New guidelines released to enhance food insecurity, malnutrition analysis

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New global guidelines have been published by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) initiative, to further hone food security and nutrition analysis processes for better and more actionable information during humanitarian crises.

After thorough consultations, food security and nutrition experts from 15 organizations released a third version of the IPC Technical Manual. In addition to the IPC’s Acute Food Insecurity scale, it incorporates two new scales, measuring chronic food insecurity and acute malnutrition. It also includes a new classification of the IPC Acute Food Insecurity scale’s Phase 5, called ‘Famine Likely’.

Additionally, the updated manual introduces new data requirements to analyze areas with limited or no humanitarian access. The collection of high-quality food security and nutrition data in these locations has faced major challenges including security, legal and logistical constraints, often preventing humanitarian actors from reaching populations during emergencies.

To address these challenges, the IPC Technical Manual Version 3.0 introduces additional data collection modalities that target key access points to obtain evidence for IPC analysis. These access points include locations where populations have newly arrived after displacement, nearby locations, displacement camps, health centres and distribution points among others.

“This is a major development, especially for humanitarian crises in conflict contexts with little or no humanitarian access, because the IPC Technical Manual Version 3.0 will improve our ability to reach conclusions in these contexts to better inform decision-makers.” said José Lopez, the IPC Global Programme Manager.

The earlier versions were the basis for the declaration of Famine in Somalia in 2011 and in South Sudan in 2017, and informed humanitarian response decisions. The IPC Technical Manual Version 3.0, which includes protocols for the most severe crisis contexts, also sets a new global benchmark for Famine declarations with the introduction of the ‘Famine Likely’ classification.

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