CFS:2004/INF/7


COMMITTEE ON WORLD FOOD SECURITY

Thirtieth Session

Rome, 20-23 September 2004

REPORT ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF FIVIMS

Table of Contents



I. INTRODUCTION

1. This is the fifth annual progress report on the development of FIVIMS since these reports were requested by the CFS at its 24th session in 1999. This report provides two distinct perspectives: FIVIMS at FAO and Inter-Agency FIVIMS (IAWG), including the results and implications of the FIVIMS External Assessment. Within the FAO-FIVIMS section, selected country level activities are analysed and discussed supplemented by a matrix of active FAO-FIVIMS projects to draw out lessons learned to date. The IAWG section focuses on the possible future of IAWG-FIVIMS based on the conclusions of the 8th Meeting of the IAWG-FIVIMS in, April 2004 following the completion of the FIVIMS External Assessment.

II. FIVIMS AND FAO

A. FAO’S CONTRIBUTION TO NORMATIVE FIVIMS MATERIALS

2. FAO continues to direct significant regular programme and external trust fund resources to support country FIVIMS development and to compile best practices and methodological tools for information systems to help guide improved actions for sustainable development, poverty alleviation and hunger reduction. Since the last reporting period, this is illustrated by the following:

3. The two EC-funded projects, Supporting Pilot Applications of the FIVIMS initiative in four “Least Developed Countries” and in four “Small Island Developing States”, managed by the IAWG FIVIMS Secretariat, are scheduled to finish this year. The final phase focuses primarily on the development of normative materials while winding up most country level project activities. Since the last report to CFS, project activities have involved all of the pilot countries (Barbados, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Comoros, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Fiji and Samoa) and have produced significant outputs/products. Selected country highlights are included in the section “Updates on specific FIVIMS Projects”. These projects were designed to:

      1. improve the capacity of national institutions to collect, manage, analyse and disseminate critical information to enable the formulation of more efficient interventions aimed at reducing food insecurity and vulnerability;
      2. increase the capacity of the FIVIMS Secretariat to provide support for implementation of FIVIMS at the national level; and
      3. share specific lessons learnt with IAWG-FIVIMS and national partners.

Negotiations are currently at an advanced stage with the EC in support of a second phase of an EC-FAO Partnership Programme which will include a FIVIMS component.

In 2003, the FIVIMS Secretariat received funds in support of the development of a technical support package for launching national FIVIMS between 2003 and 2005 to be financed out of the FAO-US Arrears fund. These funds have been allocated to support key FIVIMS activities and outputs within FAO that would not otherwise have been covered by regular programme funds. One activity within this project is the development of a draft curriculum outline for a distance learning module to support capacity building and training for national and local food security information systems and networks. In 2004, a draft distance learning curriculum module for food security will be developed to complement and build on other relevant modules already released. Work is planned on the improvement of FAO’s statistics methodology on the measurement of undernourishment through expert consultations and other activities. Draft normative material has been prepared on the assessment of information systems and possible guidelines for national FIVIMS focal points which need to be ratified before being circulated. The project has also supported the improvement of FAO’s Nutrition Country Profiles and the development and printing of sub-national hunger maps, building on earlier work published in SOFI 2002.

B. FAO SUPPORT FOR COUNTRY LEVEL FIVIMS

Overview

4. The following brief analysis was developed in response to the request from the FAO Conference to provide more concrete analysis of the development of FIVIMS. This section focuses specifically on FAO FIVIMS core projects and looks at their geographical distribution and timing since 1999, when the FAO Council first requested to be annually informed on FIVIMS progress. This is shown in table 1 below. Each line in the table indicates a separate project, hence there have been three in Kenya since 2000. Typical FIVIMS projects range from the creation of a national FIVIMS type network based on an assessment of existing resources and needs of decision makers through to highly targeted support to meet specific technical needs. In all cases capacity building and the information needs of decision makers are critical. Not all country level activities are included as it has proven difficult to regularly update this information; hence the table will underestimate the level of activity.

5. While a Trust Fund project supported by the Government of Japan started in 1998 in the Asia region, substantive assistance to its five pilot countries started mid 2001 in the Philippines and Thailand and later for Bangladesh, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. In 2003 this project entered its second phase after a positive evaluation. In 2000, three Trust Fund projects started, funded by the European Union in support of FIVIMS pilot implementation. Pilot countries were drawn from Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and Low-Income Food Deficit Countries in the CIS. This served to broaden the spread of the Initiative, with FIVIMS activities being undertaken or planned in 19 countries. There was a further increase in FIVIMS projects at country level in 2001, which was sustained through 2002 and 2003. While 2004 currently shows a slight drop in activities, it does not include several projects under finalisation and likely to be underway later this year. To a certain extent, 2004 is a watershed year with several of the more long-running projects, such as phase one of the EC-FIVIMS projects, entering their final stages and new projects starting up. Of the FIVIMS projects, six are funded by FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) spread across 4 regions (Yemen has received two back to back projects in support of the establishment of FIVIMS), with the remainder being trust with longer life spans and greater resources. Of particular interest is the Unilateral Trust Fund (UTF) project in Namibia, where the Namibian Government’s allocation of its own national funds for further work on FIVIMS demonstrates the value it places on this work..

