Improving data collection and analysis to monitor progress towards the SDG targets using robust, statistically sound indicators for food and nutrition security
As African countries race against time to end hunger by 2030, improved data collection, analysis, and interpretation is critical in tracking progress toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2) on zero hunger, nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture.
The accuracy and reliability of the basic data in monitoring SDGs is important for countries if they are to meet their commitment of ending hunger and malnutrition.
However, to date there are still significant data challenges to assessing progress on achieving the SDG 2.
In response, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with financial support from the Government of Japan through the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), has embarked on a project to enhance national capacities to ensure that the countries collect relevant, and timely data to produce and report on the SDG 2 Indicators.
Employing standardized tools to guide policies to end hunger
Under the project “Supporting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2.1 Monitoring by Strengthening Food Security and Nutrition information in Africa” the national data and statistics institutions in Angola, Mali, Senegal, and Tanzania, are being supported to collect, analyze, and monitor data on food and nutrition security using standardized tools whose estimates are internationally comparable to guide policies to end hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.
Particularly, FAO is strengthening the capacities of the countries to produce and evaluate data for the two indicators – the Prevalence of undernourishment (PoU) and the Prevalence of Moderate and Severe Food Insecurity based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) – used to monitor progress toward SDG 2.
The technical assistance is contributing to improved knowledge, technical capacities at sub-national, and national level to assess, monitor food insecurity and nutrition with a view to produce evidence-based policies to end hunger and malnutrition.
Angola: Using advanced analysis to identify the most food insecure
Since March 2020, the Government of Angola through the National Bureau of Statistics (INE) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in collaboration with FAO, have conducted numerous workshops – both online and in-country – on the methodological and technical analysis of the SDG 2.1.2 Indicator; the Prevalence of Moderate and Severe Food Insecurity based on the FIES. In the most recent workshop (July 2022) participants analyzed FIES data from the recently concluded Angola National Census of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (RAPP, 2020).
A comparative analysis of the data was done drawing from the Labour Force Survey of 2019 FIES data. To better understand the results and to identify the most food insecure populations advanced analysis was done, using multiple socio-economic, demographic, and geographic variables.
Mali: Food security cannot be measured by one indicator
The main objective was to reinforce the relevant institutions capacities in the technical analysis of the SDG 2.1 Indicators. In addition to the SDG 2.1 Indicators, other pertinent food and nutrition security indicators were discussed, analyzed and results compared to the SDG 2.1 Indicators to better understand how countries can better monitor the multi dimensionality of food and nutrition security.
It was reemphasized that food security is a phenomenon that cannot be measured by one indicator. As such, the FAO basket of food and nutrition security indicators, was thoroughly discussed and data from the Household Budget Surveys of 2018 and 2020 was used for the technical analysis of the indicators.
Senegal: Establishing a joint taskforce for the SDG 2.1 Indicators
Leading food security experts from the government and its partners were trained on the application and analysis of the FIES and Food Consumption Modules in surveys of varying representativity. The training initiated and strengthened the technical capacities of the structures involved in the monitoring of SDG 2 in the use of FIES and PoU indicators. A joint taskforce was established responsible for the SDG 2.1 Indicators in the country and their use in monitoring the evolution of food and nutrition security.
A preliminary report on the evolution of food and nutrition security in Senegal was drafted using the results derived from the analysis of the Household Budget Survey of 2018 to produce not only the FIES and PoU, but a basket of comparable and relevant indicators.
Tanzania: Bringing out gender disparities in access to food
The workshop brought together technical experts working on the preliminary food and nutrition security reports for both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar. It contributed to the capacity of government experts in the analysis, interpreting of the results and report writing. FIES and PoU methodologies were revisited and a final analysis of the Household Budget Surveys of 2017 and 2019 was done, in addition to generating relevant food and nutrition security statistics using the ADePT software. The results generated during the workshop served as a basis for the preliminary food security assessments reports.
A draft comprehensive food and nutrition security report had been finalized with the most vital results being disaggregated also at gender level to get an appreciation of the gender disparities in access to food. The report will inform the country’s progress in different sectors and serve as a guide to formulate sustainable policies and interventions for addressing food and nutrition insecurity.
The agreed upon indicators will consistently be collected, analyzed, and reported on to create a reliable trend.
“The Comprehensive Food Security Reports based on the PoU and the FIES indicators will be vital in Tanzania, not only in highlighting the food security situation, but also in the Government efforts to meet other SDGs,” Mwalimu Juma from Zanzibar’s Office of the Chief Government Statistician said.