Annex A. Data coverage and sources

The OECD DAC Secretariat collects individual aid activities on Official development assistance (ODA) and Other Official Flows (OOF) in the Creditor Reporting System (CRS). ODA is defined as flows to countries on the DAC List of ODA Recipients and core contributions to multilateral development institutions provided by official or executive agencies in the list of ODA-eligible international organisations (OECD, 2021[1]). ODA must have the economic development and welfare of developing countries as its main objective, and be concessional in character - either flowing as grants or concessional loans (i.e. softer than market terms). In turn, OOF comprises transactions from governments to developing countries that do not qualify as ODA, i.e. loans extended at market rates (OECD, 2021[1]). This definition of other official flows excludes official direct export credits. Together, the sum of bilateral ODA flows, bilateral OOF (except OOF grants and loans for commercial purposes), and all outflows (grants and loans) by multilateral development institutions, define official development finance (ODF). As such, ODF is a broader measure of developing countries’ official receipts for development purposes (OECD, 2021[1]).

Countries and institutions reporting to the OECD on their ODF flows include biodiversity-related information through the biodiversity Rio Marker, as well as through two SDG tags (for marine and terrestrial biodiversity), and two biodiversity-related purpose codes (see below). In other cases, biodiversity-related information needs to be searched and verified manually in the CRS (e.g. through data mining).

To date, the Rio Markers represent the most comprehensive, publicly available activity-level data on biodiversity-related development finance from bilateral donors. Since 1998, the DAC monitors development finance targeting the objectives of the Rio Conventions, including the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), through four “Rio markers” [biodiversity, desertification, climate change mitigation and adaptation (the latter introduced in 2009); for more information on the Markers, see (OECD, 2016[2])]. The Rio Markers were designed to track the degree to which members integrate environmental considerations into their development co-operation activities, and to support members in preparing their National Reports to the Conventions. Reporting on the Rio Markers is mandatory for ODA from DAC members (but not for OOF or for non-DAC bilateral and multilateral providers reporting to the OECD). Coverage of OOF with the Rio Markers for bilateral providers is limited.

For DAC members and for countries and institutions voluntarily using the Rio Markers, biodiversity-related activities ought to be screened and marked as either (i) targeting the objectives of the CBD, with a 'principal objective' or a 'significant objective', or (ii) not targeting the objective (the activity has no relation with the Marker). Activities marked as “principal” would not have been funded but for that objective; activities marked “significant” have other primary objectives, but have been formulated or adjusted to help meet biodiversity concerns.

The activities identified with the marker should promote at least one of the three objectives of the CBD, namely: the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components (ecosystems, species or genetic resources), or fair and equitable sharing of the benefits of the utilisation of genetic resources. The Rio Marker methodology includes biodiversity-related finance from all sectors, not just the environmental sector. As such, an activity can be marked with the biodiversity Marker if it contributes to:

  1. a) protecting or enhancing ecosystems, species or genetic resources through in-situ or ex-situ conservation, or remedying existing environmental damage; or

  2. b) integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services concerns within recipient countries’ development objectives and economic decision making, through institution building, capacity development, strengthening the regulatory and policy framework, or research; or

  3. c) developing countries’ efforts to meet their obligations under the Convention (OECD, 2019[3]).

As mentioned above, an activity scores “principal” if it directly and explicitly aims to achieve one or more of the above three criteria. Alternatively, the Marker identifies projects that can have “significant” co-benefits for biodiversity but for which biodiversity is not the primary focus (e.g. a project focused on enhancing agricultural production, while training smallholder farmers to combine native vegetation with crops for higher outputs and biodiversity protection). For a project to be identified as “significant” it must also comply with the eligibility criteria for the biodiversity Marker, even if not being the project’s primary focus. It should be noted that much of the project-level ODF delivered with the biodiversity Marker can contribute to one or more of the other Rio-marker goals (e.g. aid to biodiversity often creates positive impacts for desertification and for climate change mitigation and adaptation) and/or other areas (e.g. governance, gender, disaster risk reduction). Thus, the presentation of more than one marker accounts for the possibility of overlaps across them.

