Chapter 2. Getting good sectoral data on development finance

Recognising that effective financing strategies cannot be achieved without comprehensive, comparable and detailed data, this chapter looks at current initiatives to improve sectoral development finance information. After a short section looking at the evolution of the data landscape, the second section provides an overview of the initiatives currently underway to provide an increasingly comprehensive and qualitative picture of sectoral development finance data in response to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, with the measurement of an ever larger set of flows, providers and modalities. The third section then provides insights into the critical articulation between sectors traditionally used for data reporting and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The fourth section builds on the dual recognition that the financing picture of sectors cannot improve without the participation of all actors and the standardisation of development finance information across providers. This section, therefore, unpacks the potential for sectoral analyses of the new statistical framework of total official support for sustainable development, designed to track external resources in support of sustainable development by providers of development co-operation.


Key messages

Key messages to development co-operation providers emerging from this chapter include:

  • In order to analyse Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) financing, all providers of development co-operation could focus on making their sector financing information more detailed to respond to the new multifaceted SDG framework. Since a direct and robust link between the SDGs and traditional sector classifications appears challenging, more detailed information on sectors, including detailed project descriptions, will be required to cater for the analysis of an increasingly complex landscape, and for accommodating a wider range of analytical needs.

  • The international community could find ways to make sectoral data more comparable. For example, going forward, Arab providers could continue (e.g. United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia) or start (e.g. Qatar, Oman, Bahrain) publishing information on their development finance efforts, including at the sector level. Traditional providers ought to seek more engagement with South-South and triangular co-operation providers, as well as with other providers beyond the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). This includes such providers as Brazil, the People’s Republic of China (hereafter “China”), India, South Africa, Mexico or Costa Rica. Such engagement would help achieve a more comprehensive picture of the financing for development landscape across sectors worldwide.

  • The total official support for sustainable development (TOSSD) represents a major opportunity for all development co-operation providers to make sectoral data more comprehensive, and shape a new measure of development finance in support of sustainable development. The framework aims to capture all official and officially supported resources in support of sustainable development. These would include official resources, including beyond official development assistance (other official flows) and private finance mobilised by official development interventions.

  • In developing countries, co-ordination mechanisms could be extended to include all major actors of development finance. These would include emerging providers (e.g. China, India and Brazil) and private philanthropic foundations, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its implementing partners, and other international and domestic foundations. A more comprehensive, shared picture of the financing landscape will enable new forms of dialogue, co-ordination and mutual learning between all providers of finance for sustainable development. This, in turn, could facilitate innovation.

2.1. Setting the scene: A complex data landscape on development finance

2.1.1. A wide and highly fragmented data landscape makes it challenging to obtain a comprehensive mapping of sector financing

In the last decades, the development finance landscape has seen the emergence of a large number of new actors and new instruments. This has made it challenging to monitor development finance data holistically. Actors beyond traditional official providers, such as private companies and funds, philanthropic foundations and civil society organisations (CSOs), have become key partners in supporting the global development agenda. They have changed the perspective on the instruments and modalities of development co-operation. Work commissioned by the OECD in 2014 to capture the broad landscape of external development finance data to developing countries (see Box 2.1) revealed a very wide and fragmented landscape (Prada and al., 2014[1]). The emerging picture is comprised of more than two hundred databases (see Figure 2.1). These for example:

  • focus on specific geographical dimensions (e.g. regional databases, such as the South-South Cooperation Database by the Ibero-American Secretariat1)

  • are dedicated to specific sectors (e.g. the World Bank’s Private Participation in Infrastructure Database2)

  • are related to specific instruments (e.g. The Joint External Debt Hub - JEDH3) or types of flows (e.g. the Foreign Direct Investment [FDI] Market4)

  • cover thematic and policy related issues (such as the “Climate Funds Update” database5).

Figure 2.1. The landscape of databases on external finance is complex

Source: (Prada and al., 2014[1]), “Mapping of sources and uses of information on external development finance” - Research paper, 2014 (unpublished).

