Seminar on Vulnerability Mapping for Food Security

from: 05/11/2008 9:00 am
to: 06/11/2008 5:00 pm
where: JRC Ispra - Building 26B - Room 246 (2nd floor)


Knowing the spatial distribution of vulnerability to food insecurity as well as understanding the determining factors is a prerequisite in the situation analysis [1] needed for designing and planning responses to food insecurity.

A lesson from poverty mapping is the need to create maps that help governments, donors and development agencies to understand the underlying causes of poverty. Non traditional approaches such as environmental poverty mapping [2] help decision makers to piece together the causal processes of poverty which underscore the points for intervention.

In vulnerability to food security analysis and mapping a similar trend is emerging. Methods for analyzing and mapping livelihoods, such as the Household Economy Approach (HEA) [3] and the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) system, have evolved and are influencing food security mapping approaches and decision making. They offer more than a description of food insecurity; they bring together the most relevant indicators (e.g., NDVI, malnutrition, household food expenditures) that address the complexity of the issue and also say something about vulnerability.

Recognizing the utility of effective mapping tools for the EC and other decision makers, the seminar aims for technical collaboration amongst institutions, to produce dynamic vulnerability to food insecurity maps by adapting an environmental poverty mapping model currently in use for countries in the Horn of Africa.


To present some of the latest trends in food security, vulnerability and poverty mapping over the last 10 years.

To discuss some of the issues related to mapping vulnerability in the Horn of Africa.

To further develop the FOODSEC mapping strategy by including vulnerability to food insecurity within the context of EC activities in the Horn of Africa.

Through working group discussions on a) identify the indicators and databases for vulnerability to food insecurity analysis and mapping; b) apply an environmental poverty mapping model for mapping vulnerability to food insecurity.

Organizational Context / Participants

This technical seminar is organized by the FOODSEC [4] project of the JRC, in the frame of an Administrative Arrangement with DG AIDCO for the provision of technical support to food security information systems and assessments in the Horn of Africa [5].

The seminar will group 30 participants from various organizations (FAO, WFP, World Bank, IFPRI, EC) working in food-security, and vulnerability analysis and poverty mapping.

It will be an occasion to bring together experts who are working on the socio-economic aspects of food insecurity, crop production monitoring, GIS/Remote Sensing specialists and EC program managers to share experiences and to build collaboration on vulnerability analysis and mapping.

The outcomes of the workshop (presentation, synthesis) will be published and diffused to relevant partners in the Horn of Africa.

[1] An analysis of the relevant technical, environmental and institutional variables in emergency situations is gaining momentum as a key analytical approach in humanitarian practice and decision making.

[2] The environmental approach has been applied and tested in Uganda as part of a collaborative partnership between the FAO, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics and University of Oxford. The project is partly funded by the EU. See Environmental Approaches to Poverty Mapping: an example from Uganda. Information Development vol.23, No. 2/3.

[3] HEA is a method for assessing rural household survival based on an analysis of food and non-food expenditures. It defines food economy areas (geographical areas in which households share similar livelihood strategies) and populations (groups of households sharing similar food access strategies).

[4] The FOODSEC project of the JRC started in 2000 and has developed in support to EU Food Security policies. In partnership with the FAO, the team produces specific crop monitoring systems on 4 pilot regions (South America, central Asia/ Russia, Mediterranean, Horn of Africa). The AGRI4CAST project of the same Unit ensures official crop monitoring and yield forecasts for Europe and neighboring countries.

[5] Administrative Arrangement "Technical support to Horn of Africa Food Security Information System & Assessment”, 2006-2008, ref (Ref. CRIS/FOOD/2005/0114-046)