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Strengthening food and nutrition security information systems

Strengthening food and nutrition security information systems

The Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) launched in July 2019 a regional policy dialogue to improve the availability and quality of information on the food and nutrition situation. The aim is to boost Food and nutrition information systems (FNS-ISs) to provide more reliable, consensual and timely information for decision-making. The study is conducted by the ICON-Institute and co-ordinated by CILSS and the SWAC/OECD Secretariat. It is a key priority for the RPCA reform plan and is funded by the European Union through the project “Improving the governance of resilience, food and nutrition security, and sustainable agriculture in West Africa (PAGR-SANAD). Key findings will be presented at the 35th RPCA annual meeting on 2-4 December 2019.

Background

In spite of the initiatives that have been taken to support and build capacity of national mechanisms, most governments are finding it very difficult to implement sustainable funding mechanisms for their national FNS-ISs, starting with a sufficient and sustainable budget allocation. The data needed to conduct the Cadre harmonisé analyses (CH) in some countries is lacking, which is a recurring problem in the Sahel and West Africa region.

The lack of information deprives public authorities of the data needed for decision-making. This led the Network – at its April 2018 RPCA restricted meeting – to recommend that a regional conference be organised by ECOWAS, UEMOA and CILSS, with the participation of relevant ministries, including the ones in charge of budget and planning as well as parliaments, to agree on concrete commitments to sustainable funding for FNS-ISs.

Moreover, the quality, independence, production process and other aspects of FNS information are also an issue of concern and are increasingly contested by stakeholders. Aside from the methods that are often questioned, the first external evaluation of the PREGEC Charter also pointed to a lack of dialogue/consultation mechanisms for analysing and validating the information at the national level.

Other problems concern the lack of capacity of national information systems in collecting data needed for more relevant analyses and inadequate government leadership in some countries in conducting the information production process. These harmful inadequacies in applying the principles and commitments of the PREGEC Charter have resulted in a growing temptation on the part of each actor to want to produce its own information, which contradicts the principles of the Charter.

Objectives

The overall objective of the study is to enhance the capacity of national and regional FNS-ISs to deliver complete and reliable information accessible at all times to all stakeholders in order to foster evidence-based decision-making on preventing and managing food crises.

Specific objectives:

  • Prepare a comprehensive analysis of the current state of FNS-ISs in the 17 countries;
  • Improve the understanding of the underlying causes of the deficiencies related to implementing the procedures designed to ensure the availability of reliable and consensus-based FNS information at the national level.
  • Analyse the mechanisms and strategies intended to ensure permanent and sustainable funding for national FNS-ISs.

Next steps

Step Tasks Date/Period
1. Inception Workshop with the team of consultants, Lomé (Togo) 18-20 July 2019
2. 1st  meeting of the Steering Committee (CoPil) : Validation of the methodological guide, Lomé (Togo) 22 July 2019
5. Validation of national reports 23-27 September 2019
6. Submission of the draft summary report 18 October 2019
7. CoPil comments on the draft summary report 21 October-1 November 2019
8. Conclusions shared with RPCA members during the
35th RPCA annual meeting, Conakry (Guinea)
2-4 December 2019
9. Submission of the final report 20 December 2019
10. Preparation for the high-level regional conference December 2019 – March2020
11. Conclusions shared with decision-making bodies of IGOs (ECOWAS, UEMOA, CILSS) December 2019 – April 2020
12. Awareness-raising and political mobilisation at country level in preparation for the regional conference January – February 2020
13. High-level regional conference May – June 2020