In 2002, FAO organized the first International Scientific Symposium (ISS) on the Measurement and Assessment of Food Deprivation and Undernutrition. The Symposium brought together a wealth of expertise, knowledge and experience on measuring and assessing food and nutrition security. It also gave impetus to the development of new methods and indicators of food and nutrition security by FAO and other institutions. The proceedings continue to be widely quoted in scientific literature.
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The 2002 ISS was the beginning of a global partnership for improving the measurement of undernourishment to monitor progress towards the World Food Summit goals. The 2002 ISS identified the need to further develop indicators for:
- measuring hunger
- understanding the complexity of food insecurity and vulnerability
- helping FAO monitor progress made in reducing hunger
Progress made since 2002 and future challenges
Since 2002, research, field activities and the increasing use of information networks have greatly contributed towards improving how we measure food insecurity and malnutrition.
However, chronic and severe poverty persist and new challenges such as price volatility and climate change have emerged. If countries are to develop effective policies and programmes to meet these challenges, there is a critical need for valid and accurate information to strengthen effective decision-making.
Recent advances in measuring food and nutrition security
Advances have been made in the way we measure and analyse information on food availability, access and utilization at all levels. There are many ongoing efforts to harmonize, standardize and validate measurement tools and methods.
The Symposium will highlight progress made since the 2002 International Scientific Symposium in generating and using information.
Food and nutrition security: linking information to decision-making
The Symposium will explore the complexities of linking information to decision-making and identify constraints and opportunities for strengthening these links. It will examine tools and practices for better using of food and nutrition security information, such as:
- generating impact evaluation information to contribute to the body of evidence used to formulate and improve food and security nutrition policies and programmes;
- stimulating demand for evidence by decision-makers and promoting its uptake through effective communication, and by using champions and knowledge intermediaries.
Looking forward: key priorities for influencing policy through evidence on food and nutrition security
The Symposium will provide the opportunity to formulate a research agenda for the next five years.
Data analysts and policy makers will thus have the opportunity to set priorities for common goals, including:
- improving measurement tools;
- using impact and cost-effectiveness studies to improvie policies and programmes;
- increasing dialogue between information analysts and decision-makers; and
- working with coalitions and knowledge brokers to strengthen links between information generation and effective decision-making.