Box 2.1. The definition of development finance data

Whereas the broad concept of “financing for development”, as reflected in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (United Nations, 2015[2]) covers a comprehensive range of financing sources, the term “development finance” is narrower in scope. The defining criterion for development finance is the intentionality of the flow, i.e. it is based on an explicit development mandate or purpose. At the international level, this comprises official development finance (ODF). ODF is concessional and non-concessional bilateral, and multilateral finance in support of development. Development Finance also includes private development finance, which embraces private funds that are extended with a development motivation, e.g. financing provided by philanthropic organisations for development purposes in developing countries. There are also domestic flows in developing countries that can fall under this concept, even if, in the context of this publication, the focus will be on external ODF, and a subset of private development finance for which data are available, namely private philanthropy, as well as private finance mobilised through official development interventions. On this basis, the term “development finance data” relates to data that describe and characterise the financial flows, terms and conditions of development finance.

Source: Adapted from Box 6.1 in (OECD, 2017[3]).

Going forward, with the “Big Data” movement, complexity of information, including on sectors, will continue to increase. In recent years, the global data architecture has experienced a fundamental change, with the volume of data increasing exponentially. In 2014, the United Nations estimated that 90% of the data in the world had been created in the last two years (United Nations, 2014[4]) and would increase by 40% each year (United Nations, 2018[5]). The Big Data movement offers promising avenues for development and for facilitating access to information to a wider share of the world population. Many examples across a wide range of SDGs are now available on the potential contributions of Big Data to development. These include the monitoring of food security (SDG 2) or infectious diseases (SDG 3) and using mobile phones (UN Global Pulse, 2017[6]). The “Blockchain”, though still at its infancy, also has the potential to revolutionise some sectors, such as financial services (IFC, 2017[7]), and is starting to be used in the development world (Stanford GSB, 2018[8]) (UN OICT, 2017[9]).

Overall, the profusion of databases on external flows makes it hard to easily collate a picture of financing to a given sector (apart from ODF – see Section 2.2). The diversity of scope, definitions and reporting methods across databases and data providers makes the presentation of a financing picture on a given sector or the comparison of sectoral information across data sources highly challenging. But many initiatives are taking place to gradually develop a comprehensive sectoral picture for both official and private development finance.

2.2. The state of play on sectoral official and private finance data for development

For ODF6, the most comprehensive sector financing picture currently available is provided through the OECD Creditor Reporting System (OECD CRS) (See Box 2.2).7 The OECD Creditor Reporting System provides robust statistical information for four sets of providers – bilateral DAC members, bilateral non-DAC providers, multilateral organisations and private foundations. Sectoral data challenges faced by these four communities differ substantially.

Box 2.2. The OECD Creditor Reporting System

The OECD Creditor Reporting System is the authoritative database for official development finance (ODF) data. It provides statistical information on official and private concessional and non-concessional resources to developing countries by more than 90 bilateral and multilateral ODF providers and a growing number of private foundations. Every year these represent approximately 250 000 records. The OECD DAC statistical directives govern the collection of these data, covering all definitions and methodologies and ensuring the comparability of information, including on sectors. OECD DAC statistics are publicly available free of charge.

Note: The OECD Creditor Reporting System is available at: Index.aspx?DataSetCode=CRS1

Source: (OECD, 2017[3]) , (OECD, 2018[10]) and compilation by the author.

