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Topic: Vulnerability

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A Common Analytical Model for Resilience Measurement

This paper published by the Food Security Information Network (FSIN) proposes a common analytical model that comprises six components upon which resilience measurement may be based. It also:

  • defines resilience capacity as a multi-dimensional, multi-level mediator of shocks and stressors;
  • identifies the points at which data should be collected;
  • highlights the need to collect data on initial states, shocks, subsequent (post-shock) states and contextual influences;
  • proposes how to construct resilience capacity measures using ten categories of indicators;
  • outlines the importance of using multiple (quantitative and qualitative) methods and both objective and subjective indicators; and
  • describes estimation models that might be used to assess the impact of resilience.

The next outputs of the TWG will be short papers which contain guidance in targeted areas of resilience measurement.

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Resilience Measurement Principles - Toward an Agenda for Measurement Design

The Food Security Information Network (FSIN) supports the development and harmonization of resilience measurement methods. A technical working group composed of renowned experts was constituted to lead the identification of resilience measurement principles and the development of a common analytical framework and technical guidelines for measurement.

This paper is an initial step toward the development of resilience measurement design used by stakeholders (e.g. programme staff, monitoring and evaluation, policy makers). It outlines:

  • A definition of resilience
  • A series of measurement design principles
  • General technical guidelines for Resilience Measurement commonly used to promote rigor in all measurement approaches
  • A set of substantive issues and analytical concerns

This publication is the first in a series of three papers that will be issued over the course of the next year, which will focus on an analytical framework that addresses the challenges, issues and concerns associated with resilience measurement.

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Why has Africa become a net food importer?

That Africa has become a net importer of food and of agricultural products, despite its vast agricultural potential, is puzzling. Using data mainly for the period 1960-2007, this report seeks to explain Africa’s food-trade deficit since the mid-1970s. The core finding is that population growth, low and stagnating agricultural productivity, policy distortions, weak institutions and poor infrastructure are the main reasons. A typology of African countries based on data between 2000 and 2005 reveals that the state of food import dependency is different across the continent and varies according to countries’ levels of income. Although the few and relatively rich countries in Africa had the highest net food imports per capita (USD 185 per year in real terms), they had ample means to pay for their food import bills using revenue from non-agricultural sources. Conversely, the majority of the Africa’s low-income countries (mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa), where twothird of its population lives, had been net food importers; they imported far less food per capita (USD 17 per year) but had difficulty covering their food imports bills, as their export revenues were limited. Overall, between 1980 and 2007, Africa’s total net food imports in real term grew at 3.4 percent per year, but this growth was mostly fuelled by population growth (2.6 percent per year); the increase in per capita food import was only about 0.8 percent per year. Food consumption on per capita basis grew only at about 1 percent per year, while food production grew at an even smaller rate of less than 0.1 percent per year. The slow growth of food consumption and imports per capita is consistent with the weak economic growth and unchanged dietary pattern in the continent. Food import share, regardless of income levels, is relatively small and represents less than 5 percent of per capita income (GDP per capita). Because the share of food expense in household income is generally high in Africa, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, that the share of food imports over GDP is small implies that domestic production has largely contributed to feeding Africa’s population. Still, domestic food production has remained relatively low and increased only by 2.7 percent per year, just barely above population growth rate. This implies that any increase in per capita consumption had to be met by an increase in imports. The weak growth in food production arises from various constraints including those linked directly to agricultural productivity. Data and evidence from literature highlight that technical, infrastructural and institutional constraints share the blame. Likewise, distortions arising from both internal and external economic and agricultural policies (especially the protection and subsidies from developed countries and taxation on food production within Africa) have affected food productivity, production and trade in Africa. However, the examples of a few successful practices in African agriculture and the fact that the domestic food production has managed to keep up with population growth inspire optimism that the future is not all dark. There is a lot of room for improvement for agricultural productivity in these low-income countries to the point at which production growth outpaces the growth of population and per capita consumption.

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Maternal nutrition in emergencies

Current evidence underlines the importance of the nutritional status of women as a crucial factor in the survival, healthy growth and development of her children. Although it is the subject of less global attention, maternal nutrition is also crucial for women’s own ability to live a healthy life.

The EC demonstrated its strong commitment to 'enhance maternal and child nutrition in external assistance' by adopting a nutrition policy in March 2013. Specifically in the humanitarian context, the Commission’s support is aimed at treating, preventing and alleviating maternal and child undernutrition, to reduce or avoid excess mortality and morbidity, in emergencies. For maternal nutrition in emergencies, the DG ECHO is concerned that there are a number of gaps at policy and practice levels and limited guidance is available, in order to efficiently and effectively address the needs for maternal nutrition.

A one-day technical roundtable on “Maternal Nutrition in Emergencies” was held in Brussels in November 2013, convened by DG ECHO. The meeting brought together key DG ECHO technical staff and partners, agency nutrition focal points, donors and technical experts. The aim of the round table was to discuss the evidence, current practice and issues related to maternal nutrition in emergencies and to suggest priority actions and initiatives required to address these gaps and challenges.

We would like to share with you the report of this event, prepared and facilitated by Emily Mates and Tanya Khara (ENN), composed of 2 parts. (1) The technical background paper, identified a number of gaps in the area of maternal nutrition in emergencies and formed the basis for discussions at the technical roundtable meeting. The review summarised the available literature relating to: women’s particular nutritional vulnerabilities, what the implications of these are for women and their infants, current international guidance on maternal nutrition and what is currently being done in emergency programming. A series of key gaps were highlighted as a result. (2) The meeting report provides an overview of the discussions held at the roundtable of the main issues, gaps and recommendations.

Key recommendations have been made during the technical roundtable, which will require follow-up. We would like to raise some of the issues and recommendations in future events and meetings, and will appreciate the support of our partners in carrying this issue forward.

Catherine Chazaly

DG ECHO Policy Officer – Nutrition

28.01.2014