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United States

Promote Food Security and Data Sharing for Agriculture and Nutrition (US0096)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: United States Action Plan 2015-2017

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: NA

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Open Data

IRM Review

IRM Report: United States End-of-Term IRM Report 2015-2017, United States Mid-Term Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

The United States co-founded the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative in 2013 to
make agriculture and nutrition data available, accessible, and usable to address the urgent challenge of ensuring
world food security. In just two years, the Administration has helped expand that work to include more than 135
partners and a centralized secretariat. In 2016, the United States will help lead a GODAN Summit and co-chair a
working group focused on filling critical global nutrition data gaps.
The United States will also promote creation of a working group focused on improving data availability for, and global adoption of, precision agriculture
practices.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 44. Promote Food Security and Data Sharing for Agriculture and Nutrition

Commitment Text:

Promote Food Security and Data Sharing for Agriculture and Nutrition

The United States co-founded the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative in 2013 to make agriculture and nutrition data available, accessible, and usable to address the urgent challenge of ensuring world food security. In just two years, the Administration has helped expand that work to include more than 135 partners and a centralized secretariat. In 2016, the United States will help lead a GODAN Summit and co-chair a working group focused on filling critical global nutrition data gaps. The United States will also promote creation of a working group focused on improving data availability for, and global adoption of, precision agriculture practices.

Responsible Institutions: Department of State, Department of Agriculture (USDA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Supporting Institutions: Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) stakeholders

Start Date: Not Specified  End Date: Not Specified

Commitment Aim

This commitment aimed to have the United States host a summit of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative (GODAN),[1] co-chair a working group with the goal of filling gaps in global nutrition data, and promote the creation of another working group on data availability for, and the adoption of, precision agriculture.

Status

Midterm: Limited

At the midterm, the government had made limited progress on this commitment. Per the government’s midterm self-assessment report, in June 2016[2] the US Department of Agriculture established a GODAN working group focused on precision agriculture.[3] The GODAN summit and co-hosting of a nutrition data working group remained pending.

End of term: Complete

Progress on this commitment was complete at the end of term.

From 15-16 September 2016, the United States co-hosted the 2016 GODAN Summit in New York City with a thematic focus on agriculture and global nutrition data; co-hosts included the governments of the United Kingdom and Kenya, as well as the One Campaign and Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH), a coalition of 90 universities.[4] The summit was held parallel to the 2016 meetings of the UN General Assembly and was both open to the public and live-streamed online to facilitate remote participation. Nearly 800 people attended the summit, including government officials, researchers, students, and civil society organizations, making the summit the “largest event ever planned for open data in agriculture and nutrition.”[5] In addition to 34 presentations by high-level speakers and 12 breakout sessions, the summit also included an “exhibitors’ showcase” to highlight applications of open agricultural and nutrition data, as well as a 24-hour Open Data Makers’ Hackathon focused on using open data to improve food systems; the showcase included over 40 exhibitors, while 34 people participated in the Hackathon.[6] Video recordings of the summit’s plenary and breakout sessions are available on GODAN’s YouTube page.[7]

As part of the summit, GODAN and Global Citizen co-sponsored an online petition calling upon governments, the private sector and civil society, “to provide open data on agriculture and nutrition as a major tool to end world hunger”; the petition received over 20,000 signatures by the end of the summit.[8] GODAN also released four reports during the summit, covering various topics at the intersection of data, agriculture, and nutrition, and announced the creation of several new working groups.[9]

According to the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the working groups on precision agriculture and nutrition (described in the commitment text) were established prior to the summit to facilitate sessions on their respective topics during the summit. During these sessions, presenters announced various open data deliverables based on the work of the working groups.[10] According to the USDA,[11] the deliverables announced included the launch of a new online USDA database with nutrition details for more than 80,000 foods and an update to the Global Agricultural Concept Scheme (a thesaurus of more than 350,000 terms in 28 languages with common terminology for agriculture and nutrition data).[12] As noted in the summit’s Executive Report, both working groups officially concluded their work at the summit.[13]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

Civic Participation: Marginal

The commitment marginally opened government with respect to access to information and civic participation. On the one hand, the summit organized under this commitment facilitated greater access to information on global agriculture and nutrition data, and was attended by a large number of individuals from government and civil society, providing meaningful opportunities for civic engagement on this topic. According to the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the participants included world leaders, researchers, farmers, students, and international media, among others, highlighting the diversity of stakeholders who attended.