2.2.1. Official providers need to ensure regular investment in their statistical capacity to allow for accurate sector financing information

OECD providers that are members of the DAC are required to provide the OECD with data on their official and private resource flows to developing countries according to the OECD DAC statistical directives. While information reported by these providers are the backbone of the information provided on development co-operation globally, these providers still face numerous challenges and are working to constantly improve the quality of their sectoral information. To monitor these efforts, every year the DAC is carrying out an assessment of DAC members’ reporting on development finance to the OECD Creditor Reporting System [see for example (Ahmad and Nichols, 2017[11])], which regularly highlights several elements critical to sectoral analyses.8

The first and most important requirement for good sectoral data reporting is the accurate recording of the sectoral purpose of activities. In the OECD CRS, activities need to be reported against sector codes available in the OECD DAC sector classification (see Box 2.3)9. If development activities are not properly recorded against sector codes, this can result in faulty analyses. To avoid this issue, the DAC Secretariat has put in place automated checks on reporting and manually verifies approximately 250 000 records for accuracy every year. This is to ensure the consistency of sector codes, for example, against project descriptions. The misreporting of activities against sectors codes can occur for different reasons. For many providers, the reporting of activities is carried out by a large number of decentralised desk officers. This can result in uneven reporting practices within a single donor. The limited availability of staff dedicated to statistical reporting for quality assurance, or a high staff turnover, can also represent challenges to ensure accurate reporting.

Another big challenge for sectoral analyses of external official finance is that activities are, for most providers, currently assigned to only one sector code, while many projects tend to target several sectors at the same time. In order to tackle this issue, in July 201610, DAC members agreed to introduce a system of “multiple sector codes” in the CRS that will allow improved granularity of sectoral information. This system makes it possible to record an activity against up to ten sector codes, thus reflecting the reality of many development projects that actually benefit several sectors. By offering the possibility to record an activity against several sectors, this system is also likely to reduce the amounts of aid recorded as “multisector” (see Box 2.3 and Chapter 3) and make DAC sector statistics more relevant going forward. Finally, the multiple-sector code system will also help providers better reflect their efforts in responding to the SDGs, which are multifaceted in nature.

Another critical element for sectoral analyses is the availability of detailed descriptive information for activities recorded in the system, which remains a challenge for many providers of development co-operation reporting to the DAC. The DAC CRS provides fields for reporting both short and long descriptions of projects. Short descriptions (which are limited to 150 characters) generally contain project titles that are particularly valuable to users who undertake sectoral studies. Long descriptions help put the project further into context, providing details on a wide range of dimensions, such as the objectives, the beneficiaries, or the implementation strategy of the project. The information in long descriptions allows the Secretariat to check the accuracy and consistency of purpose coding. In addition, descriptive information is valuable in detailed sectoral studies. It allows users to carry out research on specific topics (sectors or themes) not identified in existing classifications (e.g. disability), using keyword searches11. A quick review of the evolution of both long and short descriptions for the period 2013-1712 shows no major changes in the quality of descriptions. Half of the DAC membership provided “meaningful and good descriptive” information over this 5-year period. Still, in 2017, about one-quarter of the membership provided the same information in short and long descriptions for more than 20% of their activities. This shows the importance of providers making additional efforts to provide more detailed information beyond short descriptions.

Box 2.3. The OECD DAC sector classification

The OECD DAC sector classification1 includes the following broad sector categories:

  • social infrastructure and services (covering the sectors of education, health, population policies/reproductive health, water and sanitation, government and civil society, and other social infrastructure and services)

  • economic infrastructure and services (covering transport and storage, communications, energy, banking and financial services, and business and other services)

  • production sectors (covering agriculture, forestry, fishing, industry, mining, construction, trade and tourism)

  • multisector/cross-cutting (covering general environmental protection, other multisector elements, including urban and rural development)

  • non-sector allocable (for contributions not susceptible to allocation by sector, such as general budget support, actions relating to debt, humanitarian aid and internal costs in the donor country).

Each of these broad sector categories is then broken down into specific “CRS purpose codes”, against which providers are required to report, as shown in the example below (Table 2.1).

The sector/purpose codes in the DAC CRS classification are selected by answering the question: “Which specific area of the recipient’s economic or social structure is the transfer intended to foster”? The sector classification, therefore, does not refer to the type of goods or services provided by the donor. For example, education activities in a specific sector, such as education in agricultural techniques, would be reported under Agriculture, not Education.

