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Regional Hunger and Vulnerability Programme (RHVP) - Wahenga

A review of the Integrated Food Security and Phase Classification (IPC)

Mark Lawrence, Nick Maunder

Regional Hunger and Vulnerability Programme (RHVP) - Wahenga

May 2007

SARPN acknowledges the Regional Hunger and Vulnerability Programme as the source of this document:
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This brief reviews the Integrated Food Security and Humanitarian Phase Classification (IPC). This is a system for defining the severity of a situation (from ‘generally food secure’ to ‘humanitarian catastrophe’), based on a wide range of indicators of the impact of hazard events on human health and welfare. It integrates food security, nutrition and livelihoods information into a clear statement about the severity of a crisis with the aim of eliciting more timely responses that match local needs. There is a long established need to generate comparable analysis of current levels of food insecurity and this information can better guide the allocation of humanitarian resources either globally, nationally or regionally. The IPC is being seen as a major step forward in improving food security information systems and response mechanisms to addressing hunger and vulnerability. However, set against this are a number of significant weaknesses in the IPC. It is generally accepted that the IPC is at the piloting stage, and it is important that these issues are addressed before it can be realistically rolled out fully.

The Integrated Food Security and Phase Classification, or IPC, brings together a number of distinct elements, namely:

  • A Situation Analysis of the severity, causes, and magnitude of the problem
  • Early Warning Levels to identify trends
  • Cartographic Protocols to communicate to decision makers both the phase and trend
  • A Strategic Response Framework that links the analysis to response recommendations.
Each of these components has been considered, looking at both strengths and weaknesses of the approach and suggesting ways of addressing a number of the perceived weaknesses. This brief is a summary of these findings, of which a full report is now available on

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