2020 Virtual United Nations World Data Forum: Session on use of semantics in food & agriculture

As part of the 2020 Virtual United Nations World Data Forum, which took place from 19 to 21 October,  the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) presented a session entitled: “Use of semantics applied to food and agricultural data innovation systems as a key step to achieving the SDGs.” 

The session is available to watch directly online here. Please note, interested viewers need to have registered for the event. Registration is free. 

The UN World Data Forum brings together data and statistical experts and users from governments, civil society, the private sector, donor and philanthropic bodies, international and regional agencies, the geospatial community, the media, academia and professional bodies. Data experts and users gather to spur data innovation, mobilize high-level political and financial support for data, and build a pathway to better data for sustainable development. 

The High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for Statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (HLG-PCCB) leads the organization of the UN World Data Forum, under the guidance of the United Nations Statistical Commission and in close consultation with Member States, international partners and other stakeholders. The Statistics Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs supports the organization of the Forum in its role as Secretariat of the Commission and the HLG-PCCB.

The first United Nations World Data Forum was hosted from 15 to 18 January 2017 by Statistics South Africa in Cape Town, South Africa. The second UN World Data Forum was hosted by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority of the United Arab Emirates from 22 to 24 October 2018 in Dubai. A Virtual UN World Data Forum was held on 19–21 October 2020. The third UN World Data Forum will be hosted by the Federal Statistical Office of Switzerland from 3 to 6 October 2021 in Bern.



Julia Bailey-Serres - University of California

Julia Bailey-Serres is a distinguished professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside. She is known for her research on mechanisms of plant adaptive responses to environmental stress and development. Her group dissected the function of the SUB1Agene of rice that enables survival of prolonged submergence, as evidenced by its stabilizing effect on grain yields in flood-prone regions of Asia. She has pioneered genomic technologies that resolve gene activity and regulatory networks in specific types of cells, enabling understanding of how plant sense and respond to variations in water and nutrient availability, temperature extremes, and soil microbes that influence crop productivity. As director of the Center for Plant Cell Biology, she leads interdisciplinary education and research training programs that foster discovery research and address challenges in environmental sustainability and food security. Bailey-Serres was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2016. 

Patricio Grassini - Agronomy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL)

Dr. Patricio Grassini is an Associate Professor of Agronomy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Patricio earned a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) and a Ph.D. in Agronomy from UNL. He has authored 70+ papers published in peer-review journals, including top-tier journals such as Nature Communications, Nature Sustainability, PNAS, andPlant Cell & Environment, and ten book chapters. His research interests center on yield potential, yield-gap analysis, and resource- and energy-use efficiency. Patricio’s applied research covers a diverse range of cropping systems, including rainfed crops in South America, irrigated crops in the U.S. Corn Belt and Asia, and oil palm in Indonesia. A major on-going project is the Global Yield Gap Atlas (www.yieldgap.org), which provides estimates of gaps between actual and potential yield for major cropping systems. Dr. Grassini was recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and other three fellowships and six awards, including the Agronomy Society of America(ASA) Early Career Awardand W.L. Nelson Award for Diagnosing Yield-Limiting Factors. Patricio also serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Field Crops Researchand Global Food Securityjournals. Patricio was the Chair of the Crop Science Society of America Crop Ecology Division during the 2019 term.

Daniel Martini - Association for Technology and Structures in Agriculture (KTBL)

Daniel Martini has studied agricultural sciences with a focus on soil science at the University of Hohenheim. He already was interested in his time at university in usage of information technology in the context of soil physics modelling and geographic information systems. Today, he is responsible for a team working on knowledge technologies at KTBL in Germany. His main topics of interest since 2005 have been data and information management and processing in agriculture. He has worked on a range of projects doing systems analysis and design as well as drafting and implementing software and services, mainly based on semantic technologies. He is also active in standardization in that area. His team supports the activities of FAO around AGROVOC by contributing to maintenance, content curation and dissemination.

Laura Meggiolaro - Land Portal Foundation

Over the past 16 years, Laura has been specialising in knowledge management for development with an increasing passion for the information ecology and data ecosystem that characterises the land governance sector where she focuses on enhancing land data discoverability and interoperability through open standards and semantic technologies. She holds a master in communication sciences and a master in economics for developments. Since 2011, Laura has been responsible for the overall management, implementation and expansion of the Land Portal.

Sarah Cummings - Nielsen

Sarah Cummings is Manager of Economic Research at Nielsen and manages Project 8, a global platform for sustainable development data. She has presented at the UN SDG Global Festival of Action and the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). Prior to this role, she worked in Shanghai with Nielsen’s Innovation Practice, a division of Nielsen focused on new product innovation. She led pricing and portfolio studies for major consumer packaged goods companies in China. She has also worked in Beijing, New York City, Hong Kong, and Washington, DC. Sarah is an advocate for ending hunger and volunteers at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. She speaks Mandarin Chinese and has traveled to over 70 countries across 6 continents.