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Food insecurity: How to monitor a complex problem Pietro Gennari, Director, FAO Statistics Division.

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Presentation on theme: "Food insecurity: How to monitor a complex problem Pietro Gennari, Director, FAO Statistics Division."— Presentation transcript:

1 Food insecurity: How to monitor a complex problem Pietro Gennari, Director, FAO Statistics Division

2 Security: a multifaceted concept Food Security: a multifaceted concept The definition of food security has considerably evolved over time availability, accessutilization stable basis Current definition (WFS 1996) recognizes availability, access and utilization of food on a stable basis as key dimensions of food insecurity Monitoring is required for different purposes (causes or effects?), in different contexts (acute or chronic hunger?) Framework for comparing FSI based on the scope and depth of the analysis

3 A framework for comparing food security indicators Scope 1.Does it focus on causes or effects of food insecurity? 2.Is the analysis being conducted at individuals, households, or population level? 3.Does it concern acute (short term, temporary) or chronic (long term, structural) insecurity? 4.Is the analysis aimed at assessing an actual situation or a potential threat? Depth 5. Quantitative dimensions (food production deficits, energy intake, number of units affected, etc.) 6. Qualitative dimensions (diet “quality”, food access “strategies”, etc.)

4 What has been proposed? What is available? Proliferation of proposed indicators ◦ Hoddinott (1999) lists 200 definitions and 450 FSI Difficult to effectively use all the available information and to compare analytical results Limited coordination among agencies addressing food insecurity situations (IPC) Limited set of indicators available on an annual basis with global coverage Tendency to over-interpret available global indicators

5 What to measure? How to report? No single indicator sufficient to provide an exhaustive representation of the problem Need of a suite of indicators for a comprehensive global and national food security assessment Need of a platform for a common dissemination of the suite of indicators Need to guide decision-makers and the public on the interpretation of the suite of indicators ◦ Development of a synthetic (composite) index?

6 Composite indices of food security Objective: rank countries/households for communication (raising awareness) or policy purposes (target interventions) Macro level (for countries) ◦ e.g. Global Hunger Index – IFPRI; Hunger Index - Bread for the World Institute, etc. Micro level (for households) ◦ e.g. Aggregate Household Food Security Index – FAO; Composite Index of Anthropometric Failure – Svedberg Criticisms: ◦ Arbitrary weights ◦ Ranking may change with every minor data revision ◦ Useless for inter-temporal comparisons

7 Elements of a comprehensive food security monitoring program 1. Identifying the relevant dimensions to be monitored ◦ Multivariate analysis of existing indicators to determine the latent (underlying) dimensions 2. Selecting a limited nr. of indicators for each dimension ◦ Based on correlation with the chosen dimension and driven by data availability and reliability 3. Choosing the weights for aggregating the selected indicators into a composite index ◦ Use of preference elicitation techniques to determine the weights that reflect the relative importance of the identified dimensions

8 Current activities at FAO 1. Analysis of existing indicators and development of a proposal for a suite of indicators o Database of 77 indicators available for 181 countries from 1990 to 2009: o Use of multivariate techniques to recognize correlation patterns and overlaps among different indicators o only 25% of data availability: imputation needed 2. Revision of the methodology of the FAO indicator (Prevalence of undernourishment) o more in the next session 3. Interagency coordination and capacity development o more on it tomorrow

9 Process to develop the new food security monitoring framework Open methodological discussion with the academia and international experts community ◦ Definition of the methodology in a transparent and objective way Intergovernmental forum of policy makers (CFS) to define the policy needs Intergovernmental forum of statisticians (UN Statistical Commission) to review the methodology and endorse the suite of indicators Coordination among agencies to produce & disseminate the suite of indicators - FSIN

10 Questions Developing a suite of indicators in collaboration with other key stakeholders ◦ Dimensions to be monitored? ◦ Which indicators and which method to select them? Establishing a platform for a common dissemination of the suite of indicators ◦ Is it really needed? For what purpose? ◦ How to create an authoritative and reliable platform? ◦ Is a composite index really useful? Defining new international standards on food security measurement ◦ Process to be followed? Which intergovernmental forum? Rome, 12-13 September 2011CFS Round Table on Monitoring Food Security10

11 Thank you for your feedback!

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