Skills, Systems & Synergies for Sustainable Development

Helping people think, talk, act and lead on Sustainable Development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was agreed by world leaders in September 2015. The Agenda offers a clear vision for the future for the world’s people, for the places where they live and for the planet.

4SD helps people working on sustainable development to have strategic influence within challenging situations. 4SD equips them with the skills they need to make a lasting difference. 4SD accompanies them as they nurture their skills in their professional practice.

4SD encourages the use of Living Systems approaches: these enable more effective engagement across sectors and among multiple stakeholders.

4SD fosters integrated people-centred action in ways that are inclusive, always connecting more stakeholders and offering the promise of generative futures for all.

In 2019, 4SD offers you the following:

4SD is also involved in applied interdisciplinary learning within universities and staff colleges internationally.

We would be delighted to explore how we can best support you.

Living Systems Leadership

At 4SD, we explore what systems leadership means, what working with living systems really looks like and how that plays out for real when you have a central role within loosely-organised human systems that are trying to address complex issues.

Comfort in Complexity

One step at a time with the direction in mind! Find out more about the characteristics of #systems #leadership

During a 4SD Webinar on Comfort in Complexity, participants explored how working in this way can be valuable and what it really feels like. This process was captured in a Learning Review (PDF).

Feeling Systems

All human systems are #LivingSystems; when we engage with them, we recognise how generative they are. Ideas & capacities grow, sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly, sometimes predictably, often not.

Seeing into Systems

The ability to see into multiple systems creates opportunities for leading change that is substantial and significant.

Commencement 2019 at CUNY SPH

On 4 June 2019, during Commencement 2019, David Nabarro, Strategic Director of 4SD, received an Honorary Doctorate from The City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.

During his keynote address (starting in minute 36), Dr Nabarro spoke about his motivation to become an International Civil Servant and the lessons he learned throughout his career.

Systems Leadership for Sustainable Development

Taking action on complex challenges such as the implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires a departure from traditional top-down, hierarchical and linear approaches. through systems change. A report, co-authored by Lisa Dreier, David Nabarro and Jane Nelson suggests using innovative and adaptive approaches to engage broad networks of diverse stakeholders.

Download the Executive Summary (PDF)

Inter-disciplinary science for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

At the launch of the Montpellier Advanced Knowledge Institute on Transitions (MAK’IT) on 7 March 2019, David Nabarro and Louise Fresco, President of Wageningen University & Research, spoke on how to work across disciplines to shift systems so they work better for people and the planet.

Find out more

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: What it means for all of us

On 20 November 2018, David Nabarro, Strategic Director of 4SD and Professor of Global Health at Imperial College, London, held the 2018 Annual Lecture of the Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI).

Find out more


Climate Home News: It is high time to reboot our relationship with nature (Op-ed)

Op-ed by Susan Gardner and David Nabarro, co-facilitators of the nature-based solutions work stream for the UN secretary general’s Climate Action Summit Septemb...

Podcast: David Nabarro on Climate Change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Natural Intelligence Media)

David has one word to describe HOW we to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: That word is Love.

Work-life balance: Care, Connection, Compassion for a Change

Guest article by David Nabarro in a special issue on "Work-life balance" in The Leader, the official newsletter of the African Nutrition Leadership Programme.

Imperial College London: Dr David Nabarro appointed as IGHI co-director

Dr Nabarro will join Professor the Lord Ara Darzi in leading the Institute. Together, they will advance the Institute towards its vision of reduced inequalities...

UN News: Nutrition, ecosystems and livelihoods at risk, despite age of plenty

The way we produce food today is damaging ecosystems around the world and threatening biodiversity, despite being more abundant and of better quality than ever ...

CUNY Press Release: Dr. David Nabarro to deliver keynote address at Commencement 2019

Dr. David Nabarro, Strategic Director of 4SD, will deliver the keynote address at The City University New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Polic...

The Telegraph: Malnutrition is a staggering global burden – we must give new meaning to the food we eat

Op-Ed by Lawrence Haddad of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and and David Nabarro of 4SD

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4SD on Twitter

During our #4SDImmersion we dive into the world of #LivingSystems. We become more aware of your own living system and the living systems in which we all participate. This enhances our ability to influence and enable purposeful cooperation: #SystemsChange

#BeaconsOfHope is a new report by @futureoffoodorg and @FutureForAll that examines the transformation process of 21 global initiatives to better understand how we can accelerate the much-needed #FoodSystemsTransformation. More info here: #ZeroHunger #SDGs

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