On the other hand, the commitment revolved around the hosting of a single event, as opposed to the development of a new, ongoing, and institutionalized channel of sharing information and engaging with the public. While the GODAN summit was designed to catalyze policy actions during years 3-5 of the GODAN initiative,[14] the commitment text was limited to the summit itself.

Despite the limited scope of the commitment, the summit did have notable follow-up activities. For one, a GODAN conference held in Nairobi in June 2017 was the direct result of a commitment made by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture at the 2016 summit. The June 2017 conference also led to further commitments to open agriculture and nutrition data, and led to the creation of an African Intergovernmental Network on Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition.[15] In addition, the USDA pointed to GODAN’s newly formed partnerships since the summit, such as that with the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA),[16] as well as the co-sponsorship of a G20 Workshop on Linked Open Data for Agriculture with other partners.[17] Still, these outcomes are not directly tied to the 2016 summit and go well beyond the scope of the commitment text.

In written comments provided to the IRM researcher, Senior Program Officer Stanley Wood at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation described at least one concrete follow-up initiative that arose from the GODAN Summit, specifically a joint agreement by USAID, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to “commission a joint GODAN/ODI [(Overseas Development Institute)] study to formally review and compare the Open Data policies of the three donors, as well as undertake a ‘deep dive’ into documenting the actual open data practices of five initiatives that are jointly funded by at least two of the three [donor organizations].”[18] The study was formally launched at a meeting held at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in October 2017, after the close of the action plan.[19] While Wood’s comments suggest that additional follow-up initiatives were underway, the lack of more substantial progress during the evaluation period mitigates against a further opening of government.

Carried Forward?

At the time of writing, the US government had not published its fourth national action plan, so it is unclear if this commitment will be carried forward. The United States should nevertheless continue to support GODAN’s work by contributing to its working groups and supporting any subsequent summits. Building on past contributions to GODAN[20] and leveraging its role as a member of the GODAN Donor Steering Committee, the US government could better institutionalize the disclosure of agriculture and nutrition data to go beyond the planned five years of the GODAN initiative. If this topic is indeed included as part of a future OGP commitment, it is important to specify clear expected changes in government practice relating to nutritional and agricultural data that go further than the hosting of an event and the establishment of working groups.

 

[1] See Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition. “About GODAN.” http://www.godan.info/about. Consulted 2 July 2017.

[2] Open Government Partnership. “United States of America Midterm Self-Assessment Report for the Open Government Partnership: Third Open Government National Action Plan, 2015–2017,” pp.45-46. September 2016. https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/USA_NAP3_self-assessment-report_20160916.pdf. Consulted 2 October 2017.

[3] The GODAN website lists a number of working groups, but does not specify their dates of establishment. See Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition. “Working Groups.” http://www.godan.info/working-groups-list. Consulted 2 July 2017.

[4] 2016 GODAN Summit. “Homepage.” http://www.godan.info/pages/godan-summit-2016. Consulted 24 September 2017. For the number of attendants, see 2016 GODAN Summit. “Press Release.” http://www.godan.info/sites/default/files/old/2016/09/GODAN-Summit-2016-Event-Release-.pdf. Consulted 24 September 2017. For the list of co-hosts, see 2016 Godan Summit. “Executive Report.” http://www.godan.info/sites/default/files/files/GODAN_Summit_2016_Executive_Report_04_lowres.pdf. Consulted 24 September 2017.

