Availability of and access to good quality data play a tremendous role in research for development. This is especially true in knowledge-intensive development sectors, such as agriculture and nutrition.
Awareness and interest are growing among development partners - from governments to research institutions, academia, multilateral and bilateral organizations, development banks, foundations, civil society and NGOs - about the need to improve information management by opening up data. A number of key stakeholders have started making their own data repositories accessible and advocating and building capacities for others to do so.
The CIARD movement was founded in 2008 by a group of partners including FAO, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Consortium, the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), MEA, France and CABI. CIARD is a leader in opening access to agriculture-related knowledge and building capacities for this to happen at the largest scale possible.
The GODAN initiative followed in 2013, to address policy engagement and advocacy in the global debate on open data, and to expand the network of partner with a special focus on the private sector.
CIARD and GODAN organized their first joint consultation to address a number of issues on the way forward: should GODAN have a Secretariat for better leadership and advocacy? Should CIARD also joint and benefit from the creation of this public interface? What should such governance structure look like? Should it subsume CIARD, or have a dedicated space for CIARD?
A Scope Paper was put together to bring some draft propositions on the table, with an e-consultation running in parallel.
- The 3-day event took the form of a joint consultation, featuring plenary sessions, breakout groups and interest group meetings.
- The event was opened by an interest group meeting on "Open data in fisheries: marine resource governance, livelihoods and small-scale value chains" by the Caribbean Open Institute. The objective of the session was to assess existing interest towards open data in fisheries and in building related e-infrastructure; and to promote fisheries as an open data focal point within CIARD/GODAN in their new set up.
- A parallel interest group meeting was held by Pessl Instruments GmbH, on "How decision support systems based on open source technology can change the lives of millions of farmers".The session showed how innovative technology and intelligent Decision Support System (DSS) services will play a key role in sustainable agriculture in order to reduce risk and produce more with less input. Some relevant websites and data sets were mentioned as possible models to look at:
- Highlight from the session: it is important to give recognition to those who collect and extract data. However, too much focus on ownership can also turn efforts to the wrong direction...