The Rio Markers were designed to track the degree to which members are integrating and mainstreaming environmental considerations into their development co-operation activities, and thus apply to the entirety of an activity reported – not to the allocation of finance associated with the biodiversity-specific component of that activity. Alternatively, in reporting against quantified international finance goals (such as the CBD’s Aichi target 20 on development finance), many DAC members report only a proportion of their ODF targeting biodiversity as a “significant” objective, estimating this through applying coefficients to adjust the share of finance reported. A coefficient is applied because the Rio marker data applies to the entire activity reported by the provider, not the finance associated with the biodiversity-specific component of that activity. There is no agreed definition or common approach for this practice, but the most common coefficient applied is 40% to countries’ “significant” flows (OECD, 2020[4]), which will be used to present progress against the Aichi target 20 on development finance, along with the full account of “principal” flows.

A specific field for reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals exists in the CRS [for more information see: (OECD, 2020[5])]. This includes data on Goal 14 “Life below water” and Goal 15 “Life on land”, including their targets. SDG 14 aims to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources” by, for example, reducing marine pollution, sustainably managing and protecting marine and coastal ecosystems, and ending overfishing. SDG 15 aims to “sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss” by, for example, reducing the degradation of natural habitats, preventing the loss of biodiversity, supporting efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, and scaling up financial resources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems. Reporting on the SDG focus in the CRS is recent (introduced in 2018), experimental and voluntary (and can be done at the goal or target level) (OECD, 2021[1]), and the heterogeneity in reporting quality of this field implies that data extracted from this field may be inconsistent across donors.

Moreover, reporting on SDG focus areas often includes SDGs 14 and 15 along many other SDGs, thus limiting the precision of estimates derived from this field. Notwithstanding this, they still help fill missing data gaps and provide additional information (e.g. to identify non-biodiversity-marked projects and for countries and institutions that do not use the Marker). For multilateral institutions, activities that were identified with SDGs 14 and/or 15 only, were retained as ‘principal-like’, while those with more than one or both of these SDGs, were retained as ‘significant-like’ (and a coefficient was applied when counting these numbers). For the analysis on climate change, moreover, information reported on the SDG 13 was also included in this analysis; as were SDG 5 used for the analysis on gender equality. For the analysis on desertification, only SDG 15.13 was used.

To ensure the data added is robust, a manual revision of the data reported against the SDGs ensured consistency with reported elements and the Rio Marker on biodiversity definition (i.e. the objective or description of the activity relates to the objectives of the CBD) and following the guidance described in the Indicative table for the Rio Marker for Biodiversity (OECD, 2019[6]). Following this logic, estimates only considered allocable flows (mainly those targeting the ODA eligible co-operation modalities i.e. 'A02', 'B01', 'B03', 'B04', 'C01', 'D01', 'D02', 'E01'). For the multilateral institutions, the analysis excluded data reported against several purpose codes: 130 (population policies/programmes and reproductive health), 210 (transport and storage), 510 (general budget support-related aid), 530 (other commodity assistance), 600 (debt relief), 910 (administrative costs), 930 (refugees in donor countries), and 998 (unallocated).

The CRS has a taxonomy of purpose codes, which identifies the sector that the activity intends to support (OECD, n.d.[7]). In the case of biodiversity, the CRS has two purpose codes that target biodiversity under 410 (general environmental protection), namely 41020 (biosphere protection, which includes air pollution control, ozone layer preservation, marine pollution control); and 41030 (biodiversity, includes natural reserves and actions in the surrounding areas, other measures to protect endangered or protected species and their habitats, e.g. wetland preservation). For multilateral institutions, flows available under the biodiversity purpose codes, were assimilated to ‘principal-like’ activities (and flows were accounted in their entirety), while for the biosphere purpose code, flows were assimilated to ‘significant-like’ flows (and a coefficient was applied when counting these numbers).

