IOPD participates in the 17 Rooms 2023 initiative

Our network is invited to participate in "Room 16: Transforming Democracy Together" on May 5 and 6 in Mexico City


The 17 Rooms initiative is spearheaded by the Brookings Institution and the Rockefeller Foundation as an innovative tool to stimulate new forms of action for each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The initiative was launched in September 2018, on the eve of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Since 2020, the initiative has been co-chaired by John McArthur, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development of Brookings Institution, and Zia Khan, Senior Vice President for Innovation at the Rockefeller Foundation.

In practice, 17 Rooms brings together participants from different communities of expertise in their own "Rooms" or working groups, one for each SDG. The process offers an effective way of bringing together natural allies, ideally promoting enough familiarity to enable collaboration and enough diversity to spark new ideas and avenues for action.

While the nature of 17 Rooms methodologies continues to evolve through continuous learning and experimentation, there are three design principles that help define the 17 Rooms experience: a) All SDGs have a place at the table; b) Next step, not the perfect step; c) Conversations rather than presentations.

This year, the International Observatory on Participatory Democracy, represented by Adrià Duarte, has been invited to participate in "Room 16: Transforming Democracy Together". This working meeting takes place on 5 and 6 May in Mexico City, with sessions focused on SDG 16: Promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies

Room 16 aims to prioritize one or three major steps to institutionalize participatory and deliberative democracy worldwide. To achieve this, it will focus on the question of how to transform the institutions of governance so that democracy extends beyond elections at a systemic level, rather than only through ad hoc exercises. This global, action-oriented discussion is led and facilitated by Josh Lerner of People Powered and Diana Dajer of the Corona Foundation

The Room 16 session in Mexico City will be followed by a series of virtual meetings over several months in the lead up to the SDG Summit, hosted by the United Nations in September. 

This collaborative initiative will be an opportunity to strengthen the global ecosystem of participatory and deliberative democracy. In recent years, innovations in democracy, civic engagement and participatory governance have multiplied rapidly. Several international organizations are working to expand this movement, but without regular coordination. By agreeing on common priorities, the hope is to reduce fragmentation, increase collaboration and achieve more together.

The IOPD and UCLG are committed to achieving the SDGs through localisation and multi-level global dialogue between international organizations, national governments, local and regional governments and civil society organizations. For this reason, we are pleased to be part of these innovative dialogue sessions.