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IPC Overview and Classification System

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is an innovative multi-partner initiative for improving food security and nutrition analysis and decision-making. By using the IPC classification and analytical approach, Governments, UN Agencies, NGOs, civil society and other relevant actors, work together to determine the severity and magnitude of acute and chronic food insecurity, and acute malnutrition situations in a country, according to internationally-recognised scientific standards.

The main goal of the IPC is to provide decision-makers with a rigorous, evidence- and consensus-based analysis of food insecurity and acute malnutrition situations, to inform emergency responses as well as medium- and long-term policy and programming.

The IPC was originally developed in 2004 to be used in Somalia by FAO’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU). Since then, a global partnership of 15 organizations is leading the development and implementation of the IPC at global, regional and country level. With over 10 years of application, the IPC has proved to be one of the best practices in the global food security field, and a model of collaboration in over 30 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

IPC BROCHURES (en and fr)

What the IPC is

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is an innovative multi-stakeholder initiative to improve analysis and decision-making on food security and nutrition.
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Understanding the  IPC Scales

The IPC provides a common scale for classifying the severity and magnitude of food insecurity and acute malnutrition, which improves the rigour, transparency, relevance and comparability of food security and nutrition analysis for decision-makers.
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The IPC Governance Structure

At the global level, the IPC is governed by the IPC Global Steering Committee and is composed of senior officers representing the 15 partner organisations. At the country level, Technical Working Groups (TWGs) form the foundation of the IPC governance structure.
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Implementing the IPC at the Country Level

At the country level, implementation is led by the IPC Technical Working Group (TWG), hosted by the government and composed of representatives of the government, United Nations agencies, specialised agencies and NGOs.
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IPC Classification

The IPC Classification System distinguishes and links acute food insecurity, chronic food insecurity and acute malnutrition to support more strategic and better coordinated responses.

The protocols used by the IPC are harmonized across the three individual scales (IPC Acute Food Insecurity, IPC Chronic Food Insecurity, and IPC Acute Malnutrition). This allows for the analysis of linkages between the three conditions and the possibility of detangling acute food insecurity, chronic food insecurity and acute malnutrition, in support of a more strategic response analysis.

Acute Food Insecurity

Chronic Food Insecurity

Acute Malnutrition

Strategic Guidance to Actions

Short-term objectives to prevent or decrease severe food insecurity that threatens lives or livelihoods.

Medium- and long-term improvement of the quality and quantity of food consumption for an active and healthy life.

Short- and long-term objectives to prevent or decrease high levels of acute malnutrition.

Specific Area of Interest

Food insecurity found at a specific point in time and of a severity that threatens lives or livelihoods, or both, regardless of the causes, context or duration.

Food insecurity that persists over time, mainly due to structural causes, including intra-annual seasonal food insecurity.

Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) is expressed by thinness of individuals and/or presence of oedema.

Classification Scale

5 Severity Phases

4 Severity Levels

5 Severity Phases

(1) Minimal/None

(2) Stressed

(3) Crisis

(4) Emergency

(5) Catastrophe/Famine

(1) Minimal or no CFI

(2) Mild CFI

(3) Moderate CFI

(4) Severe CFI

(1) Acceptable

(2) Alert

(3) Serious

(4) Critical

(5) Extreme Critical

Analytical Focus

Identifying areas with large proportion of households with significant food energy gaps or livelihood change strategies that can endanger lives or livelihoods.

Identifying areas with large proportion of households with long-term inability to meet adequate food requirements both in terms of energy and micronutrient needs.

Identifying areas with large proportion of children wasted and/or with oedema.

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