The impacts of bioenergy on Food Security have been highly debated. FAO’s Bioenergy and Food Security Criteria and Indicators (BEFSCI) project is currently developing a set of criteria, indicators, good practices and policy options on sustainable bioenergy production that safeguards and, if possible, fosters food security. We welcome comments and inputs on a set of “core” indicators that governments could use (on a voluntary basis) to monitor the impacts of modern bioenergy production on the four dimensions of food security.
Responses to food insecurity and malnutrition in emergencies have expanded dramatically in the past 5-10 years and improved needs assessment has increased willingness of donors to fund new alternatives to general food distribution and targeted feeding programs. However, the analytical process required to make intelligent choices among these new options has not always kept up. How can this process be improved?
The aim of this discussion is to gather feedback on which food and nutrition security indicators are being used and on the successes and challenges that the food and nutrition community is encountering when working with these indicators.
Monitoring commitment and capacity to act on food insecurity and malnutrition: the Food Security Commitment and Capacity Profile methodology
There is a global consensus that strong political commitment by Governments and development partners is key to the elimination of hunger and malnutrition. It is against this background that FAO has developed a methodology to assess and track efforts of national stakeholders to act on food insecurity and malnutrition: the Food Security Commitment and Capacity Profile (FSCCP) ( http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3998e.pdf ).
The methodology provides a tool that helps stakeholders to:
1. Carry out a systematic assessment of political commitment and capacity of countries to act on food insecurity and malnutrition;
2. Engage in evidence-based policy dialogue, planning and prioritization of investments in food security and nutrition; and
3. Monitor performance over time;
The methodology has been applied since 2013 in the context of FAO’s corporate Results Framework (http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/030/mk234ea1.pdf) for planning and monitoring progress of efforts to reduce hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.
The food security commitment and capacity country profile is designed as a balanced score card which provides a concise view of countries’ commitments and institutional capacities in terms of four key dimensions of the enabling environment, namely:
i. Policies, programmes and legal frameworks: i.e. the country has comprehensive policies/ strategies and investment programmes (based on evidence, addressing underlying causes of food insecurity and adopting a twin-track approach) that are supported by a legal framework;
ii. Human and financial resources: i.e. policies/strategies, programmes and legislation that are translated into effective action through the allocation of the necessary financial and human resources and solid administrative capacity of governments;
iii. Governance, coordination mechanisms and partnerships: i.e. the government regards food security and nutrition as an interdisciplinary priority by setting up a high level inter-ministerial unit responsible for the design, implementation and coordination of food security and nutrition responses, while ensuring accountability through its support to independent human rights institutions that provide people with means to file violations of the right to food. Furthermore, a government that takes on a lead role in managing partnerships and coordinated action across a broad range of actors and sectors involved in food security and nutrition at national/decentralized levels, creating space for civil society participation;
iv. Evidenced-based decision-making: i.e. decision-making on food security and nutrition that draws on evidence generated from functional information systems that make it possible to monitor trends; track and map actions; and assess impact in a manner that is timely and comprehensive, allowing for lessons learned to be fed back into the policy process.
For each of these four dimensions, the methodology paper outlines:
1. A set of core indicators and associated qualifiers;
2. The approach to producing a score for each of the qualifiers and indicators;
3. Details on the sources of the required data and information.
4. A survey instrument and secondary data collection tools.
Apart from helping FAO to measure the outcome of its work on food security and nutrition, it is expected that the country profiles will also stimulate debate on how to improve the enabling environment for food security and nutrition and promote more systematic learning and sharing of experiences.
It would be interesting to hear from the experiences of other agencies and sectors that are monitoring political commitment.