Vulnerability analysis

The socio-economic impacts of food insecurity are explicitly linked to vulnerability. Vulnerability is determined by both exogenous (hazards, market prices, crop production) and endogenous processes (household access to food, coping strategies, food consumption, livelihoods). The main components of a vulnerability framework generally involve an understanding of who is vulnerable (in socio-political and economic terms), where they are located (in terms of exposure to hazard - geographic space), why they are vulnerable (shocks vs. underlying factors) and what is their resilience (coping capacities). The element of risk is implicit, as the vulnerability in both emergency and ‘normal’ situations relates to the presence or potential of some type of hazard. Hazards may be economic (recession, market failure), natural (drought, earthquake) or civil (war, inter-clan conflict). Vulnerability to food insecurity may also be a result of long-standing structural issues like chronic poverty or lack of access to services. FOODSEC is involved in the analysis of reasons and consequences of vulnerability, and the appropriate response identification, together with our partners at national, regional and global levels.


This line of analysis corresponds to the requirements of the 7th Framework Programme (FWP):2007- 2013 of the European Commission, and to the 2nd component of the EC Food Security Thematic Program on ‘linking information and decision-making to improve food security response strategies’. The objective is to provide information to the relevant European Commission Directorate Generals (DEV, AIDCO, ECHO, and RELEX) that could assist food insecure populations in developing countries. The EC uses these analyses to evaluate the amount of food aid and other forms of assistance that could be required in emergencies and to support longer term multi-sectored development. FOODSEC collaborates with existing programs and practices related to vulnerability and need assessments mainly in the Sub-Saharan Africa, and responds to specific needs for technical support in improving their methods and tools. Emphasis is given to aspects such as livelihoods analysis, influence of markets and alternatives to food aid, among others.


In the frame of an Administrative Arrangement with DG AIDCO, a strong priority is given to both the availability of food and access to food in the Sub-Saharan Africa. ‘Vulnerability’ related activities include,


  • Vulnerability and socio-economic analysis of current conditions;
  • Providing inputs to or possible supervision of research projects on vulnerability and food security;
  • Monitoring of national vulnerability/food security indicators described in mid-year bulletin;


  • Contributing to emergency food security and crop assessment missions; including participation as EC observers;
  • Participating in specific humanitarian initiatives in collaboration with international and local partners (e.g. Integrated Food Security Phase Classification - IPC);
  • Lead agency in a project to identify food security indicators to be used by relevant DGs for program development and project management;
  • Participating in capacity building activities (trainings, technical support);


  • Development of vulnerability - to food insecurity -maps.


  • 2009 - Emergency food security assessment methods; Food Security Indicators
  • 2008 - Vulnerability mapping.



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