Food Security Cluster - Cluster Coordinators Handbook

This handbook is a living document which will be updated regularly to reflect policy and procedural changes

Cluster Coordination Information Management


Cluster coordination exists in a challenging and constantly changing environments where crises are becoming more protracted, more complex with multiple drivers – conflict, climate change, economic crises – and limited funding resources. In such a context, coordination amongst humanitarian actors is key.

Since its activation in 2010, the Food Security Cluster has remained one of the biggest clusters in terms of scope and funding received, number of activated country clusters and number of partners at global and local level.

The FSC Coordinator Handbook aims to provide guidance on concepts, processes and tools essential for a more effective and efficient coordination of food security in a country in crisis, whether protracted or sudden onset. It aims to balance the requirement to incorporate new and relevant material whilst still managing the size of the handbook.

The handbook draws on other available handbooks (including but not limited to the previous FSC Handbook from 2012, the Health Cluster Guide from 2020 and the Handbook for the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator from 2021) in addition to an array of available guidance, for example from IASC, OCHA, other clusters etc.

How to Use this Handbook

What is the purpose of this Handbook?

The Handbook is a guide for FSC Coordinators to support them in their day-to-day tasks at country level. It aims to provide the normative framework/background of tasks and processes. It also intends to offer relevant information on the key deliverables of the Coordinator, the coordination structures, available tools, guidance and resources. The Handbook has a particular focus on the roles and responsibilities of the Coordinator (and the Coordination Team, where relevant). It aims to provide practical information and examples where possible, including best-practice tips and operational examples.

It aims to accommodate different levels of experience:

  • New FSC coordinators may require more contextual background and detailed explanations ― and can benefit from reading the full sections), whereas,
  • Experienced or senior coordinators and partners may look for a quick reference document ― and may skip directly to the grey/orange boxes, which, in each section, flags the key points and relevant resources (see below).

It is not a prescriptive guide. The approaches followed at country level may differ according to the context and the type of emergency. However, the Handbook will indicate the good practices and actions to be in place in a L3/Scale-up emergency.



The Global Food Security Cluster (gFSC) extends particular thanks to Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) for their support of this project.

GFSC also thanks FSC Coordinators, FAO and WFP colleagues and global technical working groups that have contributed to the development of this guidance by providing feedback as well as technical inputs.