Our new Sustainable Development Center takes stock

What a difference a year can make. After generating over 130 public products in its first 365 days (research papers, journal articles, book chapters, policy reports, blogs, editorials, podcasts and public events), the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) at Brookings celebrated our first anniversary last week on October 21st.

The CSD was launched with the aim of providing cutting-edge research, ideas and meetings to advance global sustainable development and implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in and across all countries, including advanced economies. At our public launch event last October, we were honored that so many amazing leaders from around the world conveyed their encouragement and support to us. We were especially grateful to Ms. Amina Mohammed, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Dr. Rajiv Shah, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, joined to discuss so many global challenges of sustainable development. We took to heart the reminder from the Deputy Secretary General that “None of us can achieve the SDGs alone,”And its central challenge“ to strive to be a source of inspiration for the pursuit of sustainable development in all countries and communities of the world ”.

Some highlights

A year later, as this inventory dossier shows, CSD academic teams have taken up the challenge with vigor, providing contributions on a wide range of sustainable development topics, including:

  • The SDGs and global sustainable development.
  • Climate change.
  • Cities and local leadership.
  • The workforce of the future.
  • Global debt crisis.
  • End extreme poverty and deprivation.
  • Global development cooperation.
  • S. national policy for sustainable development.
  • S. global policy of sustainable development.
  • Gender equality.
  • The global middle class.

As impressive as the volume of CSD outputs can be, our team cares much more about the quality and results of their efforts. In the world of research and ideas, it is usually unwise for a single actor to try and claim too much credit, but we are fortunate to have a unique roster of academics who contribute in so many exceptional ways. To share some examples:

  • Amar Bhattacharya co-chaired the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Independent Experts on Climate Finance, which released its seminal report last December on “Delivering on the $ 100 billion climate finance pledge and transforming climate finance. “More recently, Amar was appointed member of the World Bank-IMF High Level Advisory Group (HLAG) on Sustainable and Inclusive Recovery and Growth, co-chaired by Mari Pangestu of the World Bank, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu of the IMF and Lord Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics. Amar is deeply involved in the global climate deliberations ahead of the upcoming UN climate summit of COP 26 in Glasgow, UK, including as an advisor to the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action and advise the Presidency of COP26. He and Lord Stern recently co-wrote a major editorial on “Our Last, Best Chance on Climate.
  • Marcela escobari continued to pioneer the Workforce of the Future initiative at Brookings, bringing an extraordinary wealth and rigor of data to advance location and job specific worker mobility opportunities in geographies across United States. Its mobility journey tool, a multi-year team project summarized in a blog with Natalie Geismar, aroused significant public interest, especially at high level. cover in the New York Times. More recently, Marcela published, with Ian Seyal and Carlos Daboin Contreras, a Moving Up report that reveals multidimensional barriers to labor mobility across America, especially for those in low-income jobs. returned. We are very proud that at the beginning of the year, President Biden appointed Marcela as USAID’s Deputy Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, a post she previously held during the Obama administration. Pending confirmation of this appointment by the Senate, Marcela is continuing her research on the role that companies can play in improving the quality of employment.
  • Georges ingram drew on his vast political experience to publish a series of important articles in the wake of the 2020 presidential election, including a prescription for the renewal of the US global partnership in a post-COVID-19 world. George also celebrated a win for good data in a recent post co-authored with Sally Paxton of Publish What You Fund (PWYF). They noted the fruits of a multi-year collaborative research effort to deal with conflicting official US aid data, which previously could vary up to billions of dollars a year on different government websites. USAID and the State Department recently agreed to consolidate competing aid data dashboards into a single data collection and reporting channel. In July, George partnered with PWYF to organize a public event on Development Aid Transparency for Gender Equality, which generated several new commitments to improve donor reporting on aid to development. gender equality. He also called for a US initiative to help bridge the global digital divide between low- and middle-income countries.
  • Homi kharas has been prolific in contributing to global economic debates during the COVID-19 crisis, with particular emphasis on measures to avert a developing country debt crisis amid the deepest and deepest global recession. widespread in modern history. The UN Secretary General acknowledged Homi’s paper with Meagan Dooley on “Debt Distress and Development Distress: Twin crises of 2021” as the basis for his March 2021 UN report on “”Liquidity and Debt Solutions to Invest in the SDGs: Time to Act. “Simultaneously, Homi and his co-authors generated leading empirical assessments of extreme deprivation (p. here and here), including extreme poverty in the context of COVID-19. He has also published, with Raj Desai and Selen Özdoğan, important research on the spatial dimensions of poverty reduction in the world. Impressively, Homi was recently appointed alongside Amar Bhattacharya to serve on the HLAG on Sustainable and Inclusive Recovery and Growth.
  • Tony pipa has advanced a remarkable range of efforts on local leadership for sustainable development. This includes a City Playbook for Advancing the SDGs, co-edited with Max Bouchet, which captures an inspiring array of ideas from the global SDG Leadership Cities community of practice that Tony initiated and facilitated. At the same time, last November Tony and Natalie Geismar released a key report containing recommendations for reinventing U.S. federal policy for U.S. rural development, informed by lessons and changes in U.S. policy and practice for sustainable development in the United States. ‘foreigner. The ideas in the report have had an influence on Congress and the Biden administration as they develop new approaches to investing directly in rural America, including the $ 4 billion rural partnership program currently being considered under of the budget reconciliation process. During this time, Tony also led CSD’s partnership with the United Nations Foundation to expand and connect US leadership on the SDGs in communities across the United States..

