In early May, more than one hundred regional leaders from different organizations came together as part of the region’s first Partnership for the Goals event. The two-day summit was a partnership between The Brookings Institution, the RPC’s East Central Florida Regional Resilience Collaborative, the Central Florida Foundation, the University of Central Florida’s Center for Global Environmental and Economic Opportunity, Orange County, the City of Orlando, and Florida For Good.
The theme of the Partnership for the Goals was to break from business-as-usual and leverage the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework as a tool for common conversation across government, philanthropic, academic, business, and civic society that often struggle to connect across professional vocabularies and organizational reference points. The objectives were to convene natural allies and enable collaboration and enough diversity to spark new ideas and pathways to accelerated action that would advance economic, social, and environmental priorities while each SDGs has an equal seat at the table. Each room was a high-level working group based on around SDGs. These rooms were designed 1) to ensure unique priorities are respected within goals while recognizing interdependencies between goals, 2) with a focus on actionable ideas within an SDG that are “big enough to matter and small enough to get done” over a defined horizon, and 3) encouraging convenings to celebrate informal discussions among peers focusing on what could be best for an issue.
Partnership for the Goals through Thrive (day 1), local leaders learned about efforts in the region to meet the SDGs. Partnership for the Goals through 17 Rooms, (Day 2) focused on breakout discussions with two co-lead CEO/Executive Director/Organizational Leadership to each of the seventeen sustainable development goals (SDGs) such as No Poverty, Climate Action, and Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure. By gathering leaders into groups related to their area of expertise, conversations more easily flowed to concrete commitments on how their organizations can work across the next year and a half to create greater collective impact around shared SDGs.
The event created new connections for many involved and by the end of day two more than two dozen actionable ideas over the next eighteen months, some of which are already yielding results. Most importantly, the event is the precipice of new collaborations across sectors in the region and Brookings stated it is quickly becoming a model for other global communities. It will remain a cornerstone event of the Regional Resilience Collaborative’s efforts for years to come.