Beyond the use of the biodiversity Rio Marker, purpose codes and SDGs, biodiversity-related information was also searched manually in the CRS by applying a keyword search on merged descriptive data fields, such as project titles and descriptions (in English, Spanish and French, as well as German and Portuguese for bilateral providers). This was primarily used for multilateral institutions, which helps make use of the full informative content in the database and increase the likelihood that all projects relevant for biodiversity are captured, while maintaining the integrity of the CRS database and information contained therein (see Table A.1). For DAC members, this approach was used to understand additional dimensions not readily identifiable in the CRS (e.g. marine and terrestrial biodiversity, illegal wildlife trade, see next sub-sections).

There are inherent limitations when using keyword searches on text descriptions of the CRS. Due to missing words, incomplete or erroneous reporting, and lack of consistency in the project description, the procedure cannot guarantee that all biodiversity-related projects are detected. The selection of keywords aims at accuracy, as well as granularity. In the case of multilateral institutions, keywords were separated into two categories: a first category of keywords related closely with ‘principal-like’ biodiversity-related activities (e.g. activities related to conservation, protection and restoration of biodiversity, or illegal wildlife trade). A second category of keywords aimed at capturing ‘significant-like’ biodiversity-related activities, that is, activities where biodiversity aspects are mainstreamed into other sectors (and a coefficient was applied when counting these numbers). By applying this two-category keyword approach, the aim was to maximise data disaggregation while balancing the risk of capturing projects that are not beneficial or related to biodiversity, with the risk of discarding actual biodiversity-related projects. To ensure the robustness of this methodology, moreover, activities identified through the keyword search were individually assessed to verify their fit with the definition of the Rio Marker on biodiversity and also referred to the Marker indicative tables. When an activity was not fitting with this definition, or when information was missing or partial, it was excluded from the analysis.

Reporting on the biodiversity Rio Marker is mandatory for DAC members, further agreeing that any activity reported with the biodiversity purpose code (41030) must also be reported with the biodiversity Rio Marker for coherence. The data from 2011-2020 reflects an accurate use of both markers, with less than 1% inconsistency starting from 2020 – although further efforts are needed to address inconsistencies in how the Rio Markers and the SDGs are applied and interpreted by countries. Indeed, it is important to note that these estimates only provide an approximation of total ‘principal’ and ‘significant’ objective shares – as a portion of biodiversity-related ODA is reported against the SDGs and not the Rio Markers over 2018-20. This in turn means that DAC members reporting on the SDGs could explore whether projects targeting SDGs 14 and 15 could also be reported against the biodiversity Rio Marker, and then assigned a ‘principal’ or ‘significant’ score.

However, this is not the case for multilateral institutions. For the latter, the use of the biodiversity Rio Marker is voluntary, resulting in inconsistent and not comparable reporting. As such, activities marked with the biodiversity purpose code are not necessarily marked with the biodiversity Rio Marker, resulting in 14% to 90% (in 2011 and 2020, respectively) of activities marked with the biodiversity purpose code not being marked with the Biodiversity Rio Marker, an annual average of 18% during 2011-20. Moreover, of the total multilateral development flows relevant to the indicative biodiversity Rio Marker table, only 2% were screened against the biodiversity Rio Marker, with the remaining 98% being unspecified or unassessed. From the screened flows, this analysis captured the total amount (USD 970 million) of the flows marked with the Rio Marker (principal and significant), 7% (USD 6 million) of the flows marked as not targeting the Marker, and only 2% (USD 2 million) of unspecified allocations. These remarks highlight the importance of both increasing the number of institutions that report against the Rio Markers, while ensuring that those that already do so, improve their reporting.

Finally, some of these data sources are insufficient to track elements of relevance for biodiversity (e.g. marine and terrestrial biodiversity) or promote further disaggregation (e.g. exploring whether certain sector codes, such as forestry or general environmental protection, could be revised to improve granularity).

