Improved Food and Nutrition Security Indicators
Policy makers from the Inclusive Green Growth (IGG) department of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs have improved and further specified the ‘Food and Nutrition Security Results and Indicator Framework’ 2019. This framework forms the basis for the presentation of the aggregated results of all initiatives that have been supported by the government towards the progressive realization of SDG 2. This information is updated on a yearly basis and presented to parliament as well as to the public at large.
Missing metrics to measure food insecure households
The ‘Results and Indicator Framework’ forms an important reference for food and nutrition security policies, programs and monitoring mechanisms. It is in fact an answer to findings of a recent IOB* evaluation: ‘Food for Thought’, which reviewed the Dutch food security policy between 2012 and 2016. The evaluation revealed the lack of specific metrics to measure inclusion of poor and/or food insecure households and to what extent interventions resulted in an improvement of the food and nutrition situation at household and individual level. Such metrics are needed to define whether proposed programs are targeting the right groups and whether the implemented intervention strategies have the expected results. Now that the ‘Results and Indicator Framework specifically refers to small scale food producers, instead of family farms, and internationally validated indicators for household food security and individual food intake are explicitly mentioned, monitoring, evaluation and reporting on contributions towards the realization of SDG 2 will be improved.
The road to close the leak
During various expert meetings with involvement of representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff of Civic Engagement Alliance has highlighted the lack of uniform and specific metrics to keep track of contributions to food security and nutrition improvement, while providing evidence - as well as experience - based suggestions for indicators and mechanisms for verification. Since 2017, when first lobby initiatives started, Alliance staff strategically collaborated with like-minded actors from the policy group of AgriProFocus as well as the Netherlands Working Group on International Nutrition (NWGN). We presented our experiences with - measuring progress on nutrition - during an expert meeting (May, 2108), organized by the Food & Knowledge Business Platform, as well as during the SDG-Conference, that took place in Wageningen in August 2018. Both events were attended by numerous government officials. In addition we have included our proposal for improved and more specific food and nutrition security indicators within lobby and advocacy letters to the Minister as well as to Members of Parliament during the course of 2018 and 2019. Finally we participated in a working session with government officials, combining our hands-on experience with proposed indicators, with evidence-based information from Wageningen Centre for Development and Innovation and the Royal Tropical Institute. This resulted in the actual improvement and further specification of the ‘Results and Indicator Framework’, specifically including proposed indicators such as: Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women (MDD-W) and Months of Adequate Household Food Provisioning (MAHFP).
*IOB is the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands