During the last quarter of 2000 there were two FIVIMS related missions to Cambodia. The missions worked closely with the national FIVIMS focal point (Chief of the Information Office of the Department of Planning and Public Relations), Ministry of Rural Development and with the Vulnerability Analysis Mapping (VAM) unit of WFP who are supporting an operational VAM system in the country.
As a first activity, a FIVIMS sensitisation and awareness meeting was organised with 21 participants, including representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ministry of Planning, Cambodia Development Research Institute, Asia Development Bank, FAO, UNDP, UNFPA, HKI, WFP, UNICEF, WHO and IRRI. The meeting concluded with the following points for action:
Following this meeting a visit was held in October 2000 by staff of FAO regional office for Asia and the Pacific to:
The report of this mission is currently being finalised.
RESAL has been providing support for the past year to establish a Food Security Observatory (FSO) in the State Department for Statistics (SDS) in Georgia. The role of the FSO is to collect, process and analyse data related to food security and issue, on a regular basis, a bulletin to provide government institutions and development partners with information useful to improve their programmes and projects.
A first bulletin has just been issued in Georgian and English. It consists of a series of tables presenting selected datasets, graphs and short analyses. Key data, such as household expenditures, per capita caloric intake and diet composition, are collected by the Household Survey (HS), which has been conducted every quarter by SDS, from mid-1996, with financial support from the World Bank.
The bulletin also provides data on the macro-economic environment, agricultural production and humanitarian food aid. A special issue, dedicated in the first bulletin to the impact of last spring drought on agriculture, gives the opportunity to focus on an issue raising special interest at the time the bulletin is produced.
The first bulletin is a major achievement, not only serving as an example for future bulletins, but also marking the start of a dialogue with decision-makers to clarify (i) users' needs and (ii) usefulness of available data for effective decision-making. But technical and financial assistance is still very much needed to tailor the bulletin to actual needs and strengthen institutional capacity.
A key concern today is how to ensure continued support until the FSO is, technically at least, sustainable. Whether RESAL will be in a position to do so is unclear, as the present contract with the European Commission will come to an end in a few months.
The Co-ordinator of the IAWG FIVIMS Secretariat made a brief visit to Kenya in early October to launch activities of the EC-funded FIVIMS project. The situation in Kenya looks to be very promising for FIVIMS work. Much good work in the development of a co-ordinated food security information system for Kenya has been done by the Arid Lands Resource Management Programme (ALRMP) which covers the 10 arid northern districts. The ALRMP is located in the Office of the President. The FAO Representative in Kenya has proposed a technical co-operation project (using FAO resources) that would expand this co-ordinated system by adding six semi-arid districts.
There is a clear recognition on the part of Government of Kenya ministries, Kenyan civil society, and development partners of the opportunities and need for better, more co-ordinated efforts on information and mapping systems. This is especially true with respect to drought relief work in arid and semi-arid zones (roughly 80% of the country with 20% of the people) and for the opportunity of expanding analysis of food insecurity in the higher potential zones (roughly 20% of the country and 80% of the population) where the emphasis would be on poverty reduction, a high national priority. In this regard, there is a clear opportunity for work in the area of livelihood system analysis to be very useful as a unifying concept.
Le Secrétariat de SICIAV a entrepris une première mission en octobre afin de lancer le projet GCP/INT/741/EC pour mettre en place un SICIAV au niveau national à Madagascar (voir FIVIMS News, août 2000). La mission avait trois objectives : (i) présenter le concept de SICIAV aux principaux partenaires, (ii) exécuter un inventaire initial des systèmes d'information, et (iii) dresser un plan de travail pour l'implémentation de la première phase du projet, c'est-à-dire la phase diagnostique et évaluation.
L'estimation du nombre de personnes sous-alimentées à Madagascar a plus que doublé entre 1979-81 et 1996-98, augmentant de 18 pour cent à 40 pour cent (SOFI 1999). Cette détérioration de la sécurité alimentaire était attribuée à deux facteurs principaux, à savoir : (i) le diminution de la production agricole vivrière par habitant et (ii) l'incidence fréquente de catastrophes naturelles. A cause de ce dernier facteur, les activités dans le domaine de systèmes d'information sur la sécurité alimentaire sont surtout concentrées sur l'alerte rapide et la mitigation de désastres. Les intervenants les plus notables sont : - le Système d'Alerte Précoce (SAP), financé par l'Union Européenne et qui se focalise sur la population à risque d'insécurité alimentaire dans l'extrême sud du pays ; - le VAM/SNAP (l'analyse et cartographie de la vulnérabilité / système nationale d'alerte précoce), un projet conjoint du Conseil National de Secours et de CARE qui génère des informations clés pour l'identification et la réduction de la vulnérabilité à Madagascar.
