INFORMED - Strengthening resilience of vulnerable people’s livelihoods and reducing food insecurity and malnutrition

INFORMED - Strengthening resilience of vulnerable people’s livelihoods and reducing food insecurity and malnutrition

Information for Nutrition, Food Security and Resilience for Decision Making - INFORMED

INFORMED works in close collaboration with regional and national partners to support the development of technical and institutional capacities to design and monitor effective resilience actions in crisis-prone countries. The institutionalization of the Resilience Measurement Unit in Uganda provides a promising example of a government-led initiative that can be replicated in other countries.

Luca Russo, FAO Senior Food Crises Analyst and Strategic Adviser – Programme coordinator

CONTEXT

In recent years an increasing number of people have been affected by food crises caused by multiple factors such as natural disasters, conflicts, financial and food price volatility. Repeated shocks have resulted in a gradual erosion of the ability of institutions and affected people to cope with crisis (i.e. to be resilient). In such contexts, while humanitarian responses remain of crucial importance, governments are urgently requested to invest more on understanding the root causes of these crisis and provide long-term development solutions to withstand and possibly prevent them.

OBJECTIVES

  • The INFORMED programme, through assistance from FAO, aims to build the technical and institutional capacities of national and regional institutions to guarantee regular, timely information as well as evidence-based analysis regarding food security, nutrition and resilience situation in prone-crisis countries.
  • The support to improve analysis, information sharing and monitoring of food and nutrition security factors should ensure that diverse actors involved are better prepared to withstand potential food crises and thus increase the resilience of vulnerable populations, thereby reducing their food insecurity and malnutrition.
  • The first component of the programme aims to increase the availability and access to quality data on food security, nutrition and resilience information in order to limit the effects of forthcoming hazards and crisis, especially by better linking early warning activities with early warning actions developed on the basis of this analysis.
  • The INFORMED programme focuses its efforts on four basic types of information used by governments to monitor and/or follow up with crisis scenarios: Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), resilience measurement and analysis, Early Warning Early Action (EWEA), and longer-term datasets (e.g., household surveys).
  • The second component aims to apply these tools and particularly to improve the quality and the country level application of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Analysis which is expected to be used as the standard tool for informing food security and nutrition policy decisions. This is done through the support to revise procedures, training, direct technical guidance in a number of countries on the application of the IPC, etc.
  • The third component aims to help governments and regional institutions to better include food and nutrition security and resilience objectives (based on the evidence available) into their policies through the promotion of knowledge sharing and lesson learning mechanisms.

RESULTS

  • A number of countries and two regional organisations have been supported in developing and disseminating Action Plans to help with data collection and analytical reports for early warning purposes (Global Early Warning Early Action Reports; the Food chains crises (FCC) multi-threats forecasts, etc.).
  • Two yearly global food crisis reports have been produced under the coordination of the EU, FAO, and WFP and have been disseminated globally. The reports provide evidence-based analysis to guide humanitarian planning and decision-making, including how to prioritize resources to increase resilience particularly by improving coordination between humanitarian and development agencies.
  • To date, FAO has implemented early actions in seven countries: Madagascar, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Niger and Mongolia with the purpose of mitigating the impact of disaster events on livelihoods. A recent cost effectiveness study in Kenya revealed that for every USD 1 FAO invested in early action, households got a return of USD 3.5.
  • Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) awareness-raising and capacity development activities are ongoing in more than 40 countries, with over 25 countries conducting IPC analyses. The IPC has been critical in raising global awareness of the risk of famine and in mobilizing funds for the international response to major food crises (particularly in South Sudan where famine was declared in 2017 based on the IPC analysis).
  • Country-level support and capacity development activities were conducted in close partnership with national counterparts to conduct resilience measurement and analyses by applying the Resilience Index Measurement Analysis (RIMA) methodology Integrated with other analytical efforts.
  • Linked to this, the Platform for the analysis and measurement of resilience of populations in the Sahel and West Africa (PTMR-SAO) was launched by CILSS and FAO. The objective is to produce harmonized and consensual information and analysis at national and regional level for better informing policies and programmes on various aspects (i.e. providing a common response to build resilience in pastoral arid settings).
  • Seventeen webinars on resilience-specific topics were organised and a number of resilience good practice fact sheets were developed by the newly launched Resilience Knowledge Sharing Platform (KORE) as a knowledge sharing mechanism to contribute to the improvement of resilience programming.

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • Globally, about 815 million people still suffer from chronic hunger according to FAO. In 2017, around 124 million people across 51 countries faced crises of food insecurity or worse (Global Report on Food Crisis, 2018).
  • The worst food crises in 2017 were in north-eastern Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and South Sudan, where nearly 32 million people were food-insecure and in need of urgent assistance.
  • The number of children and women in need of nutritional support increased between 2016 and 2017, mainly in areas affected by conflict or insecurity such as in Somalia, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen and northern Nigeria.
  • In 2017, conflict and insecurity continued to be the primary drivers of food insecurity in 18 countries, where almost 74 million food-insecure people remained in need of urgent assistance.
  • In the same year, climate disasters – mainly drought – were also major triggers of food crises in 23 countries, with over 39 million food-insecure people in need of urgent assistance.
  • The global community has committed to end hunger and to achieve food security and improved nutrition as well as to end poverty in all its forms by 2030 (Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2).
  • The European Commission is investing nearly EUR 8 billion in over 60 countries during the 2014–2020 period in order to improve FNS&SA and promote resilience in crisis-prone countries.

TESTIMONY

Institutionalizing resilience measurement and analysis at country level in Uganda: a promising practice for more resilient communities.

"As a resilience analyst of the INFORMED programme within the Resilience Team for East Africa, I work to support resilience measurement and analysis in order to develop capacities of national staff to collect data through surveysand use these data for better informing policy and programming activities.

The INFORMED programme contributed to the development of the Resilience Index Measurement and Analysis (RIMA) tool in Uganda focusing in particular on training to improve knowledge and skills of national specialists. The training addressed two different target audiences: a team of experts on economic/statistical analysis and monitoring and evaluation about resilience factors, and a group of non-technical stakeholders working on programme and policy development. At the end of the training, the former group was able to implement a resilience analysis exercise with the support of the INFORMED team, whereas the latter improved skills to read the results of the analysis,  prioritizing areas and population groups for better programming interventions and developing policies at national level. 

Enhancing the capacities of local institutions makes it possible for the Uganda government to progressively master the resilience measurement and analysis process. The national Resilience Measurement Unit, developed thanks to INFORMED support, is now able to conduct their own resilience data collections and run the analyses, as they recently did for the refugee and host communities in South-West Uganda. Moreover, the Office of the Prime Minister, by endorsing the results and recommendations of the resilience report on refugees and host communities in Northern Uganda, will use it to guide the programming of new actions for improving resilience.

I believe that a resilience measurement unit institutionalized at government level, as it was done by the INFORMED programme in Uganda, is ideal for better coordination of policies and programmes  to be implemented by governments and diverse stakeholders, including NGOs, regional intergovernmental bodies such as IGAD and UN agencies. This concerted approach, driven by the government, will be highly beneficial to the vulnerable groups because it will help prepare well-informed and timely responses to  crisis scenarios taking into account specific constraints and needs in the areas targeted by the programme.”

Immaculate Atieno, Resilience Analyst - FAO Resilience Team for East Africa