Development finance standards

We track and measure resource flows for development. Development finance is increasingly diverse and complex in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We help define international measurement standards to reflect these changes.

How we measure and collect data

Official development assistance (ODA)

The concept of ODA, or aid, was defined over 50 years ago. It refers to financial support - either grants or "concessional" loans from OECD-DAC member countries to developing countries. These funds are provided to advance development in areas such as health, sanitation, education, infrastructure, and strengthening tax systems and administrative capacity, among others.

The tracking of ODA is crucial for informed decision making to ensure aid goes where it is most needed.

ODA is tracked and monitored by the OECD DAC so that individual donor efforts are measured alongside the wider array of resources that are available to developing countries. We inform donors about where aid should be targeted, and provide a clearer picture of the resource flows available to developing countries.

Read more on ODA.

Country programmable aid (CPA)

Country programmable aid (CPA) is a subset of official development assistance (ODA). It gives a more accurate picture of how much of ODA - which includes grants, concessional loans, debt relief, humanitarian aid, development research, and administration costs within donor countries - is actually transferred to the partner countries.

Data on CPA is available from 2000 and is derived annually.

More about country programmable aid

CPA reflects the amount of aid that is subjected to multi-year planning at country/regional level, and is defined through exclusions, by subtracting from total gross bilateral ODA that is:

  • unpredictable by nature (humanitarian aid and debt relief)
  • entails no cross-border flows (administrative costs, imputed student costs, promotion of development awareness, research and refugees in donor countries)
  • does not form part of co-operation agreements between governments (food aid and aid from local governments)
  • is not country programmable by the donor (core funding of NGOs).

Resource flows beyond ODA

Since the Monterrey Consensus in 2002, questions about broader development finance, including how to best mobilise private resources for development, have been at the heart of the political debate on development finance. To respond to the increasing analytical needs in this area, the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Secretariat is working to improve the quality and policy-relevance of its statistics on resource flows to developing countries beyond Official Development Assistance (ODA).

More about resource flows beyond ODA

Modernisation of the DAC statistical system

The DAC statistical system is being modernised to better reflect the new global development landscape. The modernisation, which includes the new measurement of ODA, total official support for sustainable development (TOSSD) and cross-cutting issues, can incentivise development spending and improve its targeting.

The modernisation of the DAC statistical system contributes to broader global efforts to monitor international resource mobilisation for implementing the post-2015/2030 agenda. The DAC has embarked on a process of modernising its system for measuring official‌ development assistance (ODA) and agreed to capture in OECD DAC statistics, the wide array of support provided beyond concessional finance through a measure of TOSSD.

Untied aid

Evidence has shown that "tied" aid - offering aid on the condition that it be used to procure goods or services from the provider of the aid - can increase the costs of a development project by as much as 15-30%. Untying aid, on the other hand, avoids unnecessary costs and gives the recipient the freedom to procure goods and services from virtually any country.

Annual reviews monitor progress of member governments' untying efforts with respect to the Untying Recommendation and other international agreements. We also offer a global portal of ODA contract opportunities for the benefit of the international business community.

More about untied aid

Data cycle and technical library for producing accurate, reliable and transparent development finance statistics

Data cycle

Data cycle FSD

The DAC Secretariat collects aid statistics from DAC member countries, non-DAC countries, Multilateral Organisations and Private Donors.

Online databases are updated four times a year.

Data collection and resources for reporters

Resources for data reporters

Data are collected using a converged reporting system whereby bilateral and multilateral providers of development co-operation use a single file format (Creditor Reporting System – CRS) to report at item level on all flows of resources to developing countries. Item-level reporting is validated against key aggregates also reported by donors and then serves as the basis for producing various other aggregate statistics.

Below you will find the questionnaires used to report data as well as the reporting instructions and supporting documents needed for their completion: all data are reported against a single set of Converged Statistical Reporting Directives and supporting addenda.

Questionnaires/ Reporting

  • Advance DAC questionnaire (xls, March 2021)
    used to collect preliminary aggregate ODA data which is then published each April for the preceding year.
  • Converged questionnaire (zip-file, June 2021)
    used to collect detailed, item-level CRS data, and aggregate data for validation, published each December for the preceding year. In this year’s edition the whole section on TOSSD reporting was added. 
  • Template for reporting the details of debt relief operations (xls,January 2021) used to collect information needed for the Secretariat to check the calculation of the grant equivalent ODA amounts reported as debt relief and provides the format of schedules as well as formulas to guide reporters through the grant equivalent calculation, step by step.

Instructions to report CRS in XML format

However, if reporters cannot provide CRS item-level data for any type of flows, DAC aggregates can be provided separately:

Reporting Directives and Addenda

The Converged Statistical Reporting Directives are essentially the rule book for how to report statistics on aid and other resource flows. Addendum 1 contains supporting information on the classification of flows such as the List of ODA recipients, the List of ODA-eligible international organisations and various code lists which all require regular updates. Addendum 2 contains detailed definitions (grant element, policy markers) and the comprehensive text of DAC Recommendations, which do not require frequent updates. Addendum 3 contains the reporting methods for private sector instruments.

  • Addenda of the Converged Statistical Reporting Directives (pdf, April 2021):

Additional resources and other notes