The pandemic due to COVID-19 has been an additional reason to make the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), goals that are part of a master plan to achieve a sustainable future for our planet Earth, a priority for both the public and private sectors. This urgency because the current juncture demonstrates that these goals are interconnected and deserve new methods to generate faster progress. In that regard, the nonprofit research center Brookings Institution proposes 17 rooms that share a new approach to driving action on the SDGs.
You may be wondering what these 17 rooms refer to. According to the Brookings report, these proposals are intended to advance problem-solving within and across all SDGs. This commitment was convened in September 2018 thanks to the partnership between Brookings and The Rockefeller Foundation. Since that meeting on the eve of the UN General Assembly, the initiative has become a two-pronged effort. First, it is an annual flagship process focused on global policy issues, and it is also a community-level process in which local actors are taking action using the methods proposed by the 17 Rooms.
Looking planet earth (SDGs)
Each of these 17 rooms is composed of participants from different communities, who will form groups that will be assigned SDGs for each one. Each room has the common task of identifying cooperative actions to be carried out for 12 to 18 months. Subsequently, these innovative ideas are shared among the classrooms to pool efforts so that they can collaborate with each other. As the work develops, this initiative evolves through continuous experimentation. For this reason, the methods are not deterministic or fixed, but they do follow three design principles that help define the key elements of the mindset in these 17 rooms.
First, all SDGs are prioritized equally. Knowledge, participants and priorities are valued equally in all specialized communities, participants make efforts in the same proportions for each of the SDGs. Another element shared is that of contributing with any step, no matter how small. Participants are encouraged to identify and collaborate with actions that have an impact. Finally, the third element is to generate a space for conversation and discussion that revolves around collaboration and learning among all. Each principle or element shared by the 17 rooms contributes to the advancement of action, the generation of knowledge and a strengthened sense of community among the participants.
The work of each room
Since the date this initiative was proposed, various actions have been carried out to drive the evolution of methodologies. At the first session in September 2018, participants caught the spirit of action in the 17 working groups. The second meeting a year later in New York featured more deliberate preparations in each room, and included cross-room brainstorming. As a result, a public report was made suggesting actions and priorities for the following year.
The pandemic in 2020 that kept us all on lockdown and with limitations did not stop the working groups from meeting virtually. On the contrary, it encouraged them to identify specific priorities. At the end of the meetings, each room published a document on their perceptions and practical ideas for 2021. The report contains four emerging trends that emerged from the deliberations: justice, nature, technology and next generation. Each of these requires greater effort for the SDGs to succeed to our planet Earth.
Clear basis for achieving the SDGs
During 2019 and 2020, participants saw the opportunity to implement their room proposals. For example, universities in countries such as ours have implemented room methods to encourage awareness and cooperation in various sectors. In this way, new forms of cooperation and alignment between members of the community have been offered. In addition, conversations have been held between potential partners such as cities, organizations and countries.
For the future, the 17 rooms will follow a new cycle of experimentation to update methods and knowledge that will benefit the work of the community. This 2021, the initiative continues to be conducted virtually, and now with a focus on addressing the consequences of the pandemic, not forgetting the global policy calendar for the coming year. Secondary efforts will be further supported by sharing learning and ideas.
Just as the partners in the 17 rooms are committed to proposing changes that contribute to the SDGs, eSmart Recycling is also committed to supporting a sustainable future for our planet Earth. That’s why we recycle computers and use part of the proceeds to give back in the form of computers to donate to underprivileged children and families. In this way we ensure a more competitive future in the student and work environment.