Table 2.1. Example of a sector classification in the OECD Creditor Reporting System for banking and financial services


Banking and financial services


Financial policy and administrative management

Finance sector policy, planning and programmes; institution capacity building and advice; financial markets and systems


Monetary institutions

Central banks


Formal sector financial intermediaries

All formal sector financial intermediaries; credit lines; insurance, leasing, venture capital, etc. (except when focused on only one sector).


Informal/semi-formal financial intermediaries

Micro credit, savings and credit co-operatives, etc.


Education/training in banking and financial services

1 Available at:

Source: (OECD, 2018[10]) and (OECD, 2018[12])

2.2.2. Efforts to include non-DAC providers in the global statistical system could be stepped up as these providers have the potential to greatly improve the sectoral picture of development finance

From a sectoral perspective, one particular area for attention is to expand the picture of the financing of official providers, particularly Arab and other emerging providers such as China, Brazil and India, so that they gradually publish more and more information, including disaggregated data by sector. Broader international co-operation flows from providers beyond the membership of the DAC were estimated at around USD 300 billion in 2014 (Benn and Luijkx, 2017[13]). In the infrastructure sector, estimated combined disbursements for China, India and Arab development partners accounted for 14% of total ODF for infrastructure in 2014 (Miyamoto and Chiofalo, 2016[14]). Data for a very large portion of this financing is currently unavailable publicly (See Box 2.4) and the overall financing from these providers might be much bigger than current estimates. For example, a pilot study (Delalande and Gaveau, 2018[15]) carried out in 2016 showed that China was extending several lending operations to Senegal13 that year, including two loans totalling about USD 1.3 billion to finance road infrastructure. This is almost the equivalent of a single year’s total ODA to Senegal.14

Box 2.4. A partial picture of official development finance, including by sector

The OECD DAC collects annually a large amount of information on official development finance. However, there are still several major providers who do not yet make public the financial information on their development co-operation activities, including by sector. This greatly affects the picture currently available on sectors. The first reason for this lack of availability of information is capacity-related, as it is sometimes challenging for certain large co-operations to collect, collate, and publish this information. The second reason is that some providers, mainly South-South co-operation providers, consider that financial information does not adequately reflect the quality of the intervention or its impact on the developing country. Finally, another important reason is that some providers are fearful of the reaction of their populations to publicity on the support provided to other countries while these same providers face major social challenges at home, including sometimes significant poverty rates.

Providers beyond the DAC increasingly report to the DAC statistical systems, improving the development finance picture, including by sector. In 2012, only two such countries were reporting at the activity level to these systems. Six years later, nine countries reported voluntarily on their development co-operation activity by activity. The nine included some of the now largest bilateral providers of development co-operation, such as the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait15. This has, for example, helped to build a much more complete picture on the “transport and storage” sector where non-DAC providers (mainly Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates) have multiplied more than threefold their support between 2012 and 2016.16

Going forward, the main focus for non-DAC providers from a sectoral perspective would be to strive to provide activity-level information, including with robust sector-coding, rather than the provision of aggregate data (Berbegal and Benn, 2017[16]). For example, Saudi Arabia has reported to the OECD since the 1970s, but only at the aggregate level. So far, this has prevented any meaningful analyses on sectors, despite the significant amount of financing provided by the country. However, in 2018, Saudi Arabia officially launched, through KSrelief, the Saudi Aid Platform (Saudi Arabia, 2018[17]). This is a database that contains activity-level information on Saudi Arabia’s aid contributions. The launch of this database represents a major transparency undertaking by Saudi Arabia to provide critical information, including by sector, on the country’s development co-operation.

2.2.3. Thanks to strong data partnerships, the picture on financing of sectors by multilateral providers is improving

Over the last few years, there has been much improvement in the reporting by multilateral institutions (Berbegal and Benn, 2017[16]). For example, in 2016-17, the Caribbean Development Bank reported activity-level data for commitments in CRS format for the first time, including by sector codes. For the first time in 2016, the United Nations Environment Programme also reported its aid disbursements by programme themes mapped to the CRS sector codes.

