Saturday, September 17, 2016

Seeing the progress of GODAN through the years

It has been more than two years since the joint CIARD-GODAN consultation meeting took place at the FAO HQ in Rome, Italy. I had the opportunity not only to attend but to actively participate in the meeting, sharing my thoughts on the way that communication should take place both internally (referring between the GODAN Secretariat and GODAN members) and externally (referring to the communication of the GODAN outcomes to external stakeholders). Things were a bit abstract back then and started formulating over the next moths.

Several months later, I also had the opportunity to contribute (as a co-author) to one of GODAN's milestone publications (jointly prepared with the Open Data Institute team with contributions from other stakeholders, too) titled: "How can we improve agriculture, food and nutrition with Open Data?". The specific publication has been widely discussed and referenced since then and was also presented during the International Open Data Conference 2015by Dr. Cathie Woteki (Under Secretary for United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area and the Department's Chief Scientist,, too) and Liz Carolan (ODI) - the person coordinating the authoring of the publication along with Fiona Smith (also ODI). The publication highlights the role of open data in addressing food security at a global level, presenting a number of use cases where open data made the difference in the agrifood sector.

And this brings us to 2016, at the GODAN Summit 2016, and while in the meantime a number of GODAN-related events have taken place both at internal (addressing only GODAN partners) and public level (engaging all stakeholders).

The GODAN Summit 2016 took place some days ago - a global event attended various types of stakeholders from all over the world, including policy makers and representatives from governments, open data initiative leaders, NGOs, global private organizations opening up their data, open data evangelists, etc. - you know who you are & who were there :-)

There were companies exhibiting their open data-powered products and services, networking taking place, journalists and media making the most out of the conversations taking place. But most importantly, there was the will to connect all the open data initiative in the agriculture, food and nutrition sector and provide them with the tools to enhance interoperability. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to watch closely the outcomes of the Summit despite the fact that there was a live streaming and an extremely active Twitter stream (check out the #GODANSummit2016 hashtag), based on which a lovely Storify stream was built.

A lot of things have changed since GODAN's first era; referring to people involved in the Secretariat, affiliations of people involved as members or advocates (including me) and others; what remains the same (and in fact keeps getting even better) is the will and coordination of both various types of organizations & policy makers and the corresponding activities towards the facilitation of all steps in the process - ranging from opening up data to finding innovative ways to exploit them for the common good which is addressing food security at a global level.

I only feel privileged to have been a part of GODAN since its first steps and had the opportunity to contribute to its progress to the extend possible (from my side). I feel excited to see it growing day by day and meeting its short- and long term goals, one step at a time. I will keep watching closely its activities and progress and I strongly recommend that everyone involved in open data in the agrifood sector does the same.

<div class="storify"><iframe src="//" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//"></script><noscript>[<a href="//" target="_blank">View the story "Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition Summit" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div>

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