Annex A. Technical notes on definitions and measurement
The coverage of the data presented in the Development Co-operation Report has changed in recent years. The main points are as follows.
Changes in the concept of official development assistance and the coverage of gross national income
While the definition of official development assistance (ODA) has not changed since 1972, some changes in interpretation have tended to broaden the scope of the concept. The main changes are: the recording of administrative costs as ODA (from 1979), the imputation as ODA of the share of subsidies to educational systems representing the cost of educating students from aid recipient countries (first specifically identified in 1984), and the inclusion of assistance provided by donor countries in the first year after the arrival of a refugee from an aid recipient country (eligible to be reported as of the early 1980s but only widely used since 1991).
Precise quantification of the effects of these changes is difficult because changes in data collection methodology and coverage are often not directly apparent from members' statistical returns. The amounts involved can, however, be substantial. For example, reporting by Canada in 1993 included for the first time a figure for in-Canada refugee support. The amount involved (USD 184 million) represented almost 8% of total Canadian ODA. Aid flows reported by Australia in the late 1980s have been estimated to be approximately 12% higher than had they been calculated according to the rules and procedures that applied 15 years earlier (Scott, 1989).
The coverage of national income has also been expanding through the inclusion of new areas of economic activity and the improvement of collection methods. The 1993 System of National Accounts (SNA) broadened the coverage of gross national product (GNP), renaming it gross national income (GNI). The new SNA 2008,2 which is gradually being implemented by members, tends to increase GNI, which, in turn will lower ODA/GNI ratios for some countries.
Recipient country coverage
Since 1990, the following entities were added to the “DAC List of ODA Recipients” at the dates shown: the Black Communities of South Africa (1991; now listed as South Africa); Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan (1992); Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia (1993); Palestinian Administered Areas (1994; now listed as West Bank and Gaza Strip); Moldova (1997); Belarus, Libya and Ukraine (2005); Kosovo (2009); South Sudan (2011).
Table A.1 DAC List of ODA Recipients
Effective for reporting on 2014, 2015 and 2016 flows
Least developed countries
Other low-income countries
(per capita GNI ≤ USD 1 045 in 2013)
Lower middle-income countries and territories (per capita GNI USD 1 046-USD 4 125 in 2013)
Upper middle-income countries and territories (per capita GNI USD 4 126-USD 12 745 in 2013)
1. The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/L.20 adopted on 4 December 2013 decided that Equatorial Guinea will graduate from the least developed country category 3.5 years after the adoption of the resolution and that Vanuatu will graduate 4 years after the adoption of the resolution.
2. Antigua and Barbuda, Chile, and Uruguay exceeded the high-income country threshold in 2012 and 2013. In accordance with the DAC rules for revision of this list, all three countries will graduate from the list in 2017 if they remain high-income countries until 2016.
Over the same period, the following countries and territories were removed from the “DAC List of ODA Recipients” at the dates shown: Portugal (1991); French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion, and St. Pierre and Miquelon (1992); Greece (1994); Bahamas, Brunei Darussalam, Kuwait, Qatar, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (1996); Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Falkland Islands, Hong Kong, China, Israel and Chinese Taipei (1997); Aruba, the British Virgin Islands, French Polynesia, Gibraltar, Korea, Libya, Macao, the Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia and the Northern Marianas (2000); Malta and Slovenia (2003); Bahrain (2005); Saudi Arabia and Turks and Caicos Islands (2008); Barbados, Croatia, Mayotte, Oman, and Trinidad and Tobago (2011); Anguilla and Saint Kitts and Nevis (2014).
From 1993 to 2004, several Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC)/New Independent States (NIS) countries in transition and more advanced developing countries were included on a separate list of recipients of official aid. This list has now been abolished.
Donor country coverage
Portugal, one of the founding members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in 1961, withdrew from the DAC in 1974 and re-joined in 1991. Spain joined the DAC in 1991; Luxembourg joined in 1992; Greece joined in 1999; Korea joined in 2010; and the Czech Republic, Iceland, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia joined in 2013. Their assistance is now counted within the DAC total. ODA flows from these countries before they joined the DAC have been added to earlier years' data where available. The accession of new members has added to total DAC ODA, but has usually reduced the overall ODA/GNI ratio, since their programmes are often smaller in relation to GNI than those of the longer established donors.
Treatment of debt forgiveness
The treatment of the forgiveness of loans not originally reported as ODA varied in earlier years. Up to and including 1992, where forgiveness of non-ODA debt met the tests of ODA, it was reportable as ODA. From 1990 to 1992 inclusive, it remained reportable as part of a country's ODA but was excluded from the DAC total. The amounts treated as such are shown in Table A.2. From 1993, forgiveness of debt originally intended for military purposes has been reportable as other official flows, whereas forgiveness of other non-ODA loans (mainly export credits) recorded as ODA is included both in country data and in total DAC ODA in the same way as it was until 1989.
1. These data are included in the ODA figures of individual countries but are excluded from DAC total ODA in all tables showing performance by donor.
The forgiveness of outstanding loan principal originally reported as ODA does not give rise to a new net disbursement of ODA. Statistically, the benefit is reflected in the fact that because the cancelled repayments will not take place, net ODA disbursements will not be reduced.
All data in this publication refer to calendar years, unless otherwise stated.