Annex One

Glossary of Terms

Official Development Assistance (ODA)

Grants or Loans to countries and territories on Part I of the DAC List of Aid Recipients (developing countries) which are: (a) undertaken by the official sector; (b) with promotion of economic development and welfare as the main objective; (c) at concessional financial terms [if a loan, having a Grant Element of at least 25 per cent]. In addition to financial flows, Technical Co-operation is included in aid. Grants, Loans and credits for military purposes are excluded.

Donor (often referred to as a Development Partner)

The funding agency or country making a financial commitment to the project from its core funds. Agencies who receive funds from others as part of a co-funded project are not donors (or are donors only for that portion of funding that they have contributed from their own core funds). Donors can be multilateral, bilateral and/or NGOs.

Implementing Partner

The partner who receives funds from the donor. Implementing partners cannot commit or disburse funds (unless they are own core resources) according to the terminology used in the ODA Database. Disbursements from other sources should be recorded as such in Section IV.


The grant or loan resources indicated in a non-binding (often verbal) manner by a donor over one year or a fixed number of years. Often these sums are not associated with any particular project, which must be designed at a later time. A pledge is not equivalent to a commitment and is treated as purely indicative.


A firm written agreement by the donor to provide funds for a particular project or to a Trust Fund. The Commitment Date is the date of that written agreement. Commitments are usually multi-year – i.e., they are designed to fund expenditures for several years – but the total commitment is recorded in the year that the agreement is signed (even though disbursements may be projected to take place over a longer period).


The release of funds to, or the purchase of goods or services for, a recipient; by extension, the amount thus spent. Disbursements record the actual international transfer of financial resources, or of goods or services valued at the cost of the donor. The Disbursement Date is the date at which those funds were made available – usually this involves the transfer of funds into the implementer’s bank account or the draw down by the implementer of funds held in an account by the donor.


Transfers made in cash, goods or services for which no repayment is required

Grant Element

Reflects the financial terms of a commitment: interest rate, MATURITY (q.v.) and grace period (interval to first repayment of capital). It measures the concessionality of a loan, in the form of the present value of an interest rate below the market rate over the life of a loan. Conventionally the market rate is taken as 10 per cent in DAC statistics. Thus, the grant element is nil for a loan carrying an interest rate of 10 percent; it is 100 per cent for a grant; and it lies between these two limits for a soft loan. If the face value of a loan is multiplied by its grant element, the result is referred to as the grant equivalent of that loan.

Loans (Credits)

The provision of resources, excluding food or other bulk commodities, for relief or development purposes, including import procurement programmes, which must be repaid according to conditions established at the time of the loan agreement or as subsequently agreed.

Concessional Loan

The provision of funds by a donor as a loan which consists of a minimum 25 percent grant element, thus qualifying it as an ODA transaction. It is also commonly referred to as a “soft” loan.

Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness

An agreement brokered by the OECD/DAC and signed by over 100 donor and partner countries in 2005, designed to increase the impact and effectiveness of aid. The agreement is associated with 12 indicators of effectiveness, some of which are monitored locally. The agreement can be accessed on

Project/program budget

The total resources committed to the project/program from all sources.

Project Implementation Units

The OECD/DAC guidance note for monitoring the Paris Declaration states that a Project Implementation Unit (PIU) is a dedicated management unit designed to support the implementation of projects or programmes. A parallel PIU is accountable to the external funding agency rather than the relevant government institutions such as ministries, agencies and authorities, whereas in a fully integrated PIU, the government institution takes full responsibility and implements projects using existing structures, procedures and staff.

In Cambodia a support team developed a PIU Checklist and Reference Matrix that use the following criteria:

  • Accountability (to whom are PIU staff accountable?)

  • Staff selection/recruitment, staffing (who determines the TOR of PIU staff?)

  • Implementation/operational responsibility (who is responsible for management of implementation issues?)

Additional guidance is provided in these notes, posted on the OECD/DAC website:

Project/program start date

The actual start date of the implementation of the project/program. Often the same as the project signature/commitment date.

Project/program completion date

Actual, if already completed, or planned completion date of the project/program.

