The Department of State is supporting open data initiatives to work to end world hunger, such as Feed the Future and Project 8.

“We have seen an increased emphasis on technology as a critical component of the global effort to end hunger,” said Julia Duncan and Robert Domaingue, officials who serve in the Office of Global Food Security at the U.S. Department of State.

Feed the Future is a Federal initiative that uses open data and technology to encourage food-insecure families to find a pathway in which they can prosper. In Fiscal Year 2015, Feed the Future helped more than 9 million farmers get access to resources like high-yielding seeds, fertilizer application tools, and better soil conservation and water management methods.

Project 8, led by the Demand Institute, is a cloud-based platform where people can share and discuss open data from the World Food Program (WFP), The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

“Project 8 is an exciting opportunity to bring together existing open data for governments, practitioners and NGOs to help us all make a more comprehensive analysis of evolving human needs,” said Duncan and Domaingue.

The United States is a founding member of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) network, which has 354 partners that seek to make agriculture and nutrition data available and accessible for anyone to use. The group focuses on creating policy and partnerships between the public and private sectors to support open data without duplicating resources that are already available.

“It is clear that open data can promote sustainable development by improving the access to information that leads to economic opportunities for the hungry,” said Duncan and Domaingue. “Evidence also demonstrates that open data allows for greater innovation and better decision making.”

The State Department said that these open data initiatives will also contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Strategy, which works to ends poverty and protect the environment by 2030.

“Open access to research and the publication of data can help identify where food insecurity and nutritional challenges exist,” said Duncan and Domaingue.

The State Department said open data will help researchers and advocates to understand the challenge of world hunger in a more comprehensive way.

“As we continue to work with our partners around the world toward solutions to help #endhunger, increasing open data on food security, nutrition, and agriculture will be critical to our ability to set goals, generate plans, and measure our collective progress,” said Duncan and Domaingue.

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Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Federal IT and K-12 Education.