1.4 Added Value

The IPC process begins with the formation of an in-country Working Group, referred to as the IPC Technical Working Group, hosted by the government where feasible and composed of relevant national stakeholders, and usually including representatives of the government, United Nations agencies and NGOs. These Technical Working Groups can be either new groups or embedded within existing coordination structures. The Technical Working Groups are the foundation of country-level implementation and are crucial for ensuring the consistency, sustainability and use of the IPC. 

Since its introduction in 2004, the IPC has become the internationally accepted reference for analysis of food security and, increasingly, for Acute Malnutrition crises. The IPC therefore has considerable advantages for both analysts and decision-makers, including:

  • Setting of the global standard: The IPC provides a common language for classifying the severity and magnitude of acute and Chronic Food Insecurity and Acute Malnutrition. It is applicable across and between regions and countries over time.
  • Global and national applicability: The IPC can be applied in almost any situation and is supported by rigorous protocols that allow the use of a wide range of evidence. Evidence is framed in the applicable national context and analysed against global references through a consensus-based approach led by teams of experienced analysts.
  • Convergence of evidence: The IPC is an approach to consolidate complex evidence from different methods, sources and periods, following a set of specific protocols. Although the IPC identifies selected indicators, it also requires the inclusion of other supporting evidence and consideration of local and historical contexts. 
  • Technical consensus: Situations involving food insecure and malnourished populations are multifaceted and complex, subject to interpretation by multiple stakeholders at the macro, sectoral and local levels. The IPC serves as a platform to bring together stakeholders from all levels in order to facilitate a consensus-based approach to understanding the problem. One of the hallmarks of the IPC is the multi-sectoral cooperation and technical consensus, which ensures that the results of the analysis are widely accepted and acted upon, thus promoting responses that are better coordinated and targeted, and more effective.
  • Comparability over space: Decision-makers need to be able to compare the situations from one area to another, both within and across countries. The IPC facilitates such a comparative analysis by providing globally accepted and widely adopted criteria for food security and nutrition classification.
  • Comparability over time: The IPC allows time series-based trend analysis to facilitate understanding of the evolution of situations as they unfold in order to determine the short- and medium-term strategic response priorities.
  • Effective early warning: Decision-makers need forecasting of the potential timing, severity and magnitude of any forthcoming crisis. Without a common technical understanding to describe crises, early warning messages can be ambiguous and go unheeded. The IPC provides clear protocols for projecting and communicating potential critical situations, informing early relief planning to prevent or limit the severity of forecasted acute food insecurity and acute malnutrition. 
  • Transparency through evidence-based analysis: IPC food security and nutrition situation analyses are fully transparent in how findings were reached and conclusions made, ensuring credibility at every stage of the process. The IPC establishes clear protocols to support and guide high standards of transparency and rigour. As the IPC draws on existing evidence in the public domain, all underlying data should be accessible to anyone. Furthermore, analysis worksheets should be provided upon request.
  • Better accountability: In an IPC analysis, a meticulous process tracks every decision (and the data supporting it) from start to finish. Findings are based on consensus, ensuring ownership throughout the classification process. The IPC therefore provides high levels of both credibility (i.e. the analysis process can be clearly followed) and dependability (i.e. open to external checks and review), reinforced by a comprehensive Quality Assurance process.
  • Identification of data gaps: Although the IPC is not a data collection tool, it can help identify critical data gaps or quality issues, encouraging investments and improvements in future data collection (Box 2).