The Integrated Food Security and Humanitarian Phase Classification (IPC) is a system for defining the severity of a situation (from ‘generally food secure’ to ‘famine/humanitarian catastrophe’), based upon a wide range of indicators of the impact of a hazard event on human health and welfare (e.g. mortality rate, nutritional status, etc.).
There are obvious links between ‘outcome’ as measured by Household Economy Analysis (HEA) and phase. Since HEA takes into account the many and varied economic operations of individual households, the deficits calculated using HEA relate not just to access to food, but also to a number of other key reference outcomes included in the IPC (e.g. coping strategies, dietary diversity, destitution/displacement, etc.)
All the key reference outcomes used to define phase are current, i.e. they relate to the situation now. Given the usually long lead times between defining a problem and mounting a response this is a significant problem in terms of making the IPC an effective tool for linking information to action. The question is not just what is the phase now, but what is it likely to be in 6-12 months time? At the moment, predictions of future phase are subjective and based upon ‘expert’ judgement.
HEA provides a formal, quantitative method for predicting what phase might be reached within the next 12 months. HEA is a method of assessing needs (whereas the IPC is a classification scheme). HEA can complement the IPC by estimating numbers of people in need, types of assistance required, amounts of assistance required, timing and duration of assistance, etc.
This paper explores the complementarities between HEA and the IPC. Readers familiar with both HEA and the IPC are recommended to read sections 1.1 and 1.41.7. Readers requiring an introduction to HEA will find this in Section 2.