FAO's Agricultural Stress Index System (ASIS) achieves the Digital Public Good recognition


In recent years, digital technologies have proved to be a key accelerator in the progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), exerting their transformational effect on our economies and societies, including agrifood systems. Recognizing this shift, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been working to enhance its digital capabilities, as well as its capacity and advisory functions needed to enable and accelerate targeted interventions. FAO's commitment to upscaling digital capabilities encompasses a comprehensive approach, and at its cornerstone lies the provision of Digital Public Goods (DPGs), now strengthened by the Organization's Digital Public Good's First Approach.

“Delivering digital capabilities to a wide array of agricultural stakeholders, including vulnerable rural communities and smallholders, is central to FAO's efforts” says Dejan Jakovljevic, FAO’s CIO and Director of the Digital FAO and Agro-informatics Division. “We aim at making FAO’s open models and open content available as Digital Public Goods (DPGs) as much as possible, to enable knowledge transfer from the data platforms and knowledge bases to the field, bridging digital divides and unlocking opportunities for inclusive growth.”. 

DPGs are public goods in the form of software, datasets, Artificial-Intelligence (AI) models, standards or content that are generally free works and contribute to sustainable national and international digital development. FAO’s membership of the Digital Public Good Alliance (DPGA) since May 2022, underscores its commitment to the development and championing of DPGs as catalysts for global equity and progress. The DPGA is a multi-stakeholder initiative endorsed by the United Nations Secretary-General, working to accelerate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in low- and middle-income countries by facilitating the discovery, development, use of, and investment in digital public goods. Through this strategic collaboration, FAO contributes to the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, increasing the visibility, support for, and prominence of its and others’ open projects for the creation of a vibrant global ecosystem for digital public goods.

Following award-winning Hand-in-Hand Geospatial Platform, the FAO Digital Services Portfolio (DSP), the Water Productivity Open Access Database (WaPOR), Open FORIS and more, the Agricultural Stress Index System (ASIS) has been recently added to the DPG Registry.

Developed in 2014 and having received the Geospatial World Excellence Award in 2016 at the Geospatial World Forum, ASIS is an innovative tool developed by FAO to monitor agricultural drought across the globe. Updating its data every 10 days, ASIS utilizes satellite technology to pinpoint regions at high risk of water stress and drought. This vital information helps forecast crop production and provides early warnings of potential food shortages, crucial for vulnerable communities. The global version, operated by FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS), includes a standalone country-level tool whose purpose is to strengthen national/regional early warning systems for food security. Remarkably, ASIS possesses an extensive archive of agricultural drought hotspots dating back to 1984, rendering it a truly distinctive data resource within FAO.

“The recognition of ASIS as a DPG demonstrates its transformative potential to drive positive change and foster resilience within agrifood systems and agricultural communities worldwide. By adhering to the principles of the DPGA and the DPG Standard, ASIS ensures transparency, inclusivity and sustainability in its development and deployment, reinforcing its status as a trusted and valuable asset within the digital public goods ecosystem,” noted Boubaker Ben-Belhassen, Director of FAO's Markets and Trade Division, home of the Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS).

Adopting the DPG First approach, announced in the State of the Digital Public Goods Ecosystem 2023, FAO creates incentives to develop and reuse DPGs in agriculture for the creation of scalable, interoperable and standard solutions as opposed to traditional investments, favoring single-country solutions. 

With the addition of significant certified DPGs, like ASIS, FAO continues to lead the way in advancing sustainable development and creating a more inclusive, equitable and prosperous future for all.

Watch ASIS video here

Visit ASIS website here

ASIS datasets integrated in Hand-in-Hand Geospatial Platform