Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

OPENING ADDRESS
by
Hiroyuki Konuma
Assistant Director-General and
Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific
delivered at the

Introduction and Awareness‐Raising Meeting on the
Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC)

Bangkok, Thailand
4 November 2010




All protocols observed …

       It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to this Introduction and Awareness‐Raising Meeting on the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). 

       The IPC provides global standards and protocols for food security analysis and classification using a food security severity scale.  It is a framework to compile and analyze complex food security information from different sources and communicate it in an easily accessible format to decision-makers. 

       The IPC was developed by the FAO-supported Food Security Analysis Unit in Somalia in 2004 and is now being promoted and supported globally by a partnership of UN agencies, international NGOs and donor agencies active in food security analysis and action.  These organizations have formed an IPC consortium of eight partner agencies, including:  FAO, WFP, the Joint Research Centre of the EC, Oxfam GB, Fews Net, Save the Children US and UK, and Care International.

       Now in use at national and regional levels in parts of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Central America, the IPC is gaining momentum as a global tool supported and used by a growing number of governments, UN Agencies, NGOs, donors, and academic organizations.
    
       There has never been a greater need for all of us, the producers and users of food security information, to improve the quality of our information and analysis to help decision-makers at all levels and in all capacities to clearly understand the realities faced by the poorest and most vulnerable people, and to understand possible response options.  According to the latest FAO figures, the number of undernourished people, although decreasing slightly, remains unacceptably high in 2010, at 925 million people worldwide, of which more than half, 578 million, live in the Asia-Pacific Region. 

       Despite our commitments and efforts to fight hunger and reduce the number and proportion of food insecure people, we are still having difficulties addressing important challenges.  Underlying food security issues are complex and often difficult to understand and analyze as they are multi-dimensional and often evolve rapidly.  The difference between transitory and chronic food insecurity is becoming more and more blurred.  Globally, the international community is challenged to understand changing food security dynamics and the implications on response options.  Reaching consensus on the food security situation, the causes and the risks to vulnerable families remains a challenge.  Soaring food prices have shown clearly the need for wider and more inclusive cooperation, and decisive political action to tackle food insecurity, poverty and malnutrition.

       As food security analysts, practitioners and policy-makers, we must clearly identify the underlying causes of food insecurity and ensure that resources are allocated in line with the actual needs of those suffering from hunger.  The IPC helps us do this by providing:

  • a common technical approach, with recognized and agreed standards and protocols to analyze information coming from different sources;
  • a way of working together to build consensus, enabling us to present a more common food security analysis; and
  • a basis to promote policies and programmes that more effectively prevent, respond to, and reduce food insecurity and malnutrition.

       The overall objective of today’s event is to introduce the IPC and engage partners and stakeholders in a dialogue on:

  • What is the IPC?
  • How is it used?
  • How does it fit with other systems and initiatives?
  • How can it be applied? 

       This event provides an opportunity for you to meet members of the global IPC team, whose role is to develop and oversee IPC implementation worldwide on behalf of the eight partner agencies.  The core global team is composed of a Steering Committee and a Global Support Unit.  The Support Unit is actively engaged in developing and promoting the IPC by raising awareness, building institutional capacity and technical development of the IPC analytical approach and protocols.  We are particularly pleased to welcome Dr. Nicholas Haan, the original architect and initiator of the IPC during his tenure with FAO Somalia, and currently the Global IPC Programme Manager.

       I take this opportunity to acknowledge our co-hosts today, the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS), the World Food Programme Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, and the EC-FAO Food Security Programme, Linking Information and Action to Improve Food Security.  My thanks to the European Union through the EC-FAO Food Security Programme, ECHO and WFP for their generous support of this meeting.  Finally, my thanks to all of you for recognizing the potential importance of the IPC in the Asia-Pacific Regional, and for your presence here today.