Policy Markers and humanitarian activities - advice needed


When activities centre on humanitarian responses, how have people included the Policy Marker codes?

I know that there is also a Policy Marker Vocabulary, so this function could utilise other codes, but specifically - does anyone have experience of using the OECD DAC derived policy markers in humanitarian settings, or is it just not applicable?

I’d be interested in feedback from Dutch colleagues, as I had understood Policy Markers were advocated for --> @pelleaardema @Herman @rolfkleef

There’s no reference to Policy Markers in the latest version of guidance around humanitarian data & IATI --> @Wendy

Did you check Canada’s (GAC) data? I know we use at least the Gender Equality marker, not sure about other markers. Happy to liaise with humanitarian aid colleagues if you have questions.

Hi @stevieflow use of policy markers is not a topic that has specifically come up as part of any of the recent consultations that we have had in relation to publishing humanitarian information. However, we were at one time, in discussions with a donor who had their own set of humanitarian related policy markers and so consideration was given to adding it as a discrete Policy Marker Vocabulary although it didn’t get taken forward to implementation at that time.

Hi @stevieflow,
Not all the markers seem relevant for humanitarian activities, but neither are all the ‘other’ CRS purpose codes (sector codes). I could imagine humanitarian activities having a ‘Gender’ marker, possibly also other markers.

Agree with that. OECD/DAC policy markers are designed to flag ‘cross cutting’ themes.

Thanks @Wendy @pelleaardema & @Herman

I was particularly interested in the MFA standpoint, as the guidance states that Policy Markers are mandatory

Since this guidance was issued, there have been some additions to the standard around humanitarian specifics. It’s now possible to flag (for example) an activity as humanitarian. Given that OECD DAC Policy Markers might not generally “fit” humanitarian activities, I think it conceivable that some data may therefore not contain Policy Markers

My question is whether the MFA would in turn “reject” IATI activities that do not include Policy Markers, despite this context


Hi @stevieflow,
The Netherlands MFA IATI publishing guidelines require the explicit publication of the OECD/DAC policy markers. In other words: the policy markers are mandatory.

Of course it is possible that all or some of the OECD/DAC policy markers are not applicable for an activity: in that case these policy markers have a significance score 0 (‘Not targeted’).

This situation might also occur for a humanitarian activity.

Thanks @herman

Although - over at Policy Significance - how to express “not screened” (blank)? Clarification help needed I think we have slightly conflicting advice:

Maybe the term ‘not applicable’ in my response is confusing: I meant screened and after screening assessed as ‘not targeted’.

If you did not screen the policy marker, you should not publish it in IATI.

The alternative, as suggested by @OJ_, is to publish the policy marker e.g. with a value -1 meaning ‘not screened’. I have a slight preference to just not publish the marker, instead of using a ‘missing value’ code such as -1. This seems to be more in line with the other IATI data elements.

In any case “blank” or not published is definitely something else than ‘not targeted’.

Thanks @Herman - yes, this is clearer.

I guess within the IATI standard / documentation there should be some guidance for people, too?