[5] 2016 GODAN Summit Website. “Homepage.” http://www.godan.info/pages/godan-summit-2016. Consulted 24 September 2017. See also Godan Summit. “Executive Report.” http://www.godan.info/sites/default/files/files/GODAN_Summit_2016_Executive_Report_04_lowres.pdf. Consulted 24 September 2017.

[6] 2016 GODAN Summit Website. “Homepage.” http://www.godan.info/pages/godan-summit-2016. Consulted 24 September 2017. For the number of presentations and breakout sessions, see Godan Summit. “Executive Report.” http://www.godan.info/sites/default/files/files/GODAN_Summit_2016_Executive_Report_04_lowres.pdf. Consulted 24 September 2017. Per this same source, breakout sessions focused on the following topics: data rights, funding mechanisms, precision agriculture, SDG2, the agricultural package of the open data charter, nutrition, open data in Africa, and a research symposium. For the number of exhibitors, see 2016 GODAN Summit. “Press Release.” http://www.godan.info/sites/default/files/old/2016/09/GODAN-Summit-2016-Event-Release-.pdf. Consulted 24 September 2017.

[7] Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition “GODAN Secretariat”. YouTube Page. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCscOzc843ZSJ5BCiTHAM1Zg/search?query=summit. Consulted 24 September 2017.

[8] Godan Summit. “Executive Report.” http://www.godan.info/sites/default/files/files/GODAN_Summit_2016_Executive_Report_04_lowres.pdf. Consulted 24 September 2017.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Godan Secretariat YouTube Channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCscOzc843ZSJ5BCiTHAM1Zg/search?query=summit, consulted 7 May 2018.

[11] The IRM received this information from the Department of Agriculture in a comment during the pre-publication review of this report. The comment was received via e-mail on 30 April 2018.

[12] “USDA Announces New Open Data Partnership for Public Health,” US Department of Agriculture, 16 September 2016, https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2016/09/16/usda-announces-new-open-data-partnership-public-health, consulted 7 May 2018.

[13] Godan Summit. “Executive Report.” http://www.godan.info/sites/default/files/files/GODAN_Summit_2016_Executive_Report_04_lowres.pdf. Consulted 24 September 2017.

[14] “Inception Report,” GODAN, July-October 2015, http://www.godan.info/sites/default/files/old/2016/01/0.0-Core-inception-report_revised-US.pdf, consulted 7 May 2018.

[15] Suchith Anand, “Statement of the Ministers for Agriculture at the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition Data (GODAN) Conference and the 4th Agritec Africa Exhibition,” 30 June 2017, https://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2017/06/statement-of-the-ministers-for-agriculture-at-the-global-open-data-for-agriculture-and-nutrition-data-godan-conference-and-the-4th-agritec-africa-exhibition/, consulted 7 May 2018.

[16] “Welcoming Our New Partner – Godan,” Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, 11 November 2016, https://globalresearchalliance.org/n/new-partners-for-the-gra-2/, consulted 7 May 2018.

[17] “Linked Open Data in Agriculture,” German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture, 27-28 September 2017, https://www.macs-g20.org/fileadmin/macs/Annual_Meetings/2017_Germany/Linked_Open_Data_in_Agriculture_Announcement.pdf, consulted 7 May 2018.

[18] Written comments provided to the IRM Researcher by Stanley Wood. 24 October 2017.

[19] “Donor Open Data Policy and Practice: An Analysis of Five Agricultural Programmes,” Global Open Data for Agriculture & Nutrition (GODAN), August 2017, http://www.godan.info/sites/default/files/documents/GODAN_Donor_Open_Data_Report_lowres_16OCT2017.pdf, consulted 7 May 2018.

[20] Catherine Woteki, “Financing for Development Conference Boosts Support for Open Data,” US Department of Agriculture, 15 July 2015, https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2015/07/15/financing-development-conference-boosts-support-open-data#sthash.RCoDAGYX.dpuf, consulted 7 May 2018.


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