Guidance on implementing aid and budget alignment

In the Standards Day at the 2017 IATI TAG in Dar es Salaam, we agreed to deprecate the BudgetIdentifier codelist and provide communications materials to publishers on implementing aid and budget alignment.

This guidance explains how the methodology now works. It stems from work conducted by the IATI TAG Working Group on Aid and Budget Alignment, and reflects decisions made by the WP-STAT and IATI Steering Committee. In summary:

  1. Use the capital-spend field
  2. Use detailed CRS purpose codes
    a) don’t use very broad purpose codes like 43010 - Multisector aid
    b) use the more detailed “voluntary” CRS purpose codes.

1) Publish the capital-spend field

For activities at the commitment stage, the percentage of an activity that is capital expenditure should be published using the capital-spend field. The definition of capital expenditure follows the IMF GFS definition:

Capital spending is generally defined as physical assets with a useful life of more than one year. But it also includes capital improvements or the rehabilitation of physical assets that enhance or extend the useful life of the asset (as distinct from repair or maintenance, which assures that the asset is functional for its planned life). Capital includes all aspects of design and construction that are required to make the asset operational. Source: D Jacobs, 2009, Capital Expenditures and the Budget, IMF PFM Technical Guidance Note No 8. (IMF, Washington)]

This definition was approved by WP-STAT under the written procedure in February 2016.

2) Publish detailed CRS purpose codes

(a) Don’t use very broad codes

Broad “multisector aid” or “sector not specified” purpose codes are not mappable to budgets and are too aggregate to tell you much that is useful about the activity. Publishers should not use these purpose codes if they want activities to be mappable to budgets.

List of multisector codes that should not be used (source: IATI 2012 Study on Better Reflecting Aid Flows in Country Budgets, Annex 4 - codes that are “not classifiable - multisector”):

  • 43010 - Multisector aid
  • 43050 - Non-agricultural alternative development
  • 43081 - Multisector education / training
  • 43082 - Research / scientific institutions
  • 52010 - Food aid/food security programmes
  • 99810 - Sectors not specified

(b) Use the more detailed “voluntary” CRS purpose codes, not “parent” codes

In a fairly broad sample of 35-40 countries, various studies found that more disaggregated (“voluntary”) codes under 15 existing CRS purpose codes were needed to map to budgets. Publishers should use the voluntary codes instead of the “parent” codes if they want their activities to be mappable to budgets.

The CRS purpose codes, including the more detailed voluntary codes, are listed in the DAC and CRS codelists Excel sheet, which has also been provided in a more accessible format by @andylolz.

The additional codes were approved by WP-STAT under the written procedure in February 2016. The IATI Steering Committee approved the use of the more detailed CRS purpose codes (instead of using the “Common Code" codelist) in March 2014.

Feedback on this guidance is welcome.

Mark, thanks for sharing this.

For clarification, the SC approval of the use of the more detailed CRS purpose codes was in March 2014 (the document’s url is misleading, and for some reason the paper doesn’t have a proper header - perhaps something the Secretariat could rectify? @JoniHillman ?).

It’s document 4c on the agenda of the March 2014 meeting:

Thanks for pointing this out Yohanna. I made a small correction above.

I’m not sure whether this needs to be part of the decimal upgrade process to become Guidance? I sort of presumed not, given that it is just re-stating existing decisions, but if @Wendy, @bill_anderson and others think it does need to go through the decimal upgrade process then I’m proposing it for inclusion in 2.03. (I am also a bit unsure whether guidance needs to go through the decimal upgrade process in general?)

NB deprecating the BudgetIdentifier codelist was accepted at Standards Day on the basis that guidance / comms to publishers would be provided on how to now implement aid and budget integration.

@markbrough Yes, I checked with @bill_anderson and you are correct that amending the Guidance does not form part of the upgrade process. I have now moved the post to Standard Management-> Modifications, Additions, Improvements

Hi @petyakangalova – What’s the process / likely timeframe for this guidance being added?

@andylolz While guidance does not need to be approved as part of the upgrade, we have included a number of guidance proposals that were discussed at the TAG into the 2.03 upgrade index so that they can be added alongside the upgrade process, if not earlier. I will need to check with @bill_anderson about specific deadline for adding them.

In that case, maybe it would be better to include this guidance proposal with the 2.03 Decimal Upgrade Proposals too?

@andylolz I forgot to say in my previous response that I have already added this one to the index.

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Just spotted something, @markbrough:

This line is very important – I think it would be clearer to say this in the first line of 2b. So instead of:

(b) Use the more detailed “voluntary” CRS purpose codes

you could say:

(b) Use the more detailed “voluntary” CRS purpose codes, not “parent” codes

Thanks for flagging this @andylolz, agree it would be a good addition. @petyakangalova - I cannot edit my post above anymore, so please can you add this in? Also, what is the progress on adding this guidance (I presume it would be to the IATI Standard website)? I am not really sure what needs to happen next.

@markbrough I have amended the text in the proposal. As with other guidance (see point 3 in the index), we will be following the same timetable for the upgrade process and will add to the IATI standard website.

Thanks @petyakangalova!

As a process point: Perhaps stuff that doesn’t need to be part of the standard upgrade shouldn’t be lumped in with it. It seems like it just makes the standard upgrade more confusing, and I’m unsure what the benefit is.

Here’s an example where doing this appears to have caused some confusion.

Anyway – just a suggestion.


I’m interested in how this will happen. The rest of this thread seems to be about adding / changing guidance around the standard. If the actual BudgetIdentifier codelist is to be acted upon, then something needs to happen?

For reference / more widely, I don’t think we should do similar to OrganisationIdentifier “codelist”, which has some narrative to declare that it is deprecated, but is still “included” in the standard.

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Other thing.

@YohannaLoucheur mentions

Obviously, CRS purpose codes are published in Sector element. Country-budget-item no longer needed - but kept for potential future needs

(see full thread):

Am I correct in thinking that this proposal misses out this point. Does it need to be made explicit that publishers should use sector rather than country-budget-item ?

(In turn, I think this then starts to raise complexities in terms of multiple sectors and, even, secondary sectors, potentially. Sorry)

Thanks for the feedback on this @stevieflow! On deprecation, I do not know how this is supposed to happen (I am not aware of any particular process around deprecation). But yes, this thread is very much focused on providing guidance.

Yeah perhaps. Maybe the point 2. in the draft guidance should be changed to:

However, I am not sure what you mean by complexities in terms of multiple or secondary sectors. You use these sectors / more detailed purpose codes in the same way as you would use any other CRS purpose codes.

Great, thanks Mark

Was just thinking of scenarios whereby publishers might want to maintain a sector code as a primary classification, but then also utilise the voluntary codes for potential “non-statistical” classifications. This might be a tangent though - so better to focus on the other parts of this thread!

Im trying to figure out if anything around this has happened via 2.03.

Should the BudgetIdentifier codelist have been deprecated?

Any idea @petyakangalova @markbrough @YohannaLoucheur @andylolz ?

I can see that the voluntary purpose codes are now in both the 2.03 5-digit sector list, and also the source OECD DAC XML (@andylolz can confirm) - so that might now affect this:

I can indeed confirm this. In fact, the OECD DAC XML adds the “voluntary” purpose codes as codes (i.e. consistent with the way they’re included in the IATI codelist), and just flags the voluntary bit in the status (it says “vonlontary” but that’s a typo).

Searching back through this forum, it appears the answer to this is yes it should.

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