This report provides a quantitative analysis of recent trends of biodiversity-related development finance (2011-20). The analysis could be provided on a disbursement or commitment basis. A commitment is a firm written obligation by a government or official agency, backed by the appropriation or availability of the necessary funds, to provide resources of a specified amount under specified financial terms and conditions, and for specified purposes for the benefit of a recipient country or multilateral agency. The estimates presented in this report are based on a commitment basis and over 2011-20.

The analysis will use the 2006-10 period as baseline to understand the overall evolution of biodiversity-related development finance trends against the 2011-20 Aichi targets. It is important to note that data for the years 1998-06 on biodiversity were obtained on a trial basis; and reporting on the Rio Marker became mandatory starting with 2006 flows (Drutschinin and Ockenden, 2015[8]). For example, the number of ODA increased by 45% over 2006-10. These increases typically reflect the usual trajectory of new markers: it may take a few reporting cycles for a marker to reflect the policy focus of donors.

There are additional caveats regarding the time range applied in this analysis:

  • OOF data reported to the CRS is limited, still.

  • CRS data for SDGs 14 and 15 were only introduced in 2019 for 2018 activities (OECD, 2018[9]), hence data will only be available for the 2018-20 period.

  • On the mobilisation of private finance by ODF, data is available from 2012, although quality and coverage improved significantly after 2017 (e.g. sector, marker and other descriptive fields) when related data collections were integrated in regular CRS reporting.

  • For philanthropic foundations, data is collected and published at the level of individual grants and investments, and - for most private providers - screened annually by the OECD Secretariat using the Rio Marker methodology. Data covers the period 2015-20, yet the coverage for the period 2015-16 is limited compared to 2017-20. In fact, prior to 2015, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was the only foundation reporting some biodiversity-related financial flows to the CRS.

The analysis looks at DAC members but examines available data on multilateral providers, non-DAC donors, mobilisation data and private philanthropies that report to the OECD:

  • The CRS includes data on the 30 DAC members (OECD, n.d.[10]) that are mandated to use the Biodiversity Marker: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, European Union institutions, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition, 25 countries and territories also report to the OECD using the CRS, of which only 7 have used the Biodiversity Marker to date, namely: Azerbaijan, Cyprus,1 Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and the United Arab Emirates. For OOF, to date, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Norway, Switzerland and the United States have reported biodiversity-related activities. In addition, 23 countries have used the SDGs 14 and 15 labels to date.

    • No data for the years 2006–2010 was available for countries that became DAC members in 2013 (the Czech Republic, Iceland, Poland, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia) and 2016 (Hungary).

  • There are 65 multilateral institutions that have been reporting to the OECD, of which 11 have used the Biodiversity Marker, namely, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), Global Environment Facility (GEF), Green Climate Fund (GCF), IDB Invest, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Development Association (IDA), Nordic Development Fund (NDF), UNDP, and World Tourism Organisation. However, only three of these reported every year on biodiversity (GEF and IDA) since 2011 and IBRD since 2013. For non-concessional multilateral outflows, to date, the CAF, GCF, IDB Invest, IADB, and IBRD reported biodiversity-related activities. Another 3 institutions have provided data on the SDGs 14 and 15 labels (AFESD, GEF and GCF) to date. An additional 8 institutions used the biodiversity-related purpose codes (AFESD, GEF, GCF, IADB, IBRD, IDA, NDF and UNDP).

