Guest written by Valeria Pesce, GFAR
The Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD3) took place on 5-8 April 2016 in Johannesburg. GCARD3 is part of a continuing, iterative reform process, and builds on the previous two GCARDs, with the objective of identifying international research priorities and what’s needed to achieve future development goals, in particular for family farmers and poor communities.
The entire GCARD process including the final global event was led by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and the CGIAR, both GODAN partners, and the global event was put together with the support of the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa. Several GODAN partners were present, among which FAO, CTA, IFPRI, CIAT, CIMMYT, ILRI, CABI, World Bank, USAID, FARA, APAARI, CAAS, YPARD.
The GODAN flag at the conference was carried by GFAR, with Ajit Maru presenting in one of the sessions and Valeria Pesce reporting on the conference with a GODAN “angle” and talking to potential new partners.
In his opening speech, Mark Holderness, Executive Secretary of GFAR, highlighted GODAN among the key collective actions that have taken shape since GCARD2 along the lines of the GCARD Roadmap, which already in 2010 identified the “generation, access and effective use of agricultural knowledge in development” as one of the priority areas for international collaboration.
The conference was organized around parallel sessions on five themes and the objective was the identification of new collective actions for each theme (actions on which three or more partners, always including producers, agree to work together).
The topic of data came up especially in two of the themes: theme 2 “Scaling up: from research to impact” and theme 4 “Sustaining the business of farming”.
Under theme 2, a session was dedicated to measuring impact, with special reference to the SDGs and particularly SDG 2. A key issue for impact measurement is the identification of indicators and one of the problems that arose was the availability and reliability of the data on which indicators are built. Indicators and data are two closely tied components of impact assessment. And indeed one of the collective actions proposed in the final reporting session was collaboration on a platform to harmonize SDG impact indicators.
Under theme 4, Ajit Maru delivered a presentation on “Farmers, Market Participation and Open Data”. Introducing the topic of open data, he stressed that GFAR has always been a leading partner in global initiatives on open data for agriculture, from CIARD to GODAN, and he explained the focus of GODAN on high level advocacy for open data for agriculture and nutrition. Among the issues he raised in his presentation were especially issues of data ownership, which are highly complex in the case of farmers, who are at the same time producers and consumers of data.
For theme 4, one of the collective actions proposed in the final reporting session was the “development of evidence-based demand-driven data to influence policies and investment”.
In conclusion, at least two collective actions were identified in the conference that are relevant to the GODAN community:
• collaborating on a platform to harmonize SDG impact indicators;
• the development of evidence-based demand-driven data to influence policies and investment.
Of course all the GODAN partners are invited to get involved in these two actions. Until the actions are formalized, interested partners can write to the GFAR Secretariat at email@example.com in order to get in contact with the theme leaders and the partners who proposed the actions.