Project/Program Status

On-going – once the project document is signed and the project is operationally open.

Completed – the project is operationally closed (financial closure is not necessary)

Suspended – the activities of the project have been officially suspended at the request of one of the signatory parties.

Pipeline - donor is identified and a concept paper or project document is being/has been drafted, with funding identified (but not committed).


Sectoral classifications organize projects according to their spheres of societal endeavor. For example, "productive" sectors create economic value by generating and distributing goods and services. "Infrastructure" sectors provide the basic installations and facilities on which communities depend. "Social" sectors provide for the mental, physical, and spiritual well-being of individuals and their communities. "Environmental" sectors sustain the earth's physical and biological assets. "Governance" sectors guide and administer the affairs of a state, community, organization or association. Sectoral classifications help provide the social and economic benchmarks used to measure a programme or project's impact.

Tied Aid

Untied Aid

Official Development Assistance for which the associated goods and services may be fully and freely procured in substantially all countries.

Tied Aid

Official or officially supported Loans, credits or Associated Financing packages (qq.v.) where procurement of the goods or services involved is limited to the donor country or to a group of countries which does not include substantially all developing countries. Tied Aid Credits are subject to certain disciplines concerning their concessionality levels, the countries to which they may be directed, and their developmental relevance so as to avoid using aid funds on projects that would be commercially viable with private finance, and to ensure that recipient countries receive good value.

Partially Tied Aid

Official Development Assistance (or Official Aid) for which the associated goods and services must be procured in the donor country or among a restricted group of other countries, which must however include substantially all developing countries.

Types of ODA

Technical Cooperation

Includes both (a) grants to nationals of aid recipient countries receiving education or training at home or abroad, and (b) payments to consultants, advisers and similar personnel as well as teachers and administrators serving in recipient countries, (including the cost of associated equipment). Assistance of this kind provided specifically to facilitate the implementation of a capital project is included indistinguishably among bilateral project and programme expenditures, and not separately identified as technical co-operation in statistics of aggregate flows.

Free-standing Technical Cooperation

The provision of resources aimed at the transfer of technical and managerial skills and know-how or of technology for the purpose of building up national capacity to undertake development activities, without reference to the implementation of any specific investment project(s). FTC includes pre-investment activities, such as feasibility studies, when the investment itself has not yet been approved or funding not yet secured.


Investment-related Technical Cooperation

The provision of resources, as a separately identifiable activity, directly aimed at strengthening the capacity to execute specific investment projects (i.e. those that are associated with some material/tangible output). Included under ITC would be pre-investment-type activities directly related to the implementation of an approved investment project.

Investment Project/Programme Assistance

The provision of financing, in cash or in kind, for specific capital investment projects, i.e., projects that create productive capital which can generate new goods or services. Also known as capital assistance. Investment project assistance may have a technical co-operation component.

Budget Support or Balance-of-Payments Support

The provision of assistance which is not cast in terms of specific investment or technical co-operation projects but which is instead provided in the context of broader development programme and macro-economic objectives and/or which is provided for the specific purpose of supporting the recipient’s balance-of-payments position and making available foreign exchange. This category includes non-food commodity input assistance in kind and financial grants and loans to pay for commodity inputs. It also includes resources ascribed to debt relief.

Food Aid (for Development purposes)

The provision of food for human consumption for developmental purposes, including grants and loans for the purchase of food. Associated costs such as transport, storage, distribution, etc., are also included in this category, as well as donor-supplied, food-related items such as animal food and agricultural inputs related to food production, when these are part of a food aid programme.

Emergency and Relief Assistance

The provision of resources aimed at immediately relieving distress and improving the well-being of populations affected by natural or man-made disasters. Food aid for humanitarian and emergency purposes is included in this category. Emergency and relief assistance is usually not related to national development efforts or to enhancing national capacity but is still included in the definition of ODA, although it is sometimes omitted from a narrower definition that relates to "core ODA".


The interested reader is also referred to:
Reporting Directives for the Creditor Reporting System (OECD/DAC), July 2002

A full list of terms and definitions adopted by the OECD/DAC is available at

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