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Financing for Development Conference Boosts Support for Open Data

Posted by Dr. Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics in Technology
Feb 21, 2017

At the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, leaders across the globe, in the public, non-governmental, and private sectors, committed to sharing and using data and to investing in the capacity to collect and analyze this data for sustainable development. Open data, particularly open data relevant to agriculture and nutrition, is a powerful tool for long-term sustainable development, improving the economic opportunities for farmers and contributing to the health of all consumers.  Making open data work for agriculture and nutrition requires a shared agenda to increase the supply, quality, and interoperability of data, alongside action to build capacity for the use of data by all stakeholders.

The United States made several pledges at FfD including increasing support for global efforts to make agricultural and nutritionally relevant data available, accessible, and usable for unrestricted use worldwide.  As a cornerstone of this support, the United States will expand and deepen its commitment to the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative. This commitment will encourage collaboration and cooperation among existing agriculture and open data activities, without duplication, and will bring together stakeholders to solve long-standing global problems with a priority toward improving global food security. Specifically, the United States will provide $4 million in support of the GODAN Secretariat, matching the contribution provided by the United Kingdom.

Also at FfD, GODAN welcomed several new partners: Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH), the Government of Kenya, and the ONE campaign.  We look forward to teaming with these new partners and others, including the United Kingdom, to form a planning committee for a 2016 GODAN Summit. We look forward to announcing further details of the Summit later this year.

The United States government has prioritized opening its data, and it is no different here at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), where we believe in the profound power of open data to make positive change.  Recognizing the boundless potential of data to revolutionize agriculture and food systems, the United States has invested heavily in agricultural data science.  The U.S. has pioneered methods to improve the interoperability of different data sets while also creating new ways to store and reference genetic and genomic information.  The U.S. will continue its commitment to make agriculture and nutrition data open and, in the next two years, will invest nearly $50 million to better provide open agriculturally relevant data; to improve the infrastructure for analyzing and using agriculturally relevant data; and to improve the interoperability of data that has already been made open and available to researchers globally.

More information can be found on the USDA REE website

Category/Topic: Technology

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