Alliance Participates in Pioneering GODAN Open-Data Summit

September 28, 2016

Nathan Magrath, Alliance to End Hunger

On September 15 and 16, the Alliance to End Hunger participated in the GODAN Summit 2016, an historic gathering of world leaders, researchers, academics, the private sector, and NGOs seeking to accelerate the goal of universal food and nutrition security by making data and best practices open, usable and available to all.  The summit, held in New York City, came one week ahead of the United Nations General Assembly.  Nearly 800 participants came from more than 50 countries to share ideas and discuss these in a series of plenaries, side events, and other presentations.

The event culminated Friday afternoon in the GODAN High Level Forum, held in the UN’s ECOSOC Chamber where ministerial-level delegates, UN ambassadors and leaders from the five GODAN Visionary Partners (governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Kenya as well as the ONE Campaign and Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH)) put forward concrete next steps.

GODAN High Level Forum at the UN ECOSOC chamber (Photo: Perry Bindelglass, 2016)

GODAN High Level Forum at the UN ECOSOC chamber (Photo: Perry Bindelglass, 2016)

Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) is a worldwide movement bringing together countries, academic institutions, development organizations, companies, and others in the belief that making data more widely and easily available will help lead to a more sustainable, food-secure world through transparent policies and programs.  To date, the coalition boasts an impressive 371 partners around the world.  The initiative originally launched after a 2013 G8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture, and has since gained momentum to become the widely accepted platform it is today.  The Alliance to End Hunger joined GODAN earlier this year, after being briefed on the coalition by Alliance member Universities Fighting World Hunger, based through the Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn University.

Alliance Executive Director Rebecca Middleton joined a plenary panel discussion on September 16 to discuss the benefits open data can provide to global development and civil society’s advocacy efforts.  “[GODAN] is a real testament to the power of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG2 (ending hunger). We have a powerful unifying force here around which to combine our work towards ending hunger,” Middleton said during the panel.  She added that “open data gives us a boost in promoting advocacy around ending hunger in a world of countless competing interests.”

PUSH played a key role in organizing the Summit and shared a booth with the Alliance as one of more than 50 exhibitors.  PUSH is a global movement composed of university and college presidents from around the world who have signed a commitment to work collectively towards zero hunger campuses, communities and nations.  An action plan that is part of the commitment outlines actions in the four areas of Teaching, Research, Outreach and Student Engagement.

“It is so fitting that PUSH should become a key partner with GODAN in leveraging knowledge to solve hunger and malnutrition,” said Paula Gray Hunker, Operational Director of PUSH and Director of Strategy and Policy for Auburn University’s Hunger Solutions Institute, the governing organization behind the PUSH initiative. “Universities are the historic discoverers, analyzers and curators of data and knowledge. Working with GODAN and their many partners we can now be a major engine in disseminating that information to those who need it on the frontlines of hunger.”

Any organization that supports increased open data around agriculture and nutrition is encouraged to join the GODAN movement. Learn more about GODAN and how to get involved at www.GODAN.info. More information can be found about PUSH at www.pushtosign.org.

 

Paula Hunker and Auburn University’s Hunger Solutions Institute contributed to this story.