Table 1 – FIVIMS Country Level Projects in FAO 2000-2004: Location and Duration

FAO Region Country 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

RAF

Angola

RAF

Burkina Faso

RAF

Cape Verde

RAF

Comoros

RAF

Kenya

RAF

Kenya

RAF

Kenya

RAF

Madagascar

RAF

Malawi

RAF

Malawi

RAF/RNE

Mauritania

RAF

Mozambique

RAF

Namibia

RAF

Nigeria

RAF

South Africa

RAF

Tanzania

RAF

Uganda


RNE

Afghanistan

RNE

Afghanistan

RNE

Syria

RNE

Yemen

RNE

Yemen

RNE/RAP

Kyrgyzstan

RNE/RAP

Tajikistan


RAP

Bangladesh

RAP

Bangladesh

RAP

Cambodia

RAP

India

RAP

Philippines

RAP

Sri Lanka

RAP

Sri Lanka

RAP

Thailand

RAP

Viet Nam

RAP

Viet Nam


SAPA

Fiji

SAPA

Samoa


RLC

Barbados

RLC

Bolivia

RLC

Ecuador

RLC

El Salvador

RLC

Guatemala

RLC

Haiti

RLC

Honduras

RLC

Mexico

RLC

Nicaragua

RLC

Nicaragua


SEUR

Armenia

SEUR

Azerbaijan

SEUR

Georgia

Updates on selected FIVIMS Projects

6. As mentioned earlier in this document, the two EC FIVIMS projects have made significant contributions to the pilot countries since the last report to CFS. As this is the final year of these projects, one highlight has been presented for each country for 2003/2004. In Barbados, preliminary editing and layout of the report of the 2000 Barbados Food Consumption and Anthropometric Survey is complete. The analytical review of the conduct and use of household food consumption and anthropometric surveys in the Caribbean carried out by the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute has been finalised and the resulting guidelines document focusing on how to transform Food Consumption and Anthropometric data into decision making will be published by the end of 2004. In Cape Verde, all administrative zones have been classified according to demographic census variables most relevant to poverty and food insecurity to improve resource targeting of vulnerable groups. The results were validated through a survey carried out in one of the 17 municipalities and discussions with key local informants, and then presented in Praia in May 2004 to a group of users, consulted several times during development of the classification. In the Comoros, a Human Development Report on food insecurity and vulnerability prepared in collaboration with UNDP is expected to be issued in August 2004. In Fiji, a national workshop to formulate a national food insecurity and vulnerability information strategy was held in September 2003. This workshop followed an assessment of the existing information systems. Representatives from Fiji and Samoa participated in the ‘Regional Workshop on Strengthening Food and Agricultural Statistics in the Pacific in support of Food Security and Poverty Reduction Strategies and Programmes’ which discussed development of MDG indicators and national FIVIMS. The meeting saw regional training in FIVIMS as a general priority, with six countries expressing interest in capacity building in FIVIMS at the national level.

7. In Burkina Faso, the Plan of Action for strengthening food security information systems was adopted in March 2004 by the committee responsible for its preparation and is expected to be endorsed by the Council of ministries before the summer break. In Haiti, the project partner organisation CNSA (Coordination Nationale de SÚcuritÚ Alimentaire) continue to develop information products, within an information dissemination strategy built on the Food Security Baseline Report issued in early 2003. These now comprise five quarterly food security reports distributed to 700 members of national and international organisations, NGOs, civil society. A new product will soon be issued to support the reconstruction effort with information provided every two weeks on food availability and prices in local markets, food imports, agro-climatic situation for early warning purposes and food security status of vulnerable groups). The project also supports the creation of a website to increase access to these products. In Kenya, in addition to coordinating targeted training of key staff based on a training needs assessment, the project’s Food Security Information Advisor contributed a chapter to the National Task Force Meetings on Nutrition Information Management and Policy on national trends in nutritional status that highlighted the potential of using vulnerable groups as a basis for improving resource allocation. In Madagascar, a national food security report focusing on key food security questions and suggestions to reduce food insecurity was endorsed at a national workshop involving representatives from key food security institutions and NGOs in November 2003.

8. As set out in the previous report, initial activities under the project ‘Support for the establishment of a pilot FIVIMS’ in India have started. The project is currently working in two pilot states and is being tailored to match the revamped food security programme that the Government is now putting into place.

