Guidance on implementing aid and budget alignment

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 in the draft guidance should be changed to: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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@IATI-techteam is this guidance also going to be added on the website sometime in the near future? Do you want a pull request from me to do this?


Bumping this. I found the relevant bit in the standards day notes (rows 102 and 103):

Proposal: Deprecate the BudgetIdentifier codelist
Outcome: Accept
Discussion: Consensus as codelist has been replaced by expanded CRS Purpose codes

Proposal: Remove reference to the BudgetIdentifier codelist in the definition of country-budget-items/budget-item/@code
Outcome: Accept
Discussion: We would deprecate at 2.03 and remove in integer, although it was noted that there is no process on the deprecation of individual elements. Comms would need to be provided to publishers about this, perhaps as separate guidelines.

I’m not sure what happened with these, but @stevieflow is right in pointing out that neither has been actioned in v2.03.

Relatedly, the aid and budget alignment guidelines were bumped to v2.03, but haven’t been added yet.

One concrete consequence of this not being actioned is the recent report by Cohen and Mekuria that is based on the Budget ID codelist rather than the expanded CRS codelist. That’s a missed opportunity to see what IATI can tell us about aid flows to a specific country.

This is not correct.

If you read the acknowledgements in the report you will see that the methodology was written by Simon Parrish. This would have been before the agreement by WP-STAT of new CRS purpose codes.

The methodology was written by Simon, but the report itself is more recent, having been published in January 2018 (thus presumably written in 2017). Though it does refer to the “common code” as a recent proposal, which is very confusing.

In any case, clearly marking this codelist as deprecated, as decided by the TAG a year ago, and adding the guidelines, would help avoid further confusion for both publishers and users of IATI data.

What’s the best way to remedy this @IATI-techteam ?

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As part of the Version 2.03 upgrade the Budget Identifier Vocabulary codelist was changed from being embedded to non-embedded.

The plan has always been to implement the deprecation of Code 1 in this list as part of the standard procedures for making changes to non-embedded codelists.

If I could add a personal note on this: It seems to me that a number of comments on this issue are getting close to the limit of what might be called “polite impatience”. Give us a break folks!

Gah… Polite impatience is exactly the tone I aim for. Apologies @bill_anderson.

Great! I didn’t see a github issue for this, so I’ve created one:

I’ve also created the related pull request, and requisite discuss post.

I don’t think this addresses the accepted proposals from standards day mentioned above, though. Or the agreed plan to add the aid and budget alignment guidance, that this thread is about.

UPDATE: I think this pull request ought to fix the second accepted proposal mentioned above.

I also want to bump this thread. I am really trying to be polite and patient but we will be celebrating this thread’s first birthday in one month – would be great to know how we can move this guidance forward. Is there a reason why it is taking so long to add this to the IATI website?

@IATI-techteam @petyakangalova @bill_anderson would you like a pull request for adding this guidance the IATI website? I am happy to provide. Please let me know (also if there is anywhere particular you would like it to go).

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I’ve written a blog on this topic:

It includes a graph of all (more than 1 million) IATI activities, grouped by their 5-digit DAC sector code:


A large number of activities use sector codes that can’t be aligned to recipient country budgets. A good first step to addressing this would be to get this guidance published.

Hi @markbrough Apologies for the significant delay in adding the guidance. I have now submitted a pull request for the guidance- please have a look and let me know if any changes are required, so that we can approve and merge next week.

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Thanks a lot for this @IATI-techteam – I suggested one small change following feedback received above from @stevieflow – otherwise think this is good to go!!


This guidance has now been published by @IATI-techteam live on the IATI Standard website:

Now that this guidance is finalised and live, it would be great if:

  • publishers can take a quick look at the guidance (it is pretty short and clear) and see what steps they could take towards making their data more useful as part of the budget process at country level;
  • organisations using the data can look at how they could stand to benefit from using this data, and how they can begin to integrate into their own systems.

Many thanks to @petyakangalova and @IATI-techteam for getting this on the IATI Standard site, and to all of the organisations involved in the many years of work to get us to this point, particuarly Canada and @YohannaLoucheur .