New Global Food Insecurity Dataset at NASA's SEDAC

The dataset provides a picture of food insecurity over a 10-year period, in five global regions.

A new dataset at NASA’s Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) uses food security data from the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) to identify the level of intensity and frequency of global food insecurity between 2009 and 2019. The dataset also enables the identification of hotspot areas that have experienced consecutive food insecurity events during this period.

Map from SEDAC’s Food Insecurity Hotspots (2009 to 2019) dataset showing the 10-year global average food insecurity phase classification for Africa. Darker colors indicate higher 10-year average phases of food insecurity. Click on image for larger view. Data Source: Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) Columbia University. 2020. Food Insecurity Hotspots Data Set. Palisades, NY: NASA SEDAC. Map Credit: CIESIN Columbia University, June 2020.

Food insecurity is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations as a lack of regular access to enough safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life. The Food Insecurity Hotspots Data Set (2009 to 2019) (doi:10.7927/cx02-2587) provides gridded data based on subnational food security analysis provided by FEWS NET in five regions: Central America and the Caribbean, Central Asia, East Africa, Southern Africa, and West Africa.

FEWS NET was created in 1985 by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on acute food insecurity around the world. NASA was part of the FEWS NET implementing team, and FEWS NET products can be accessed through NASA’s Land Information System (LIS).

In the SEDAC dataset, 10-year averaged phases of food insecurity are indicated by color, ranging in severity from Minimal and Stressed at the low end to Crisis, Emergency, and Famine at the high end. These phases are based on the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), which is a global system for classifying the severity and magnitude of food insecurity and malnutrition, and for identifying its key drivers.

SEDAC is the NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) responsible for archiving and distributing socioeconomic data in the EOSDIS collection, and is hosted at Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). SEDAC synthesizes Earth science and socioeconomic data and information in ways useful to a wide range of decision makers and other applied users, and serves as an “Information Gateway” between the socioeconomic and Earth science data and information domains.