Towards Responsible Collective Action

Partnerships for responsible collective action

CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture

The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture (Platform) harnesses the capabilities of ‘Big Data’ to accelerate and enhance the impact of international agricultural research for smallholder farmers.

Operating for an initial period of 2017 – 2021, the Platform provides global leadership for CGIAR on Big Data, focusing on three key pillars:


Organizing open data



Convening partners to develop innovative ideas



Demonstrating the power of big data analytics through inspiring project


As part of CONVENE, the Platform supports CGIAR Centers in pursuing ambitious partnerships focused on digital transformation and extending the reach of CGIAR researchers to collaborate with a wide range of partners across the AgriFood ecosystem. The Platform also brokers pan-CGIAR partnerships and access to products and services which leverage CGIAR’s economies of scale.

Motivation for Collective Action

The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by UN members set ambitious objectives for creating a more sustainable world. Organizations such as CGIAR which undertake impact-driven Agricultural Research for Development (AgR4D) are well placed to contribute to the SDGs by providing an innovation pipeline focusing on sustainable agriculture, food security and improved nutrition. Such organizations, however, often struggle to sufficiently scale their AgR4D innovations to reach smallholder farmers, cooperatives and SMEs in emerging markets.

Barriers to scaling are a common constraint in addressing global development challenges. This is reflected in SDG 17 ‘Partnerships for the Goals’ which acknowledges the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, in achieving development outcomes at scale.

Principles for Collective Action in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security 

To foster a more enabling environment for multi-stakeholder partnerships in agriculture, the Platform in collaboration with One Planet Solutions have developed high-level Principles for Collective Action in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security (Principles for Collective Action) which are summarised below.

These have been designed, in particular, to facilitate engagement with the private sector and to leverage market channels for scaling.

Principles for collective action

Maximize Impact

Maximize sustainability and impact through a shared vision, clear objectives, a roadmap for scaling and measurable indicators for success

Align Interests

Align interests and expectations by balancing pre-competitive & pro-commercial priorities

Use Data Responsibly

Empower or safeguard data providers through responsible data practices

Bio-innovate and share

Use biodiversity and traditional knowledge responsibly in innovation

Be Transparent and Inclusive

Communicate early and often to build trust, and listen to stakeholders

Call for Collective Action and AgData Alliance

These Principles for Collective Action are intended to facilitate responsible collaboration between organizations undertaking AgR4D and organizations involved in the co-development and scaling or commercialization of AgR4D innovations.

They will underpin a “call for collective action” in which the Platform calls on industry to harness synergies and strengthen collective action with CGIAR to help transform sustainable agriculture, food security and improved nutrition in the 10 years remaining of the SDGs.

This call will be issued as part of the CGIAR Digital Strategy, to be announced early in 2020. The strategy will include an ‘AgData Alliance’ initiative, coordinated by the Platform as a trusted broker, which will facilitate responsible access, transfer and use of agricultural research data and smallholder farmer data to a broad range of stakeholders, including the private sector.

The Principles for Collective Action will be used in the design and implementation of the alliance and the digital strategy overall. Pursuant to the “call for collective action” industry partners will be invited to express their interest in the Alliance and their commitment to the Principles, as per the template letter.

Tell us about your interest in supporting the Principles for Collective Action for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security and joining the AgData Alliance!

Partnership opportunities

The Big Data in Agriculture Convention

Get in touch about opportunities for our 2020 event.

The Inspire Challenge

Get in touch about opportunities for our 2020 Inspire Challenge.

Current Partners

The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture iglobal. It connects experts all over the world to tackle stubborn agricultural challenges across the developing world, from Africa and Asia to Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The 15 CGIAR Research Centers and 12 Research Programs are partners in the Platform, alongside 70 external thought partners ranging international institutions, universities to private companies. They cover public to private, developing to developed countries, and analytics to ICT deployment.

Arizona State University
Berkeley Lab
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Columbia University
Conservation International
Data Pop Alliance
First Mile Geo / Native