The main challenge in the reporting of multilateral institutions is that the data, including that on sectors, are often submitted in non-standard formats, which requires extensive work by the OECD DAC Secretariat before they can be uploaded to the CRS database. In fact, while most bilateral DAC providers record their activities in their own internal systems against the DAC sector classification, this is not the case for many multilateral organisations that have their own sector classifications (e.g. World Bank, African Development Bank and Asian Development Bank)17. To ensure that the information published in the OECD CRS is comparable across all providers, bilateral and multilateral, the OECD has worked with each provider to produce a mapping of their internal sector classifications against the OECD DAC classification. These mappings are regularly updated to ensure that the information published on sectors in the CRS is fully harmonised across providers. Furthermore, for this group of providers, there is room for significant improvement in the use of policy markers (See Box 2.5), although good progress is being made on the climate-related policy markers.

Box 2.5. The contribution of policy markers to sectoral analyses

The “marker” system in the OECD CRS allows for the identification of activities targeted to a specific policy objective. The system covers eight policy areas – gender equality and women’s empowerment; aid to the environment; participatory development and good governance (PD/GG); trade development; reproductive, maternal, new-born and child health (RMNCH); disaster risk reduction; nutrition; and support to people with disabilities – as well as four areas related to the objectives of the Rio Conventions – biodiversity, climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation and desertification. When reporting to the OECD DAC, providers can “flag” their activities against these specific markers, thus providing information on the degree to which members implement these policies in their aid programmes. The marker system can be very useful from a sectoral perspective, for example, when analysing support to the environment, one of the three fundamental pillars of the 2030 Agenda.

Source: (OECD, 2018[10]), “Converged statistical reporting directives for the Creditor Reporting System (CRS) and the annual DAC questionnaire” (2018)9/FINAL/en/pdf.

2.2.4. Private finance to sectors: collecting information on philanthropic giving and the private finance mobilised should be just a first step to responding to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda

Private finance for development mainly comprises finance by private philanthropic foundations and CSOs. Other private flows, such as private flows at market terms (e.g. FDI) and remittances, are important to put ODF data, including that on sectors, into context. Another dimension of private finance currently being developed by the OECD DAC is the measurement of private finance mobilised by ODF interventions. This helps identify those sectors in which private finance is being mobilised by public efforts (see below and Section 2.4).

Private foundations provide significant contributions to critical sectors and are recognised for their flexibility and capacity for innovation, as well as for their ability to leverage additional funds through multi-stakeholder partnerships (United Nations, 2015[2]). However, in terms of availability of information on activities carried out by these actors, there are very few central repositories that provide a wide-ranging view on philanthropic giving by sector, other than the Foundation Center18 and the efforts made by the OECD (See Section 2.4). While, overall, financing by private foundations may not be high compared to traditional providers (See Chapter 3), funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation shows the impact that private foundations can have on critical sectors, such as health (see Section 2.4). At this stage, to further include the contributions of philanthropic giving into sectoral analyses, current efforts should be sustained to expand the scope of publicly and freely available information on philanthropic giving. This will ensure that data are published along internationally agreed sectoral statistical classifications, such as that of the OECD DAC.

In 2015, funds raised privately by non-governmental organisations were estimated at USD 35 billion, according to data collected by the OECD DAC (Ahmad and Nichols, 2017[11]). However, the current reporting of data on these flows is probably understated. In 2015, for example, half of the membership of the OECD DAC did not report data on net private grants by CSOs and, beyond the OECD DAC, there is no central repository on funds mobilised privately by CSOs. This is despite the International Aid Transparency Initiative19. This Initiative makes available information on the funding provided by more than 540 international and national CSOs20 to developing countries, including data broken down by sector along the OECD DAC sector classification.