  • The CRS includes data on finance flows reported by 45 philanthropic foundations, of which 36 provided data on biodiversity-related flows (biodiversity purpose codes or Biodiversity Marker or SDG 14 or 15), namely: Arcadia Fund, Arcus Foundation, BBVA Microfinance Foundation, Bezos Earth Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Family Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Charity Projects Ltd (Comic Relief), Children's Investment Fund Foundation, Citi Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Dutch Postcode Lottery, Ford Foundation, Gatsby Charitable Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation, H&M Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, IKEA Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Laudes Foundation, Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, Mastercard Foundation, MAVA Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Norwegian Postcode Lottery, Oak Foundation, Omidyar Network Fund, Inc., Open Society Foundations, People's Postcode Lottery, Rockefeller Foundation, Swedish Postcode Lottery, UBS Optimus Foundation, Wellcome Trust, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The Total Official Support for Sustainable Development (TOSSD) 2 was adopted in March 2022 as a data source for the SDG global indicator framework (i.e. SDG indicator 17.3.1)3 to measure sustainable development support for “Additional financial resources mobilized for developing countries from multiple sources”, increasing the visibility and transparency of official resources and private finance mobilised by official interventions. In this regard, the OECD serves as the Secretariat to the International TOSSD Task Force, a group of experts from provider countries, recipient countries and multilateral organisations, created to develop and improve the TOSSD methodology.

TOSSD is designed to monitor both cross-border resources (Pillar I) and regional and global expenditures in support of sustainable development (Pillar II). TOSSD includes both concessional and non-concessional support, from multilateral and bilateral providers, including some DAC members, South-South and triangular co-operation providers (TOSSD, n.d.[11]). The first comprehensive set of TOSSD data, for 2019, was published in 2021 and the latest 2020 data as released in April 2022.4 As TOSSD consists exclusively of development finance that contributes to enhancing sustainability defined as contributing to one or more SDGs, the reporting standard includes mandatory reporting on areas of SDG focus for reported projects. This requirement implies that TOSSD data is useful in evaluating contributions towards SDGs 14 and 15. However, data remains available only for the most recent years of analysis. Furthermore, the practice of reporting on SDG focus areas also leads to large projects being reported to be relevant for SDG 14 along other SDGs. TOSSD data is therefore not equivalent in scope and applicability to the methodology presented earlier, but can provide complementary information. This report provides data on Pillar I from providers beyond the DAC (e.g. South-South Co-operation).


[8] Drutschinin, A. and S. Ockenden (2015), “Financing for Development in Support of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services”, OECD Development Co-operation Working Papers, No. 23, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[1] OECD (2021), Converged Statistical Reporting Directives for the Creditor Reporting System and the Annual DAC Questionnaire, DCD/DAC/STAT(2020)44/FINAL, OECD,

[5] OECD (2020), DRAFT Handbook for reporting the SDG focus of development co-operation activities, (accessed on 21 April 2022).

[4] OECD (2020), Results of the survey on the coefficients applied to Rio marker data when reporting to the UN Conventions on Climate Change and Biodiversity,

[3] OECD (2019), Indicative table for the Rio Marker for Biodiversity, (accessed on 25 April 2022).

[6] OECD (2019), Indicative table for the Rio Marker for Biodiversity, (accessed on 1 September 2022).

[9] OECD (2018), Revision of the reporting directives: selections relating ot the approved SDG focus field and changes to policy markers and types of aid, (accessed on 21 April 2022).

[2] OECD (2016), Questions & Answers: Rio Marker Climate and Environment-Related Development Finance Statistics, (accessed on 19 April 2022).

[7] OECD (n.d.), DAC and CRS code lists, (accessed on 21 April 2022).

[10] OECD (n.d.), Development Assistance Committee (DAC), (accessed on 21 April 2022).

[11] TOSSD (n.d.), Total Official Support for Sustainable Development,


← 1. Note by Türkiye: The information in this document with reference to “Cyprus” relates to the southern part of the Island. There is no single authority representing both Turkish and Greek Cypriot people on the Island. Türkiye recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Until a lasting and equitable solution is found within the context of the United Nations, Türkiye shall preserve its position concerning the “Cyprus issue”.

Note by all the European Union Member States of the OECD and the European Union:

The Republic of Cyprus is recognised by all members of the United Nations with the exception of Turkey. The information in this document relates to the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.

← 2. For more information on TOSSD, see:

← 3. See the relevant information on the UN Statistics division website dedicated to the framework at and the file quoting TOSSD as a data source at

← 4. See the TOSSD data and visualisation tools at:

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