H.E. Mr. Willy Bett, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya and The Honorable Thomas Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, USDA

2016 GODAN Summit to End World Hunger Held on the Margins of the UN General Assembly

New York, NY, September 15-16, 2016:  The 2016 GODAN Summit was held at the New York Hilton Midtown on September 15-16. This first-ever Summit was hosted by the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Kenya, ONE Campaign and PUSH (Presidents United to Solve Hunger).  GODAN Partner, the Global Partnerships Forum was honored to be the Summit Coordinator.

The Summit brought together world leaders, researchers, farmers, students and others – public, private and non-profit – united around a collaboration on agriculture and nutrition data openness. The goals of the Summit were to illustrate the opening, the use, and the importance of agriculture and nutrition data. 

As part of its effort to engage global leaders, the Closing Plenary took place at the United Nations as the GODAN High-Level Forum, which included presentations by Ministers, leaders from business and civil society, and senior officials from the UN System.  The Forum was webcast live from the United Nations.

One in every nine people struggle with debilitating hunger; this GODAN Summit attempted to change that. The 2016 GODAN Summit brought over 700 attendees from various public and private organizations to unite around a collaboration on agriculture and nutrition data.

The Summit was organized under the leadership of Mr. André Laperrière, Executive Director, of the GODAN Secretariat and Ms. Jaime Adams, Senior Advisor for International Affairs at the USDA, as well as representatives from the other partner organizations, including Mr. Casper Sitemba, Senior Director at the Office of the Deputy President of Kenya; Mr. Sebastian Mhatre, from the UK Department for International Development; and Dr. Paula Hunker, Director of Strategy & Policy, Hunger Solutions Institute, and Operational Director for Presidents United to Solve Hunger, at Auburn University.

The Summit was honored to host a number of inspiring speakers from across sectors.  Below is a selection:

Government: H.E. Willy Bett, Cabinet Secretary of the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture; Mr. Hans-Cristoph Eiden, President of the BLE, Germany; Ms. Catherine Brown, Chief Executive, UK Food Standards Agency; Professor Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Adviser, UK DEFRA; Ms. Rachel Lambert, Department for International Development in the UK; Ms. Nancy Stetson, U.S. Special Representative for Global Food Security, U.S. State Department; and the Honorable Thomas Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

United Nations: Dr. David Nabarro, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the UN; Professor Jeffery Sachs, Senior Advisor to the United Nations; Mr. Amir Abdulla, Deputy Executive Director, World Food Programme; Mr. Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs at UN DESA

Academia and Civil Society: Dr. Ann Aerts, Head of the Novartis Foundation; Ms. Kerry Kennedy, President of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Foundation; Mr. Trevor Nichols, CEO of CABI; Mr. John Rossant, Founder and Chairman of the New Cities Foundation; Mr. Prasanta Kalita, Associate Dean at the University of Illinois; Mr. Sumair Sayani, Vice-President of the Demand Institute/Project 8; Ms. Judith Rowland, Head of US Policy and Advocacy at Global Citizen;  Dr. Mark Keenum, Chair, PUSH Steering Committee; Dr. Brady Deaton, Chancellor Emeritus and Executive Director, Deaton, University of Missouri; and Ms. Kathryn Van Waes, Policy Director, ONE

Private Sector: Mr. Stephan Tanda, Board Member of the Royal DSM; Mr. Sanjeev Krishnan, Managing Director of S2G Ventures; Mr. Derrick Easton, Managing Director, Alternative Risk Transfer Solu at Wilson Towers Watson; Mr. Dexter Paine, CEO, Paine+Partners

Media Partner: The GODAN Summit benefited from the engagement and support of Sterling Media under the leadership of Ms. Natasha Mudhar.  Ms. Mudhar and her team were instrumental in spreading a global message to ensure the success of the Summit.

The President and CEO of the Global Partnerships Forum, Amir Dossal, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the Summit.

The Summit hosted Plenary sessions on both days.  The full programme can be found here.  During the day, there were “breakout sessions” where participants chose more specific seminars led by experts in that field. By breaking down the large group, attendees were able to participate in specialized discussions of their choosing, applicable to their work.  Moreover, the breakout sessions served as a platform for the participants to collaborate and interact on their vision, creating partnership opportunities in the future.  

The sessions spanned a range of topics - the use of open data in Africa, the importance of open data for achieving SDG2, the work of organizations utilizing open data and the actions needed to continue the momentum in this sector. An overview of the breakout sessions is below. You can read about each session by clicking on this link.

Thursday, September 15: 

  1. Connecting a Continent: Open Data for Africa
  2. Effective Open Data: User-centered, Joined-up and Interoperable
  3. Using Data to Improve Nutrition Policy, Programming, Accountability
  4. Open Data Soapbox: Let your Ideas Be Heard and Network with Colleagues!
  5. Precision Agriculture: How Could Open Data Revolutionize Farm Productivity
  6. Workshop – Setting Priorities: the Most Important Open Data for Agriculture

Friday, September 16:

  1. Agricultural Data as Public Good for Africa’s Prosperity
  2. Open Data Revolution:Pipe Dream or Global Solution
  3. Open Data: from Release to Impact
  4. Communicating Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition
  5. Research Symposium: Open Research Data Going Forward
  6. SDG2 Accountability Framework:for a World without Hunger

Meanwhile, young software and agricultural innovators participated in a 24-hour Hackathon, in which individuals under 26 years old were tasked with creating a practical solution to the question: How might we allow for better utilization, collection, and/or accessibility to open data such that we can improve our food system and our chances at food security?

The GODAN Summit in collaboration with Global Citizen, launched a petition calling on governments, business, and civil society to provide open data on agriculture and nutrition to end world hunger. To sign the petition, click here.

About GODAN:  

Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition, is a platform that encourages the sharing of open data to make information about agriculture and nutrition available, accessible and usable to deal with the urgent challenge of ensuring world food security. The initiative, a result of the 2012 G-8 Summit, focuses on building support among governments, policymakers, international organizations and business. Through collaboration, GODAN uses new technology to help farmers and the health of consumers around the world.

About the Global Partnerships Forum:

The Global Partnerships Forum is a unique not-for-profit knowledge platform, providing changemakers with the tools to build innovative partnerships.  It convenes thought leaders and practitioners from across sectors to address challenges around the world and foster economic growth.  Working to support the goals and objectives of the United Nations, the GPF aspires to move the needle from aid to investment—using the power of partnerships—to accelerate achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

To view photos of the event, please visit:

To view videos from the Hilton, please visit GODAN Secretariat YouTube:

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