Knowledge of private flows at market terms is also critical to put development financing into context. From a sectoral perspective, FDI flows would typically be expected to be much higher in sectors where a relative financial return is possible (e.g. such as production sectors and economic infrastructure sectors) and lower in social sectors. In turn, this would mean that official funds would be expected to be smaller in the former and bigger in the latter. Some of the main databases available online, which can provide information on FDI on a global scale, include the OECD.Stat Database21, the Investment Map of the International Trade Centre (ITC)22 or UNCTAD’s Statistical Databases23, even though not all of these databases provide information on FDI by sector.

Regarding remittances, the main source of data currently available is the World Bank Remittances database (World Bank, s.d.[18]), in which the data is not categorised by sector or industry because of the private nature of these flows. However, remittances data can still be useful in analyses that focus on specific sectors – such as health or education – and in specific countries [See for example (Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), 2016[19])].

Measuring private finance mobilised by the official sector in developing countries provides critical information to inform the implementation of the AAAA (United Nations, 2015[2]), which positions private businesses as important actors in delivering on the global ambitions crystalised in the SDGs24. From a development perspective, it is, therefore, critical to measure efforts made by the official sector to mobilise these private resources for development. It is also why the OECD has developed a dedicated work stream on this subject25 and that the present publication integrates amounts mobilised from the private sector through official development interventions (see for example Section 2.4 and Chapter 3). This effort helps improve the picture on where financing is mobilised in support of the SDGs. Additional support and international attention should, therefore, be given to this issue going forward.

Overall, the development finance data landscape shows that capturing broader information on official finance and complementing it with philanthropic data or the private finance mobilised is only a first step in getting a more transparent picture on sector financing. Efforts could be stepped up to get a much wider picture of flows for development from all sources, public and private, as called for in the AAAA.

2.3. Articulating the Sustainable Development Goals and traditional sectors

As the development community has entered the implementation phase of the SDGs, it is important to clarify the relationship between sectors, traditionally used for data reporting, and the SDGs. Understanding this relationship could potentially help improve the measurement of financing channelled towards the goals.26

Looking at the 17 SDGs, it quickly appears that only a few SDGs present a strong and relatively straightforward sectoral focus (such as Goal 3 on Health or Goal 4 on Education). Many others relate to multiple sectors (e.g. SDG 1 on Poverty Eradication, SDG 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth or SDG 10 on Reducing Inequality). To further analyse this issue and improve its own statistical reporting systems, the OECD DAC has launched a number of initiatives to see how data reported in the CRS could be adjusted to measure financing to the SDGs and how its sector classification could be improved to be useful in this new context of the 2030 Agenda. These initiatives include a pilot exercise to map the SDGs with traditional sectors. Revisions to the DAC sector classification reflect the evolving needs of the development community and, through creation of a specific focus field, will help to tag development activities against the SDGs.

2.3.1. Mapping the SDGs against traditional sectors appears highly challenging

Since 2015, the OECD DAC has been investigating the possibility of mapping the OECD DAC CRS sector codes and the SDGs27 (Benn and Gaveau, 2015[20]); (Nichols and Thielemans, 2016[21]) (Benn, 2017[22]). The work has confirmed the overall relevance of the OECD current system of sector classifications to monitor SDG-related interventions, but it has also highlighted numerous challenges to strictly mapping the traditional sectors with the SDGs and their related targets.

First, many goals and targets in the SDG framework are very wide in scope. This makes it hard to identify a direct correspondence between an SDG and a traditional sector. Examples of this difficulty would include Goal 1 “End poverty in all its forms everywhere” and target 8.1 on “Economic growth” to which a large portion of development co-operation actually contributes. Conversely, many SDG targets are too narrow to be matched with existing sector codes. For example, the DAC sector code on “Human rights” could relate to several detailed human rights-related SDG targets. These include target 5.3 “Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilations”, target 8.7 “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking […]” and targets 16.2 and 16.10.

