Re: Week 1 - Do you support the idea of a Food Security Information Network (FSIN)? What are your expectations?

Mr. Thijs Wissink FAO, Thailand
09/11/2012 - 16:24

Dear participants,

First of all I would like to thank all for your participation in this online stakeholder consultation, especially those of you have posted comments. Your initial comments are very useful and below you will find a short synthesis of what has been said so far.

Among the interventions received there was wide support for the FSIN initiative and its overall thrust. All participants welcomed the initiative and some mentioned it was high time or even overdue (Omiti, Mukhala). FSIN is thought to be especially relevant given the increasing complexity of emergency situations (Obong’o), increased attention to effective use of resources (Obong’o, Rutachokozibwa), and the need to draw lessons from recent food price crises (Omiti). Many interventions stressed the importance of decision makers and policy makers to base their work on high quality information (Omiti, Obong'o, Rutachokozibwa). Advice on the main thrust of FSIN included the need for FSIN to be flexible to tailor to different situations in the countries (Obong’o, Hlaing), to have a multi-sectoral approach (Hlaing) and to change the name into ‘Food and Nutrition Security Information Network (FNSIN)’(Rutachokozibwa).

Interventions generally supported the strong focus on capacity development under FSIN (Kilembe, Obong’o, Rutachokozibwa, Mukhala, Stacy). Specific aspects of capacity development that were mentioned included the need for a comprehensive approach addressing all four pillars of food security (Mukhala), the effective linking of new capacities to local policy making (Stacy), creation of a pool of expertise (Kilembe) and an education programme (Hlaing). It was also argued that information providers need to develop their capacities to enable them to produce demand-driven information using standard procedures, which enables comparison of data within and across countries/regions (Rutachokozibwa, Obong’o). In fact, standardization of methods for data collection and analysis was stressed by some participants as another area where they expect FSIN to play a key role (Mukhala, Rutachokozibwa). Mukhala also called for FSIN to play a role in sharing of datasets from different agencies. In addition, Rutachokozibwa mentioned advocacy and awareness raising among decision makers as means to increase their commitment to improve information systems. In vulnerable countries where resources and skills are lacking FSIN should play a role as a focal point for resource mobilization and promote sustainable capacity development.
Participants seem to be motivated and ready to cooperate with other stakeholders. To ensure a bottom up approach it was suggested that countries learn from each other (Kilembe) and extensive country-level stakeholder consultations (Obong’o). Interventions stressed the importance of national level networks/communities of practice to include a variety of stakeholders (Omiti, Obong’o, Stacy). Obong’o adds that different organizations bring on board key organizational strengths and resources, creating synergies. Stacy sees the encouragement of communities of practice under FSIN as a promise of greater sustainability. Hlaing calls for coordination mechanism to be strong enough to advice the decision-making process.

Thijs Wissink, Facilitator