LEAP: Ethiopia’s National Food Security Early Warning System

EUPORIAS microsite: 
Sectors of reference: 
Food security
Proponent(s): 
WFP and ENEA
Stakeholder(s) of reference: 
Government of Ethiopia and WFP
Short description: 

The LEAP-Ethiopia prototype uses seasonal hindcast simulations to assess the added-value of using seasonal predictions in food security drought early warning systems.

The Livelihoods, Early Assessment and Protection (LEAP) system is the Government of Ethiopia’s national food security early warning system, established with the support of WFP and the World Bank in 2008. LEAP was designed to increase the predictability and timeliness of response to drought-related food crises in Ethiopia. It combines early warning with contingency planning and contingency funding, to allow the government, WFP and other partners to provide early assistance in anticipation of an impending drought.

The LEAP early warning tool uses crop and weather information to monitor crop conditions and estimate the number of people, by region, projected to be in need of early livelihood protection in the face of an impending drought. Resources can then be disbursed, in a timely and transparent manner, from a contingent fund. This enables the immediate scale-up of Ethiopia’s national Productive Safety Net Programme (the PSNP) to provide early assistance to the additional people at risk of food insecurity this year, as well as to existing safety-net beneficiaries requiring additional months of assistance. By providing early and objective estimates of the expected magnitude of humanitarian needs, LEAP helps increase both the speed and the transparency with which food assistance can be provided to people in need.

Currently, LEAP uses observed satellite rainfall estimates to monitor drought conditions and estimate drought impacts on food security. In the LEAP EUPORIAS prototype, we will use hindcast simulations for the past 20 years to test the skill of seasonal climate forecasts in anticipating the impacts of severe drought, when fed into the LEAP early warning system.

In addition to evaluating the technical/ scientific added-value of integrating seasonal forecasts into LEAP, the prototype also aims to assess the socio-economic value of doing so. A cost benefit analysis of the LEAP prototype will seek to evaluate the benefits of using seasonal forecast to trigger early humanitarian assistance in response to drought. The analysis will use hindcasts for past years to assess the socio-economic gains that would have been incurred, had these forecasts been available at that time and been used to trigger early response.

The LEAP prototype team – with representatives from ENEA, MeteoSwiss, University of Cantabria and WFP – at the first prototype workshop, held at WFP’s Headquarters in Rome in June 2014.