We are also extremely proud of our collaboration with the leaders of the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings, who make up CSD’s “education team”. I never go anywhere SDG 4 (Ensuring Quality Education) not to mention CUE Co-Directors Emiliana Vegas and Rebecca Winthrop, both of whom have made huge public contributions over the past year. Emiliana, for example, co-authored a seminal study on the cost of COVID-19 school closures in revenue and income, while also publishing a major series of reports on the implementation of computer education in regions around the world. Rebecca led a major initiative on family-school engagement and collaboration to transform and improve education systems. She has also been a driving force in the global movement to advance education to tackle climate change.

For my part, I had the privilege of co-chairing the 17 Rooms initiative in collaboration with Zia Khan and our partners at the Rockefeller Foundation. Over the past year, we have made great strides in describing the key design principles for this new approach to problem solving in the 17 SDGs. This was largely made possible by the new, small but powerful 17-room secretariat team of Alexandra Bracken, Jacob Taylor and Shrijana Khanal. All of them have been at the heart of advancing the 17 Rooms annual global flagship process and the growing 17 Rooms-X community of practice. We were honored that United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed joined the 2021 flagship summit as lead auditor for the second year in a row, commenting on the hall (working group) reports to be released. next month in a next wave of action plans and ideas. Meanwhile, the efforts of 17 Rooms-X are helping universities, communities, regions and now countries to advance localized processes of action, understanding and collaboration for the SDGs. The growing interest in 17 Rooms has helped inform an evolving vision of how the initiative could help fuel a new approach to multilateral cooperation, and even an annual “17 Chambers World Day” for communities around the world.

Looking forward

As proud as we are of CSD’s accomplishments over the past year, we know that we are only a small node in a much larger global network of contributors to the broader challenges of sustainability. Over the coming year, we plan to continue our existing core lines of work while stepping up our efforts on key priorities, in line with a spirit of networked leadership. We look forward to the culmination of some major research products, including a book on cutting edge technologies for the SDGs, and the launch of a major new effort on gender equality and sustainable development. At the same time, we aim to accelerate the work of aligning the private sector with the SDGs, in other words, to link ESGs to the SDGs. We want our center to serve as a neutral platform that helps bring together various constituencies. With that in mind, we are also delighted to announce soon the very first cohort of non-resident scholars of the CSD. We are excited to tap into an ever-expanding network of experts and allies who can share ideas both on the substance of the centre’s work and on opportunities for broader stakeholder engagement. .


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