Their goal is to increase public investment in agriculture, accelerate new investments and greater collaboration in agricultural research. This G-8 activity complements the ongoing activities of the Committee on World Food Security and other international organisations.
The conference held over the last two days is a direct result of a commitment made in 2012 by leaders of the G-8 to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. It is the next phase of realising the shared goal of global food security.
As part of that commitment, they agreed to share relevant agricultural data available from G-8 countries with African partners and convene an international conference on Open Data for Agriculture, to develop options for the establishment of a global platform to make reliable agricultural and related information available to African farmers, researchers and policymakers, taking into account existing agricultural data systems.
To assure further advancement of opening data globally, several countries have developed plans of action to make agricultural data streams available to users in Africa and world-wide.
The group announced the public release of those action plans. The implementation of these action plans is an important step in spurring innovation in the agricultural sector and ultimately supporting a sustainable increase in food security and the promotion of adequate nutrition around the world.
They encourage others to engage in the existing activities which complement this G-8 initiative. Among the action plans that have been publically released here today are several common implementation steps.
In particular, each of the entities will open existing government-funded data sets to the public while also supporting further research that will be made publicly available in accessible, machine-readable formats. Each will promote capacity building in developing countries, particularly Africa, with respect to improving the collection of rural statistics and the creation of an open data infrastructure.
This Washington meeting is an initial step in a long-term process. Numerous topics need to be worked further between G-8 members with partner countries, international organisations, civil society and private sector, such as interoperability of platforms, capacity building to improve access to data, data property, and data confidentiality.
To facilitate the emergence and accessibility of open data at large scale, the role of recognised international organisations, as "honest brokers", needs to be considered. These plans will continue to evolve to address these concerns, but with an end goal of democratising data in order to spur the creation of new and novel applications that can help feed the world.