Data collection and analysis tools for food security and nutrition

HLPE e-consultation on the Report’s scope

Deadline 21 March 2021

CSM is launching a call for a new Working Group on Data.

If you are interested please write to the CSM Secretariat!


During its 46th Plenary Session (14-18 October 2019), the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) adopted its four-year Programme of Work (MYPoW 2020-2023), which includes a request to the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (CFS-HLPE) to produce a report on “Data collection and analysis tools” for food security and nutrition, to be presented at the 50th Plenary session of the CFS in October 2022 (to access the MYPoW, please click here).

The report, which will provide recommendations to the CFS workstream “Data collection and analysis tools”, will:

  • Identify the barriers impeding quality data collection, analysis, and use in decision-making;
  • Identify specific high priority gaps in data production and analysis not covered by ongoing initiatives;
  • Highlight the benefits of using data and the opportunity costs of not using data for decisions;
  • Illustrate initiatives that have encouraged evidence-based decisions in agriculture and food security across the public, private, and academic sectors as well as approaches that have not worked;
  • Provide insights into how to ensure data collection and its utilization give voice to the people most affected by policies stemming from that data, including farmers and other food producers.

To implement this CFS request, the HLPE is launching an open e-consultation to seek views and comments on the following scope and building blocks of the report, outlined below.

Please note that in parallel to this scoping consultation, the HLPE is calling for interested experts to candidate to the Project Team for this report. The call for candidature is open until 28 February 2021. Read more here.

Draft scope of the HLPE Report on “Data collection and analysis tools for food security and nutrition” proposed by the HLPE’s Steering Committee

“Although it is widely recognized that sound decisions are based on good information and data, in many countries, particularly low and lower middle-income countries, the availability of timely and reliable rural, agricultural and food security statistics is largely lacking. Despite all efforts, most of these countries still do not conduct regular household and farm surveys, do not meet the minimum data requirements, lack sustainable data systems, and have insufficient capacity to analyze and use the data at their disposal.

Addressing the gap in quality data is also essential to monitor progress and understand where the world stands in achieving its shared goals – the SDGs. Custodian UN specialized agencies were identified for each SDG indicator to ensure that robust, global statistics were provided to measure progress in achieving the 2030 Agenda. However, the success of the SDGs rests largely upon strengthening data collection and statistical capacity-development at national level, including capacity building that strengthens coordination among national statistical offices.

In recent years, several initiatives[1] have begun to invest in strengthening national data systems through technical assistance, methodological innovation and research, and by supporting national capacity to collect, process, analyze, and use agricultural data. Yet, beyond these first steps, more needs to be done at the global level to support the process of laying the groundwork for informed decision making, setting standards for improved data-driven policies around food security and nutrition, and strengthening effective monitoring, review and follow- up to deliver SDG 2.

Of course, data sources are wide and varied and should be collected and utilized with an eye towards transparency, openness, and consistent with legal standards and relevant human rights principles.” (CFS MYPoW).

In particular, data-driven technology (e.g Internet of things) generates concerns of data privacy and farmer agency, especially when farm-specific production data are transferred to the private sector. Another important concern is the data and digital divide, which may further exacerbate rural inequalities remaining inaccessible to poor and food insecure farmers.

The objectives of this report are to identify challenges and gaps in collecting, analysing and using data in decision-making processes on food security and nutrition. The report will reflect on existing conceptual frameworks underpinning data collection, analysis and use on FSN. The report will also identify successful examples and initiatives for data collection and generation, including those that engage all food systems’ actors (such as workers, farmers and producers) and that contribute to the valorization of indigenous knowledge.

The report will explore how qualitative research methodologies (including case studies, lived experiences, traditional, indigenous and local knowledge) can provide evidence for a deeper understanding of FSN issues and on sustainable agriculture practices. The recommendations will help countries better collect and analyse data to monitor their progress towards SDG2, and other related SDGs. The report will specifically explore what data analysis and tools are needed to  ensure that FSN policies address all the dimensions of food security, including, as identified by the HLPE, agency and sustainability (HLPE, 2020), and what are the specific challenges in measuring these two dimensions and the causalities of failures by achieving the FSN objectives. Particular attention will be devoted to challenges and solutions in empowering farmers, producers and workers in generating, accessing and using data and to data and information systems governance.

With this e-consultation, the HLPE Steering Committee is seeking your feedback. In particular, you are invited to:

  • Share your comments on the objectives and content of this report as outlined above.
  • Share good practices and successful experiences on how to:
  1. Improve quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis;
  2. Address capacity gaps of local institutions, farmers’, producers’ and workers’ organizations in generating, sharing and analysing good quality data data, as well as in using data to inform decision-making in food systems;
  3. Address capacity gaps at country level to generate and use data in policy-making processes, monitoring and reporting related to SDG2; including with respect to financial resources, human resources, data management, legislation and the enabling environment and FSN governance.
  • Share the most recent references that should be considered in this report.
  • Provide feedback on the following questions, to guide the development of the report:
  1. What data do countries need for more effective decision-making for food security and nutrition and to inform policies for the transformation of food systems?
  2. What are the gaps and barriers in national and international data production and use with respect to FSN? What type of data will be most useful in measuring food security dimensions such as “agency” and “sustainability”?
  3. What are the current national and international processes for the collection, processing, analysis, and use of reliable and accurate agricultural and food security and nutrition statistics? What are the main gaps, challenges and inequalities in existing processes?
  4. What are the policies that countries need to strengthen their capacity to collect, process, analyze and use quality qualitative and quantitative data to achieve the 2030 Agenda goals? What policy areas should countries prioritize to strengthen their data and information systems (education, technology, finance, participation, etc.)?
  5. What are the financing needs and the financial mechanisms and tools that should be established to allow all countries to collect, analyse and use FSN data?
  6. What are the most promising new developments with respect to innovation and information and communication technology, including artificial intelligence, in data collection, analysis and sharing that could be applied to food security and nutrition?
  7. How can agricultural census, rural and household surveys, earth observation and other big data be used to improve food security and nutrition policies and outcomes? How integrated and coordinated are these to provide needed reliable and timely data for food security and nutrition policies and interventions?
  8. What are some of the risks inherent in data-driven technologies for FSN? How can these risks be mitigated? What are some of the issues related to data privacy, access and control that should be carefully considered?
  9. What are the actual capacities of countries in monitoring the achievement of the SDGs, what are the capacity development needs, especially with respect to data for SDG2? What capacity development is necessary to ensure collection, analysis, monitoring and reporting of data on food security and nutrition at national and regional levels? How to ensure data harmonization at all levels?
  10. What are the gaps with respect to data collection and analysis tools for FSN vis-à-vis existing initiatives and programmes?
  11. How can the international community together with governments ensure data and information systems governance for FSN? Which mechanism or organization should ensure good governance of data and information systems? How to regulate and mitigate potential conflicts between public and private ownership of data?

[1] The Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics at FAO (GSARS), the World Bank’s Living Standard Measurement Study’s Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA), FAO’s AGRISurvey programme and the 50×2030 Initiative to Close Agricultural Data Gaps.


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