Integrated Food Security Phase Classification Technical Manual, Version 1.1.

  1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Within the cross-cutting field of food security analysis there are increasingly strong calls for improved analysis. These include: the greater comparability of results from one place to another, increased rigour, greater transparency of evidence to support findings, increased relevance to strategic decision making, and stronger linkages between information and action. Improving analysis along these lines would enable food security and humanitarian interventions to be more needs-based, strategic, and timely.

Central to meeting these challenges is the development of a classification system that is generic enough to be utilized in a vast array of food security situations, disaster types, and livelihood systems; simple enough to be practical in the field and understood by multiple stakeholders; and rigorous enough to meet international standards.

Since February 2004, the Food Security Analysis Unit for Somalia (FSAU1 ) has been using and progressively developing a tool to meet these challenges called the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC2 ). Drawing from extensive literature on international humanitarian guidelines, aspects of existing classification systems, and in-situ analysis of food security in Somalia, the IPC has consistently proven to improve analysis and enable more effective response.

Since the original release of the IPC manual in 2006, many countries in Africa, Asia, and Central America have introduced the IPC for improved food security analysis. Based on these field experiences, and wider technical consultations among governments, UN agencies, donors, NGOs, and academic agencies, this revised IPC Manual Version 1.1 introduces key structural changes and provides clarification on select issues. See the foreword of this Version 1.1 for a summary of these revisions and clarifications.

The IPC is a set of protocols for consolidating and summarizing Situation Analysis, a distinct, yet often overlooked (or assumed) stage of the food security analysis-response continuum. Situation Analysis is a foundation stage where the fundamental aspects (severity, causes, magnitude, etc.) of a situation are identified. These aspects have received an optimal broad-based consensus from key stakeholders including governments, UN agencies and NGOs, donors, the media, and target communities.

The analytical logic of the IPC is that varying phases of food security and humanitarian situations are classified based on outcomes on lives and livelihoods. Outcomes are a function of both immediate hazard events and underlying causes, as well as the specific vulnerabilities of livelihood systems (including both livelihood assets and livelihood strategies).
The outcomes are referenced against internationally accepted standards, and their convergence substantiates a phase classification for any given area. Each phase is associated with a unique strategic response framework, while the outcome configuration for any given situation guides the creation of a tailored response unique to that situation. While the phase classification describes the current or imminent situation for a given area, levels of Risk for Worsening Phase are a predictive tool to communicate the likelihood and severity of a potential further deterioration of the situation beyond the Phase Classification itself.

The IPC consists of four components including the Reference Table, Analysis Templates, Cartographic Protocols and Population Tables.
The IPC Reference Table guides analysis for both the Phase Classification and Risk of Worsening Phase. The Phase Classification is divided into five Phases - Generally Food Secure (1A and 1B), Moderately/Borderline Food Insecure, Acute Food and Livelihood Crisis, Humanitarian Emergency, and Famine/Humanitarian Catastrophe.

The five phases are general enough to accommodate a wide range of causes, livelihood systems, and political/economic contexts - yet their distinction captures essential differences in implications for action (including strategic design, urgency, and ethical imperative).

Each Phase is linked to a comprehensive set of Key Reference Outcomes on human welfare and livelihoods which guide the classification. These include: crude mortality rate, acute malnutrition, disease, food access/availability, dietary diversity, water access/availability, destitution and displacement, civil security, coping, and livelihood assets.

The breadth of outcomes enables triangulation and ensures the adaptability of the IPC to a wide variety of situations.
Referencing outcomes to international standards ensures comparability and consistency of the phase classification in different countries and contexts.