From March 22-24, the Brazil SDSN convened a group of 30 prominent network stakeholders for a workshop to discuss overall strategy and the development of a Network work plan for the next 18 months leading up to the Olympic Games, which will be hosted in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The workshop took place two hours outside of Rio de Janeiro, in the city of Itaipava. Among the attendees were key representatives from the Municipal and State Governments of Rio de Janeiro, the private sector, international financing organizations, non-profits, and academia.

Since its launch, Brazil SDSN has focused the work of SDSN’s Thematic Group on Sustainable Cities: Inclusive, Resilient, and Connected. Rio de Janeiro has great potential to become a point of reference among emerging economies as a sustainable city of the future, and with a number of important international events taking place in Rio, the Brazil SDSN is using this pivotal moment of international visibility to put the city’s work in sustainable development on a global stage. After this initial focus on Rio, the Network plans to expand to other major cities throughout Brazil.

The workshop served as an important advancement for the Network. Among the major themes discussed were the Brazil SDSN mission, objectives, and key opportunities and activities to put the Network in action in the coming months. An important outcome of the workshop was an increased commitment from members, who identified ways in which their specific institutions can increase engagement with Network activities.

A dedicated Brazil SDSN website, to be released in April, will serve as the principal means of communication for the Network, and will include a virtual platform for members to exchange ideas and identify potential partnerships.

In the coming months, the Network has prioritized obtaining sustainable sources of financing, and engaging directly with members to find opportunities for the Brazil SDSN to “fill in the gaps” and strengthen existing initiatives by connecting projects and sectors. The key outcome of the workshop will be the development of a detailed Network work plan, which will be released in April.