Second, a fundamental challenge in mapping the SDGs to sectors is that the SDGs describe outcomes while sector classifications are defined based on inputs from providers. Even when SDGs and sectors should be relatively easy to match (for example, education or health, where the goals are relatively well delineated and where OECD DAC sector codes are easily identifiable), linking them to each other in a robust way appears highly challenging. An example is the health goal (SDG 3). Target 3.2 reads, “By 2030, end preventable deaths of new-borns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1 000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1 000 live births”. This target can be linked to two different codes in the OECD DAC CRS classification (code 12220-Basic health care and code 12230-Basic health infrastructure). But not all health activities relate to fighting neonatal mortality. So analysing financing for this issue would require assessing all activities under these two codes to identify activities directly related to child mortality. This can be highly challenging in practice. In this particular case, one could also use the RMNCH marker to identify relevant activities (see Box 2.5).

Overall, the many challenges finally led to the recognition that the classifications would not allow establishment of a direct and robust link between development co-operation sectoral inputs and development outcomes (Benn, 2017[22]).

2.3.2. Sectoral classifications are being improved to reflect the evolving needs of the development community

To keep sectoral tracking of development flows up to date, the DAC regularly carries out adjustments to its sectoral classifications. Such adjustments are suggested based on members’ experiences in the field or based upon specific requests from external development actors28 (see Box 2.6). Over the last years, more than 10 new codes have been created and several adjusted on a wide range of themes, such as investment, non-communicable diseases, humanitarian assistance or nutrition. In parallel to this process, as mentioned in Section 2.2, a “multiple purpose codes” system to record a given activity against several sector codes was recently introduced in the OECD CRS. This will allow greater granularity of data to respond to the multifaceted SDG agenda.

Box 2.6. Adjusting the DAC classification to emerging needs: The case of nutrition

Capturing resources for nutrition is critical to monitoring the progress and commitments towards the World Health Organisation 2025 targets for nutrition1 and SDG 2 ("End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”).

The CRS purpose code for basic nutrition2 (12240) is commonly used by the global nutrition community as a proxy for investments in nutrition-specific interventions. These would be direct, high-impact nutrition interventions that address the immediate determinants and causes of undernutrition. However, the basic nutrition purpose code was not well-aligned with the international and scientific consensus on the definition of nutrition-specific interventions. For example, the basic nutrition code included school feeding and household food security, which are not typically considered nutrition specific. These inclusions were leading to an overestimation of nutrition-specific investments and a misinterpretation of progress towards nutrition scale up.

In that context, the non-governmental organisation “Action Contre la Faim”, with the support of France, initiated a proposal to the DAC Working Party on Development Finance Statistics to redefine the scope of the basic nutrition purpose code. This led to the creation of two new separate codes for school feeding and household food security, thereby improving the quality of nutrition-related activities. The new codes will be implemented in 2019 for 2018 flows.

1 See:

2 Which covers direct feeding programmes (maternal feeding, breastfeeding and weaning foods, child feeding and school feeding); determination of micro-nutrient deficiencies; provision of vitamin A, iodine, iron, etc.; monitoring of nutritional status; nutrition and food hygiene education; and household food security.

2.3.3. Scoping the possibility of tagging individual activities to the SDGs

In 2018, the DAC has approved the introduction of a voluntary SDG reporting field in the CRS database (Gualberti, Benn and al., 2018[23]) with reporting scheduled to start in 2019 on 2018 flows. The SDG data field will allow establishing linkages between the activities and the goals and targets to which the activities are contributing. The presence of this field in the database will permit bilateral and multilateral development partners reporting to the DAC to tag activities against specific SDG goals or targets. This would greatly help in better tracking financing to the 2030 Agenda. Also, it would help to shift the logic of the current system, which is mainly based on the classification of the purposes and sectors of intervention of the activities (inputs), towards a new system that will also capture a large set of targets along with the purposes and sectors. The development of this SDG focus field will also contribute to the reporting against the emerging framework for the SDG era called TOSSD (see Section 2.4.).

