The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative Launch
The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative is a voluntary association brought together around a shared purpose. The initiative will be officially announced at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) conference in London on October 31. The GODAN initiative seeks to support global efforts to make agricultural and nutritionally relevant data available, accessible, and usable for unrestricted use worldwide. The initiative focuses on building high-level policy and public and private institutional support for open data.
The initiative encourages collaboration and cooperation among existing agriculture and open data activities, without duplication, and brings together all stakeholders to solve long-standing global problems.  The 2012 G-8 discussions have emphasized that opening up access to data is important both for combating food insecurity and under-nutrition today, as well as laying the groundwork for a sustainable agricultural system in the future.  

In line with global movements for open data and open access, the GODAN initiative seeks to:

• advocate for open data and open access policies by default, in both public and private sectors, whilst respecting and working to balance openness with legitimate concerns in relation to privacy, security, community rights and commercial interests;
• advocate for the release and re-usability of data in support of Innovation and Economic Growth, Improved Service Delivery and Effective Governance, and Improved Environmental and Social Outcomes;

With a focus on open data for agriculture and nutrition, the GODAN initiative seeks to:

• advocate for new and existing open data initiatives to set a core focus on agriculture and nutrition data;
• encourage the agreement on and release of a common set of agricultural and nutrition data;
• by increasing widespread awareness of ongoing activities, innovations, and good practices;
• advocate for collaborative efforts on future agriculture and nutrition open data endeavors; and,
• advocate programs, good practices, and lessons learned that enable the use of open data particularly by and for the rural and urban poor.

GODAN is open to public and private entities including donors, international organizations and businesses. Thirty-five partners have signed on to the GODAN Statement of Purpose  as of October 28. GFAR has led and supported the opening of access to agricultural data, information and knowledge since it was first founded and GFAR and CIARD are founding partners in the GODAN initiative.

Open Data is a powerful tool for long-term sustainable development by improving the economic opportunities for farmers and the health of all consumers. Open access to research, and open publication of data, are vital resources for food security and nutrition, driven by farmers, farmer organizations, researchers, extension experts, policy makers, governments, and other private sector and civil society stakeholders participating in ‘innovation systems’ and along value chains. Lack of institutional, national, and international policies and openness of data limits the effectiveness of agricultural and nutritional data from research and innovation. 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.

GFAR has also been one of the drivers behind establishing the CIARD movement, which brings together organizations and people who want to make the outputs of agricultural research more accessible. GFAR manages the CIARD.RING, a global registry of web-based services that will give open access to any kind of information sources pertaining to agricultural research for development. The GODAN initiative brings valuable support to GFAR and CIARD in their actions to bring open access to agricultural data and information, with its focus on building high-level policy and public and private institutional support for open data.

Photo credit: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano