Agriculture terraces
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Open Earth Platform Initiative (OpenEPI)

Digital transformation is crucial to address the three distinct and inter-connected crises of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss and increasing inequality between countries and population groups.

There is a growing need among governments, investors, business, and civil society for high-quality aggregated data on climate and nature. The need for climate adaptation and nature data is established in global conventions, and the international community has started to respond. Norad has a strong track-record on digital public goods and innovation partnerships and a clear mandate to expand climate adaptation efforts and is thus well-placed to support projects to develop such an open architecture for nature.

Large sums of scarce public and private international development finance are invested in closed data solutions for nature. Even self-proclaimed “open” data solutions for nature are not truly open. The expected exponential growth in data initiatives for nature exacerbates the problem and creates a sense of urgency.

To address current challenges related to data solutions for climate adaptation and nature, Norad sees the need for establishment of a robust and openly accessible infrastructure for data across projects and sectors related to climate adaptation and nature, implemented through an initiative called the Open Earth Platform Initiative (OpenEPI). The OpenEPI initiative is designed around open principles where all datasets, services and solutions must adhere to the digital public goods standard.

Furthermore, the OpenEPI stack will be designed as a platform agnostic set of services, that in addition to open licenses, focus on designing aggregate services across datasets that are easy to re-use.

Norad is supporting our partners KnowIT, Capto, Creative Commons and Open Future to conduct a pre-project and a feasibility study, where the project will explore and develop the infrastructural concept and the blueprint for the platform architecture, the conceptual set-up for local innovation, and demonstrate actual solutions based on open data and algorithms, addressing specific use cases in sub-Saharan Africa.

During the feasibility study, the OpenEPI project will collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations, to prepare for a permanent infrastructure. Among the relevant topics to be assessed during the project, are organization of a permanent body or network of bodies and structures, governance, business model, financing, legal issues, and licensing regimes.

OpenEPI will be designed around open principles for data and software and Digital Public Goods (DGP).

Updated project information can be found at:

Published 19.05.2023
Last updated 19.05.2023