Every year during UN Week there are a number of substantive and important issues discussed, new initiatives launched and new partnerships formed, typically around some big important global issues. It is a week in the diplomatic calendar in which a lot of problem solving gets done. The problem is, this aspect of UN Week rarely gets covered by the mainstream media, which so often chases the big headlines in general–and Donald Trump in particular.

But there is so much happening beyond Trump, so today I wanted shine a spotlight one particular initiative launched this week to help the international community and countries of the developing world collect better data around agricultural productivity.  The initiative is called 50×2030, the 50 refers to 50 countries from the developing world which will participate in this data collection initiative and 2030 refers to the end date in which the Sustainable Development Goals are due.

Key partners on the initiative include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United States Agency or International Development (USAID), Government of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Government of Germany’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and International Fund for Agricultural Development.  It was launched at the United Nations this week.

I attended the launch and it included something very different. In advance of a panel discussion, two individuals told powerful personal stories that helped make this discussion very real. These individual were trained by the Moth Global Community Program. So to kick off this episode, we are going to hear a seven minute personal story from Edward Mabaya, a development economist from Zimbabwe who told his story from the floor of the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations.

That story provides important grounding for my longer conversation about strengthening the quality if data around agricultural productivity with Claire Melamed, who is the CEO of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.

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