Acute food insecurity refers to rapid-onset or short-term food insecurity of an extent that merits emergency response. Its severity is defined by assessing the degree to which households can meet basic survival needs and maintain normal livelihoods. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) phases mapped above represent FEWS NET’s analysis of the most likely acute food insecurity outcomes for near-term (4 months into the future) and medium-term (8 months into the future) projection periods.
FEWS NET classifications are IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follow all IPC methodological protocols but do not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
Countries that host FEWS NET offices and analysts are referred to as “presence countries.” More detailed, subnational analysis are produced for these countries, which is reflected on FEWS NET maps by fully classifying by IPC phase the area within the country borders.
Countries routinely monitored by FEWS NET that do not have FEWS NET offices in the country are referred to as “remote monitoring” countries. These countries are indicated on FEWS NET maps through the use of a colored outline of the national border. The outline color represents the highest IPC classification for areas of concern within the country, but not necessarily for the country as a whole.
Analyzing the Drivers of Acute Food Insecurity
Acute food insecurity is a complex outcome, typically driven by a combination of economic, natural, political, and/or social factors. FEWS NET closely monitors and analyzes the nature, location, magnitude, and duration of these complex drivers, including but not limited to:
FEWS NET's Agroclimatology Team uses remote sensing satellite imagery to monitor and forecast climatic conditions in the world's most food insecure countries.
FEWS NET uses a standardized approach to gather information and develop assumptions about conflict as it relates to acute food insecurity in FEWS NET-monitored countries.
FEWS NET regularly monitors market prices, staple food production, macroeconomic indicators, trade policies, and shocks that affect market operations and trade.
Analysts working across 30 FEWS NET-monitored countries continuously gather evidence of the current food security situation in areas of concern. Our monitoring contributes to country-specific integrated food security analysis products and alerts on emerging or likely acute food insecurity crises.
Using the data and evidence from ongoing monitoring of the factors that influence food security – staple food prices, household income, rainfall, crop production, and more – our analysts forecast likely outcomes for the future.
To describe the current and anticipated level of acute food insecurity, our analysts use the widely accepted five-phase IPC acute food insecurity scale to help governments and other humanitarian actors understand the severity and magnitude of acute food insecurity and take action.
As an early warning system, we produce regular monthly reports, alerts, and themed special reports to provide decision-makers with forward-looking information to guide their humanitarian response plans. We also provide direct access to food security data through the FEWS NET Data Explorer (FDE) and data holdings listed on the main menu.