La structure institutionnelle proposée pour le SICIAV consiste en une unité de gestion, un comité technique et un comité de pilotage.
Parmi les activités qui sont proposées pour la première phase du projet sont incluses : le bilan détaillé des données disponibles ; une évaluation des besoins d'informations des utilisateurs ; la tenue d'un atelier de validation de SICIAV avec l'ensemble des producteurs et utilisateurs d'informations ; et le renforcement de la capacité nationale d'évaluation de la sécurité alimentaire.
On request of the UN-thematic working group on food security in Myanmar, the FIVIMS secretariat fielded a two-week mission to Myanmar to study design options for FIVIMS. The Mission consulted with a broad range of governmental, international and non-governmental organisations to build a picture of national capabilities and constraints in developing a national FIVIMS. The prospects of establishing a full-fledged information system on food security are not very favourable:
Because of these reasons, awareness raising activities should be high on the agenda of the thematic working group. This could include activities such as identifying the most vulnerable groups and/or areas, setting-up a database on available food security information, and organising a poverty and food security workshop. The government's perception that food insecurity is not a problem in Myanmar will critically influence and affect future national activities in FIVIMS.
A full mission report is currently being finalised.
FIVIMS was given a prominent role in the current UNDP sustainable livelihood project MLW/097/010. Under this project a FIVIMS network is to be established in order to identify and quantify the nature of food insecurity facing vulnerable groups in Malawi. Progress towards implementing FIVIMS-activities has been slow due to little human capacity, a change in the executing government agency from the National Economic Council to the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, and slow procedures in hiring national consultants. Since September a national FIVIMS co-ordinator has been hired for the initial period of one year.
It is expected that he will work towards inducing a spirit of networking among information partners. Potentially, two existing institutional structures will be supportive to the FIVIMS initiative: the VAM Task force headed by NEC and the recently established agricultural information task force, headed by MoA. The national FIVIMS co-ordinator will be assisted by a short-term international expert and technically supported by FAO. In this effect, an FAO-HQ mission took place at the beginning of December.
The FIVIMS Secretariat recently received the final draft of the Common Country Assessment (CCA) for Namibia. This document is very comprehensive in scope and includes considerable discussion on the importance of food security, in particular the potential contribution of FIVIMS (see also special focus on incorporating FIVIMS in UNDAF/CCA process). Food insecurity is linked with poverty in the document and their reduction forms one of the three strategic objectives for the UN system in Namibia. The UNDAF will focus on a combined effort by UN agencies to reduce poverty through a human rights approach to development - this raises interesting points for consideration under FIVIMS.
The first phases of the UNDAF for Namibia will set the stage for the full realisation of the comparative advantages of the various UN agencies to enhance their contributions to the strategic national goals of poverty reduction and HIV/AIDS containment. Two theme groups, on HIV/AIDS and poverty will be supported by seven technical working groups, with food security being one of these. The theme group for poverty is to be chaired by UNDP and co-chaired by FAO. These positions will rotate annually to Agency heads with responsibility and/or competence in the area. One important outcome of the UNDAF discussions has been the decision by the Namibian Government to seek Cabinet approval of the UNDAF document. This reflects the importance Government attaches to the UN framework being proposed, and very importantly, it provides the seal of ownership that Government accords the process and framework agreed upon.
A draft FAO-TCP document for the establishment of a food security and early warning information system in Nicaragua is currently under review by the technical units of FAO. The approach proposed is in line with an Inter-Agency effort supporting the development of FIVIMS in Central America. A multi-agency framework for doing this in four countries of the sub-region (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) is close to finalisation.
FIVIMS in the Philippines is quickly on its way of becoming one of the first success stories in the Asia region. In the past year, a working group on systems development was established to study food security information system designs responding to the objectives and constraints of the Philippine FIVIMS. A second working group was created to recommend on food security and vulnerability indicators to be monitored. Four criteria were used in order to select the indicators: 1) relevance - defined as their potential usefulness, 2) simplicity - easy to understand and adapted to local capacity, 3) sensitivity - ability of the indicator to detect small changes, and 4) timeliness.
A draft Manual of Operation has been developed. The manual was designed to serve as a working reference for agencies participating in the FIVIMS network. It describes in detail the procedures for establishing FIVIMS at national level; data collection, collation, analysis and interpretation; generation of reports and maps; linking to decision makers and possible actions; as well as the role and responsibilities of the FIVIMS national task force.
A first output of the national FIVIMS has recently been produced, i.e. the Philippine Nutrition Country Profile. This report marked a big step forward in the operationalization of the national FIVIMS.