Skip to main content

Harnessing the Power of Global Open Data

Posted by Jaime Adams, Senior Advisor for International Affairs, Office of the Chief Scientist in Conservation Food and Nutrition Research and Science Technology
Oct 07, 2015

At the 70th United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly Meeting, the U.N. Member States agreed to a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals) to eradicate poverty and hunger, protect the planet, and create sustainable economic growth globally. High-quality statistics and data are critical to achieving these goals by enabling us to better target our actions, develop innovative solutions to these global challenges, and ensure prosperity for all. 

Recognizing the importance of this data, the Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data (Global Data Partnership) was launched on September 28.  This partnership envisions a world in which the power of timely, accurate, and high quality data leads to sustainable development -- leaving no one behind.  It envisions a world in which data is produced, organized, shared, and used in an environment of trust, inclusion, creativity, efficacy, and efficiency, a world where “the right data is available to the right people at the right time to make the right decisions for the right outcomes.”

This Global Data Partnership will potentially stimulate and sustain political commitment to develop and share data and strengthen the global data infrastructure, improving interoperability and strengthening capacities for producing and using data.  It will also seek to foster innovation and build trust in the booming data ecosystems of the 21st century. 

USDA is pleased to be an active founding member of the Global Data Partnership through the memberships of both the U.S. Government and the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative. In particular, it has been exciting to support the GODAN Initiative and to pave the way for coordinating global efforts to make agriculture and nutrition data open.  Now with over 135 partners, GODAN will play a lead role in the Global Data Partnership and plans to focus its efforts in support of Global Goal 2:  End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

The challenge of achieving this goal is immense, and the facts are sobering.  Simply put, in order to solve food security, we need to both increase the production of food globally and ensure that this food is reaching those who need it.  Better data will be critical to achieving both of these outcomes. As an example of how data is crucial to achieving this goal, consider this: one in three children, aged 5 years or younger, have not had their births registered and so do not exist officially.  How do you ensure food security for children that we don’t even know exist?  How do you solve a problem that is not quantifiable?  Now more than ever, we must to take the next step to make agriculturally and nutritionally relevant data available and open globally in support of achieving global goal 2 and of filling the bowls of 9 billion people by 2050.

Join the global effort to achieve the Global Goals by becoming a GODAN partner and by working to make agriculture and nutrition data available, accessible, and usable for decision-makers worldwide.  As a partner, you will have the opportunity participate, either in person or virtually, in a multi-continent Summit in 2016 that will focus on advancing the effort for global open data for agriculture and nutrition, including securing new data investments, filling critical data gaps, and connecting data to action.  Be part of the movement, and help us make the world more food secure for all.