GODAN’s Highlights at COP21

GODAN’s Highlights at COP21

The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative attended the high-profile twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) climate change conference in Paris, France from the 30th of November until the 6th of December, 2015.

GODAN joined its partners The Government of Kenya, Transversal and others to speak and attend at several agriculture-themed events and the role of open data in mitigation and adaptation to climate change.


The high-profile COP21 event attracted nearly 50,000 participants in total with 25,000 officials from governments, NGOs, UN agencies and civil society groups committed to attending.

COP21 has been a widely publicized event because for the first time in over 20 years in UN negotiations, officials will aim to end the conference with a legally binding and universal agreement on climate which is hoped will set the parameter to keep global warming below 2°C.

At COP21, GODAN focused on achieving to increase awareness of its initiative and open data as a way to address challenges related to climate change, food security and agriculture.

Photo Highlights from COP21

GODAN Strategic Communications Advisor Diana Szpotowicz spent a week at COP21, learning how the climate change world is willing to incorporate agriculture into its agenda, and meeting a variety of new organizations, companies and governments and introduced them to the GODAN initiative, resulting in several new partnerships, which will be announced soon.

This highlight reel gives a behind the scenes glimpse of the action at the main Le Bourget venue in Paris, as well as at the inaugural Climate Law and Governance Day at La Sorbonne.


Photo credits: Diana Szpotowicz, GODAN


Tackling climate change through data and community-based adaptation: pioneering climate legislation and data policy in Kenya


L-R: Jonah D. O. Osore, Director, Research and Policy, Office of the Deputy President, Kenya; Cosmas M. O. Ochieng, Executive Director, African Centre for Technology Studies; Martin Parr, Programme Manager, GODAN

  • Organizers: The African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), Government of Kenya (GOK), and Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN)
  • Abstract: The Kenya Climate Change Bill is currently before the Kenyan Parliament, and represents landmark legislation in Africa aiming to combat climate change through using climate data and focusing on community-level action. This side event brought together Kenyan government leaders, researchers, and civil society members to discuss the highly consultative process that helped form the bill and the specific aims and targets of the bill.
  • GODAN’s Martin Parr presented the importance on how open data can be a key tool on mitigation and adaptation, with specific reference to innovative initiatives by the Kenyan government.

Martin’s highlight’s from the event:

There was a good quality of debate. We had useful conversations about how we can open up weather data for farmers. I thought COP21 was a great opportunity to network; there aren’t so many meetings where you can get so many influential people – from governments to NGOs to civil society, together.



Francois Houllier, President & CEO of INRA

Meeting with GODAN partner, INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research)

  • The GODAN team, lead by Executive Director Andre Laperriere, held a successful meeting with Francois Houllier, President & CEO of INRA at the research institute’s headquarters

Andre’s highlights from the event:

We tried to identify specific areas where the GODAN partnership could make a difference in INRA’s field of activities. INRA is one of the largest and most respected research organizations in the Francophone world, with a special focus on agriculture, which is of direct importance of GODAN. They are totally committed to knowledge sharing and open data.

I think INRA has developed specific knowledge, techniques, and approaches that can greatly benefit other research institutions, the private sector and developing countries. I look forward to knowledge exchange with our partners happening under the GODAN initiative.  


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GODAN Executive Director Andre Laperriere explains open data to students, researchers and experts at a roundtable session during the inaugural Climate Law and Governance Day at la Sorbonne, COP21

Inaugural Climate Law and Governance Day 2015

  • The GODAN team attended the welcome remarks and opening plenary of this event. Keynote Speaker Rt Hon Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and climate justice pioneer, gave a very eloquent and lively talk on securing climate justice and human rights.
  • Keynote speaker Dr. Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) addressed environmental protection as related to climate change.
  • GODAN Executive Director Andre Laperriere spoke at a roundtable event later in the day on ‘promoting metropolitan governance for low-carbon food security. Laperriere introduced the idea of open data to answer questions such as:

what innovative measures and governance mechanisms, in metropolitan contexts, can promote more nutritious food systems, reduce rural poverty and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions? How can policy, legal and institutional reforms promote healthier and more sustainable habitats for urban and rural communities?

Andre’s highlights from this event:

What was interesting was the triangular link between law, policies and innovation, in particular in the areas of agriculture and nutrition. I saw the motivating factor in activating the triangle is very much related to climate change. I believe it is in the best interests of the GODAN network to link up with high level institutions in the academic world because their generation of knowledge can only strengthen our network.

Global Panel on Climate Smart Food Systems for Enhanced Nutrition


DFID Secretary of State, Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, talks about smart agriculture and nutrition at COP21 – photo credit Andre Laperrierre

  • This event focused on developing a global approach for using open data to mitigate climate change and improve resilience
  • Event participants drew on existing national climate initiatives to identify the most important datasets that are needed to address climate change; and
  • Use national models to set priorities for climate data on a global level and identify how to make it more accessible and usable
  • Begin to outline a climate change open data package for guiding global use of open climate data to be developed as part of the implementation of the International Open Data Charter — a global effort to establish increased coherence and collaboration among worldwide open data programs

Andre’s highlights from the event:

The event was a nice surprise. The presentations were very high-level. Rt Hon Justine Greening was very supportive and said that open data is important for achieving real impact. This emphasis on impact made the whole conversation that much more interesting. I also happened to be sitting next to Rhoda Peace, the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union. We discussed about the best ways for GODAN to contribute to agriculture in Africa and the role that the African Union has to sensitizing governments in that regards.


ÉTALAB’s Chargée de mission Claire-Marie Foulquier-Gazagnes speaks at the Mexico-France roundtable event

Climate Open Data Roundtable

  • organized by Government of Mexico, Government of France, Centre for Open Data Enterprise
  • representatives of presidency of Mexico and France among other senior officials

Andre’s highlights from this event:

Beyond strengthening our relationship with the Mexican government and expanding our avenues of collaboration with the French government, it was a chance to establish partnerships with leaders in academia and open data.

You can follow all of GODAN’s participation at future events by following on Twitter at @godanSec