Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism (FMM)

Better information for better policies: setting the global standard to measure food insecurity

Key impacts

  • 140 countries since 2014 have data collected annually on food insecurity and 24 countries are seeking FAO support on to improve food insecurity monitoring.
  • 37 countries in Africa, 25 in Asia and 30 in Western Asia and the Near East benefitted from regional trainings and workshops.
  • Over 60 countries and 6 regional institutions are benefitting from technical advice and training, to support foodin security monitoring.

Measuring food insecurity worldwide is crucial to assess progress towards hunger eradication, to understand the drivers and consequences of food insecurity, and to form and evaluate policies and programs that move us closer to a world without hunger.

FAO, through the Voices of the Hungry Project (VoH), is striving to improve the way in which household and individual food insecurity is measured.

With the support of the UK and Belgian governments, VoH led to the establishment of the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES). The FIES, based on a survey module that asks eight simple yes/no questions, measures people’s inability to access food. When included in large-scale, multi-topic household surveys, the FIES can reveal the sociodemographic and geographic characteristics of food insecure people.

In March 2016, the UN Statistical Commission selected the Prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the population, based on the FIES as one of the indicators to be used to monitor SDG Target 2.1. The SDG monitoring framework was officially adopted by the UN General Assembly on 6 July, 2017.

Thanks to resources made available by its partners, FAO has collected FIES data in over 140 countries every year since 2014 through the Gallup World Poll, an annual survey of adult individuals. Results from the analysis of these data were featured for the first time in the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017 Report, which assesses progress towards the food security and nutrition targets set by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Consistent with the strong call for country ownership of food security data and assessments in the context of the SDGs, FAO is working to ensure that more countries can generate and analyse FIES data and report on the SDG target. FAO has reached out to more than 60 countries and six regional institutions to promote the use of the FIES, and developed free online materials, including an e-learning course and software package.

Among the countries that benefited from direct FAO technical support is Indonesia. Mr Gantjang Amannullah, Director of People Welfare Statistics in Indonesia, and his team took part in a training session alongside the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health, academia, civil society organizations, businesses, donors and UN agencies. According to him, the FIES brings “relevance to policy making by government to overcome insufficient food security in certain regions.”

Twenty-nine countries have included the FIES survey module in their national surveys, and fifteen more plan to do so. Ten countries are already using their own national experience-based food security scale. By the end of 2019, about one‑third of UN member countries could be using the FIES (or a compatible tool).

The usefulness of the FIES goes beyond SDG monitoring. The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) – a multilateral mechanism assisting in the implementation of pledges made by the G20 to improve incomes and food and nutrition security in low-income countries – has identified the FIES as a key tool for monitoring and evaluation. USAID’s Office of Food for Peace now requires all development projects it supports to include the FIES as an indicator for monitoring progress.

In 2018, the project will reach out to several more countries to further transfer ownership of the FIES methods, allowing them to better track, and therefore respond to, food insecurity.


Voices of the Hungry
(FMM/GLO/106 -120/MUL)

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