9. It is clear from the experience gained in implementing FIVIMS projects since 1999, that FIVIMS is a gradual process which cannot be rushed. National ownership is critical to the long term sustainability – and this needs to be not merely technically acceptable but also be politically endorsed and mandated. If a FIVIMS project is seen as merely technical its impact will be limited in time and scope. There needs to be a clear link between the project and the needs of decision makers and information users for it to be institutionalised with adequate resources. This creates challenges in the identification of appropriate entry points – who are the target users and what are their needs – which need to be considered in the design and implementation of future FIVIMS projects. Closer involvement of appropriate regional and international organisations could help develop an overall strategy to focus future priority areas for work which could then be fine-tuned after consultations and negotiations with in-country partners. At all levels, from international to sub-national, functional and active partnerships are critical for success, as reflected in the focus of FIVIMS on networks, both of information systems and relevant agencies. Building and maintaining constructive partnerships requires time, resources and skills, all issues which need to be considered in considering the design of future work.

III. THE IAWG-FIVIMS INITIATIVE

A. THE IAWG-7 AND 8 MEETINGS AND THE OUTCOME OF THE FIVIMS EXTERNAL ASSESSMENT

10. The IAWG-7 meeting, held in Nairobi involved participants from 16 sub-Saharan African countries as well as representatives from 7 IAWG members. There were 10 participants and observers from Kenya, a reflection on the venue and involvement/interest of Kenya institutions in FIVIMS activities. This was also reflected in the high level bipartisan political opening and subsequent coverage of the event in the local media. Technical presentations focused on vulnerability assessment and poverty mapping experiences in the region. The mix of agency and country perspectives and experiences with FIVIMS contributed to a strengthened country agency dialogue and helped identify new partnerships and opportunities for FIVIMS work in Africa. Participants felt that the Initiative had reached a critical turning point with greater acceptance of its approaches and principles at country and regional level, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The meeting recognised the need for a healthy balance between a formal but flexible framework for a FIVIMS system for institutional commitment and long-term sustainability matched with individual enthusiasm and dedication.

11. The IAWG-8 meeting held in Rome, involved 24 participants representing 14 IAWG-FIVIMS member agencies and focused on the External Assessment (EASP) results and their implications. The main issues raised in the EASP were discussed, i.e. the Secretariat’s roles and function, lack of clear mandate and objectives, and absence of institutional buy-in to the Initiative. Some suggestions were made on how to address these, focusing on core tasks and products for a redesigned FIVIMS Initiative and the possible and necessary processes (e.g. structure of the Initiative) and outputs (e.g. SOFI etc) that would be required. The three broad options proposed by the EASP Team were reviewed in detail. These options ranged from a complete dissolution of an Inter-Agency FIVIMS Initiative (return to individual agency work programmes), a dismantling of the Inter-Agency component of the Initiative with FAO retaining leadership in FIVIMS activities, recognising current reality, or recasting IAWG-FIVIMS to make it more viable as an inter-agency initiative.

12. The meeting endorsed continuation of FIVIMS as an Inter-Agency Initiative recognising the need for a clear mandate, shared and realistic objectives, adequate resources and explicit consideration of institutional factors. The meeting addressed these issues from both process and output perspectives. It was agreed that FAO should be recognised as the lead agency in FIVIMS. Institutional arrangements were proposed to help set strategic and technical priorities, improve agency ownership, and build credibility in the broader development arena. This structure comprised a Technical Advisory Group, Steering Group and an Annual General Meeting. It was agreed that the FIVIMS Secretariat would continue to be hosted by FAO, and that FAO would provide support to the FIVIMS entities in return for an acknowledged leadership role.

B. FUTURE STEPS FOR IAWG FIVIMS

13. As a result of the IAWG-8 meeting, it was agreed that a business plan be developed for Inter-agency FIVIMS for which CIDA has committed funds up to CAN$250,000. This will include a work plan and mandate, appropriate organisational structure and resources required to produce concrete products. The overall time frame is four months, with a possible starting date of September/October. The finalised business plan will be widely circulated for comment. The intention that this business plan will be presented to Senior Management of the IAWG members for their endorsement following review by IAWG member representatives.

IV. THE FUTURE OF FIVIMS

14. The recent external assessment of the FIVIMS Initiative has provided an ideal opportunity for reflection and refocusing for all concerned with FIVIMS, which will help guide interventions and support that is more responsive and integrated. At country level, there will be an intensification of support to FIVIMS, with the launch of new programmes in 2004 supported by the European Union, FNPP and CIDA, helping to sustain the impact that has been achieved to date by those projects. The experiences and lessons learned from the earlier FIVIMS projects as well as ongoing activities will be capitalised upon to distil best practices which will be shared at the national, regional and global levels to support the development and maintenance of a FIVIMS network or community of practice.

15. Relatively greater weight will be given to involving users of food insecurity and vulnerability information to strengthen its use and application in policy and programmes. Over time, this focus on demand rather than supply should help increase resource allocation as users invest in an information system that meets their needs. The inclusion of advocacy and communication elements in FIVIMS projects will help to improve understanding of information needs. Country level capacity development will continue to be a cornerstone of FIVIMS work with countries, with the specific focus varying according to the country’s needs. FIVIMS work at all levels will continue very much in the framework of partnerships.