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Launch of the IPC Chronic Food Insecurity Classification

Key Parameters, Tools and Procedures for evidence-based measurement of chronic food insecurity

Thanks to over two years of preparation and piloting of different prototypes, numerous and intense multi-partner technical discussions, the IPC Chronic Food Insecurity Classification is now ready and will be officially launched on 2 July in the context of the IPC Global Event, which will be held 1-2 July 2014 at FAO-HQs. 


The IPC Chronic Food Insecurity Classification has been developed to meet the country demand for better information and measurements of persistent food insecurity thus enabling to effectively develop medium and long-term programmes and policies.  It differs from and complements the IPC Acute Food Insecurity Phase Classification especially in stable contexts where food insecurity is mainly a factor of structural causes.


At the launch event, members of the IPC Global Chronic Working Group will present the key parameters, tools and procedures for classifying chronic food insecurity within the framework of the IPC Integrated Food Security Phase Classification. They will explain how the IPC Chronic Food Insecurity Classification fits within the overall IPC approach as well as the difference and complementarities between the IPC classification of acute and chronic food insecurity. The launch event will also serve as a platform to officially kick-start the roll-out of the IPC Chronic Food Insecurity Classification in 8 target countries in 2014 and further 40 countries from 2015 to 2018.


Purpose and tools of IPC Chronic Food Insecurity Classification


The purpose of the IPC Chronic Food Insecurity Classification is to increase the understanding of food insecurity that persists due to structural causes  in a given area, and to provide information for medium and long-term response planning and developmentally oriented interventions such as disaster risk reduction programmes, agricultural and rural development policies, strengthening livelihoods, and increasing resilience.


Like the IPC approach for analysing acute food insecurity situations, the IPC chronic food insecurity analysis follows the IPC core principles, such as consensus building and convergence of evidence, and is conducted according to the four IPC core functions. The difference between the IPC acute and chronic approach is visible in the concepts, key parameters and tools used to classify the chronic food insecurity conditions and to communicate the analysis results.   In particular, three core tools, the development of which required intense technical discussions, work and testing, differ from the ones used for the acute food insecurity analysis:

  • The Reference Table, which serves to classify population groups in terms of severity of chronic food insecurity and provides a description of each level of  chronic food insecurity and key implications for response together with the thresholds for different chronic food insecurity indicators;
  • The Analysis Worksheets for the analysis of evidence and underlying factors, and  chronic food insecurity classification ; and
  • The new Communication Template and Mapping Protocols to reflect the final overview of chronic food insecurity situation analysis and main conclusions for response planning and decision-making.


An All Inclusive Development Process and Next Steps


Initial plans for the development process of the IPC Chronic Food Insecurity Classification were made already in 2010. These led to the preparation of a prototype for chronic food insecurity analysis, which was included in the version 2.0 of the IPC Technical Manual in 2012. Over time and as the IPC acute food insecurity classification was rolled out to different countries around the world, governments and country teams  demanded not only tools for acute food insecurity analysis, but better information and measurements on the extent and severity of chronic food insecurity. 


To ensure global applicability the IPC Global Steering Committee prioritized the further development of tools and procedures for chronic food insecurity analysis and, in line with the IPC inclusive and consultative approach, the IPC Working Group  on Classifying Chronic Food Insecurity was established in autumn 2012 and engaged in two-year long process involving more than 200 professionals from 10 different countries in Asia, Southern Africa, East and Central Africa, and Latin America. 


This multi-partner working group with technical experts from the major food security agencies and the development sector has been crucial in designing and piloting different prototypes, defining concepts, indicators, thresholds, and different tools and guidance for analysis and, ultimately, achieving the finalized tools, protocols, and associated guidance for the roll-out of the IPC chronic food insecurity classification. 


The finalized tools for IPC chronic food insecurity classification were endorsed by the IPC Steering Committee in February 2014. Since then, the IPC Chronic Working Group has focused on finalization of the materials required for the roll-out of the chronic food insecurity classification which will be conducted in eight countries in 2014: Nepal, Bangladesh, Philippines, DRC, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, and El Salvador. From 2015 to 2018 the roll-out will continue in 30-40 countries, and the list of the countries included in this second phase of the roll-out is under finalization. 


In addition to the field application of the IPC Chronic Food Insecurity Classification, the IPC Chronic Working Group core members are also finalizing an addendum on the IPC Chronic Food Insecurity - key parameters, tools and procedures – which will be included in the IPC Technical Manual version 2.0. The addendum and training materials on the IPC-Chronic are expected to be released in September 2014. 

Publication date
Jun 2014
Food Security ClustersFEWS NETFAOThe Comité permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS)CARE InternationalACF
The World Food Programme (WFP)unicefSICASave the ChildrenOxfamThe Joint research Center (JRC) of the European CommissionIGAD