17 Rooms-George Mason University: The Institute for a Sustainable Earth at GMU convened a 17 Rooms process to discover and coordinate SDG-related research activities and experiment with how these could be linked to the university’s community engagement. 
  • 17 Rooms-Queen’s University: Queen’s University (Canada) used the 17 Rooms process to generate awareness of the SDGs as a holistic framework for action (beyond just climate and green economy) and energized both local and global collaboration networks for SDG impact.
  • 17 Rooms-University of Toronto: University of Toronto faculty, staff, and students convened its 17 Rooms process virtually to identify opportunities for SDG-inspired interdisciplinary research; innovation in research and teaching methods; plus strategies and models for partnerships.
  • 17 Rooms-Georgia Institute of Technology: Georgia Tech used the 17 Rooms approach to develop detailed community-driven recommendations to align with and advance the themes of the institute’s new strategic plan. 
  • 17 Rooms-Carnegie Mellon University: A 17 Rooms exercise held virtually over several weeks helped inform the university’s pioneering “Voluntary University Review,” discovering hidden SDG-relevant connections. 
  • 17 Rooms-Rutgers University/University Global Coalition: Rutgers University in New Jersey and the University Global Coalition convened a cross-university 17 Rooms exercise with faculty and organizational leaders from more than 65 different institutions to demonstrate the opportunities for a minimally -curated multi-institutional process, with each Room exploring opportunities for cross-organizational collaboration. 
  • 17 Rooms-Tecnológico de Monterrey: Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico used 17 Rooms to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration and community stakeholder engagement. 
  • 17 Rooms-Universidad Politécnica de Madrid: In Spain, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid used 17 Rooms as part of a universitywide consultation process to track SDG-specific progress toward —and identify critical actions needed to advance—key strategic missions such as achieving decarbonization of UPM by 2030.

The 17 Rooms secretariat is currently developing an online beta toolkit to support organizations aiming to implement their own 17 Rooms-X experience.

If you are interested to learn more and potentially collaborate on 17 Rooms-X, please email 17rooms@brookings.edu.