Florence Lasbennes

Arrived in Geneva: 2013

Organization and Role: Managing Director at 4SD (Skills Systems and Synergies for Sustainable Development)  

Hometown: Nancy, France


Please tell us who you are and what you do in Geneva?

I am an agronomist, passionate about living systems, food security and agriculture. After years working for the French government as well as for the United Nations within the field of nutrition and food security, I am now Managing Director at 4SD, created together with David Nabarro in 2017 in Geneva. At 4SD - “Skills Systems and Synergies for Sustainable Development” - we commit every day to nurture unusual connections between sectors, to stimulate thought-provoking and constructive dialogue across diverse actors and spheres, and to foster collective intelligence to tackle nowadays most complex issues.

How does your organization reflect the 2030 Agenda’s paradigms of innovation, integration and collaboration in its activities?  

The 2030 Agenda is at the center of our vision and strategy. At 4SD, we believe that the only way to constructively embrace the complexity of our systems is by maintaining an integrated approach, working collaboratively with others to break silos and deliver on the SDGs with fresh and innovative approaches. We try to stimulate our partners to embrace this complexity, to avoid thinking separately and to cherish diversity of perspectives, voices and expertise as key components of collective growth.

These guiding principles translate concretely in the standardized methods for multistakeholder dialogue we have been developing for the Food Systems Summit. 148 Member states & hundreds of independent actors have convened more than 1500 Food Systems Summit Dialogues. Engaging more than 103’000 people, these dialogues are meant to offer a safe space for individuals who are different in every sense possible to actively listen, understand, speak and respect one another, to welcome each other’s perspective, to eventually create unexpected partnerships for the same common goal. Thanks to trained conveners and curators, these dialogues aim at accompanying people throughout the process of overcoming the uncomfortable nature of complexity, to fully embrace it, understand it and turn it into a source of personal and collective development. Throughout these curated dialogues, we accompany evolution of mindsets, and establishment of new connections.

What is on your mind right now?  

We are now fully engaged with the preparation of the United Nations Food System Summit 2021, taking place on September 23rd in a virtual format. In collaboration with the Special Envoy for the Food Systems Summit, we have trained conveners, curators and facilitators of multi-stakeholders’ dialogues. These dialogues have allowed a diverse range of stakeholders including food producers, women, food workers, Indigenous Peoples, companies, local and central Governments to exchange different perspectives and tools to approach food systems in a sustainable and effective way. Big questions running through our minds are now how to keep this momentum going, how to ensure we are not stepping back from all the great work done so far due to the virtual format of the summit, how to harness the energy of countries and food system practitioners in an exciting way?  

What do you find unique about the Geneva ecosystem of actors?

I am constantly fascinated by the diversity of the Geneva Ecosystem, being it diversity of nationalities, backgrounds, profiles and missions. Geneva inspires us to burst our comfortable bubbles and approach realities that are different from our own, and to grow from them. It’s not always easy to do so, but it is the difficult work that attracts me the most.

What is your favourite thing to do in and around Geneva?  

I love going on the Jura to look at the Mont Blanc - I find the view stunning! In Geneva, I love walking around the lake!

What is one thing that most people do not know about you?  

I practice the 5Rhythms Dance to recharge my energies