WFP and ICIMOD renew agreement to improve food security monitoring in Nepal

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) recently launched a new online Food Security Information System to map and visualize patterns of food security, poverty and malnutrition in Nepal. This latest online system includes easy-to-read data regarding regular food security indicators, monthly food market prices, and interactive graphics that indicate levels of food security to the sub-district level.

As part of its mission to monitor food security and vulnerabilities associated with disasters, climate change and other factors in Nepal, WFP renewed its agreement with ICIMOD to improve food security monitoring and analysis using earth observation (EO) technologies—remote sensing, geospatial products and field-based assessments—to compile, analyze, and disseminate comprehensive information on food security in Nepal. With this agreement, WFP and ICIMOD aim to provide timely information on potential agriculture production, flood and drought early warnings, and food security situations for the benefit of mountain and downstream communities and their environment.

Since the first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in October 2014, the two organizations have collaborated on a number of projects and initiatives—Forecast-based Finance (FBF), CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and Regional Agriculture Forecasting Toolbox (CRAFT). Through FBF, WFP assisted local governments in improving flood forecasts and developing impact scenarios based on forecast information provided by ICIMOD. For the CRAFT project, ICIMOD provided remote sensing products to estimate crop area for the Terai region. The results were jointly published by WFP, the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD), and CCAFS through the Nepal Food Security Monitoring System (NeKSAP).

During WFP’s emergency responses, including the 2017 floods and 2015 drought, ICIMOD provided satellite imagery which was instrumental for estimating flood inundation and drought areas, and identifying areas where relief efforts should be targeted.

The recently launched online system has been developed under the SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR-HKH) initiative at ICIMOD, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). UK aid funding from the UK government has remained critical for backstopping the capacity of NeKSAP.