16 September 2016 – The GODAN Summit took place in New York on 15-16 September, the largest event ever planned for open data in agriculture and nutrition. It brought together key stakeholders from around the world to consider how open data can help achieve Zero Hunger – one of the key Sustainable Development Goals (SDG2).

GODAN – the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition initiative – has more than 350 global partners, including CABI, which hosts the initiative’s international secretariat. Speaking at the opening session of the Summit, CABI CEO, Dr Trevor Nicholls, called for action. “As a GODAN partner and donor we know the importance of building core GODAN principles into what we do as well as what we say. We cannot remain still. Innovation is essential.”

Dr Nicholls set out CABI’s four open data commitments. Firstly, to advocate for increased openness of data and information to help the world lose less of what it grows. “It is a shocking fact that on average 40 per cent of crop yields are lost due to pests, diseases and invasive species, pre- and post-harvest worldwide. For every percentage point reduction we can make in these losses, we can feed another 25 million people,” said Dr Nicholls.

Trevor at the 2016 GODAN summit, New York

He also committed to improving the management of CABI’s scientific data, as well as increasing the openness of the data CABI holds by enhancing its technical capacity. Finally, he detailed how CABI will collaborate with organisations like the USDA to create a Global Agricultural Concept Scheme. This scheme will link agricultural descriptive frameworks to build an open data resource, based on CAB Thesaurus.

In his presentation, Dr Nicholls drew attention to two of CABI’s innovative programmes – Plantwise and the Invasive Species Programme – both of which help smallholder farmers improve their livelihoods and food security. The plant health data gathered at the 1,800 Plantwise plant clinics that take place around the world give unparalleled early insights into the emergence and spread of crop pests on the ground. On Invasive species, CABI has collaborated to develop the Invasive Species Compendium – the world’s largest open access compilation of scientific information about invasive pests. By the end of 2016, CABI will make this a unique open data resource.

CABI has been a long-term advocate of open data, and supporter of the GODAN initiative. Dr Nicholls said, “We applaud GODAN’s efforts to advocate for open data and open access policies as the default approach across public and private sectors.”

GODAN summit illustrative cartoon about Trevors' speech

Image: summary of Dr. Trevor Nicholls presentation by drawnalism

Read more about the GODAN summit on the BBC News page.

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