2.4. Unpacking total official support for sustainable development’s potential for sectoral analyses

The development landscape is characterised by highly fragmented development finance information (see Section 2.1). Getting a better understanding of where SDG financing is targeted, including by sector, requires the international community to come together and standardise information across providers of development co-operation. This is the ambition of the TOSSD framework. It is a statistical framework specifically designed to track resources towards the SDGs and to provide transparency on development resource flows, including beyond ODA.

After a short presentation of the TOSSD framework, this section sheds light on key areas where TOSSD can provide critical information for sectoral analyses (specifically the inclusion of amounts mobilised from the private sector, the inclusion of data by emerging providers and data on private philanthropy, as a satellite indicator).

2.4.1. TOSSD: A statistical standard for the SDG era

The concept of total official support for sustainable development (TOSSD)29 first emerged in 2014 in the course of work undertaken by OECD DAC to align its statistical system with today’s development finance landscape. The new framework aims to provide greater transparency about the full array of officially-supported bilateral, multilateral and South-South finance provided in support of sustainable development (OECD, 2017[24]). TOSSD was first recognised internationally in the AAAA in July 2015 (United Nations, 2015[2]). Its statistical features have been under development since July 2017 by an International Task Force30 consisting of about 25 development policy and statistical experts. Emerging providers are also present as observers to the Task Force.

TOSSD is envisaged as a two-pillar framework (See Figure 2.2). Pillar I would capture cross-border flows to developing countries. Pillar II would capture resources that support development enablers and address global challenges at the regional and global levels. While both pillars will provide information relevant for sectoral analyses, Pillar II has the potential to unveil some sectoral information currently missing in international statistics. This includes support to international tribunals (in the justice sector) or activities supporting oceans in international waters (in the environment sector), two areas that are not well captured in existing databases.

Figure 2.2. TOSSD: two pillars to capture more information on sustainable development

Source: Extracted from the International TOSSD Task Force webpage (accessed 31 October 2018),

The TOSSD framework will capture all resources in support of SDG-related investments (Table 2.2) including grants, loans and equity investments. It will also include the amounts mobilised from the private sector, which will help create incentives to mobilise more resources from the private sector.31

A number of “satellite” indicators will complement the TOSSD framework to put official resources into context. These will include private flows at market terms and remittances along with information on private finance for development coming from private foundations.

Table 2.2. The emerging framework of TOSSD

Types of flows


A. Grants

B. Financial transactions

Including grants and technical assistance

Including debt instruments and equity investments

Total official flows (A+B)

In gross terms

C. Resources mobilised from the private sector

Private resources mobilised by official development interventions, regardless of the country of origin of the funds

Envisaged “satellite” indicators

D. Private flows at market terms

E. Private philanthropy

F. Remittances

FDI and other securities, including bonds

Provided by private philanthropic foundations for development

Source: Compilation based on information available at, (Delalande and Gaveau, 2018[15]) and (Delalande, Halvorson-Quevedo and Sangaré, 2018[25]).

2.4.2. TOSSD can help the development community to deliver on its promise to mobilise the private sector for the SDGs

The AAAA positions private businesses as critical actors in delivering on the global ambition crystallised in the SDGs32. But how will the development community know if it delivers on its promise to mobilise the private sector towards the SDGs?

The TOSSD framework will help to respond to this question. It will build on the work started by the OECD DAC in 2013 to establish an international standard to measure the volume of private finance mobilised through ODF interventions33 (Figure 2.3). So far, methodologies to measure the amounts mobilised have been developed for seven leveraging mechanisms (representing most of the instruments used to mobilise private finance) – guarantees, syndicated loans, shares in collective investment vehicles, credit lines, direct investment in companies, grants and loans in co-financing arrangements, and project finance. A recent survey (Benn, Sangaré and Hos, 2017[26]) showed that the main sectors in which private finance was mobilised were the banking sector, followed by the energy and the industry sectors. These data provide a new view on where private finance is mobilised in critical SDGs and sectors. They also invite the development community to reflect on how to improve the granularity of sectoral information as, in some cases, the information provided may relate to the sectoral allocation of the first channel of delivery (e.g. banks, funds), rather than the ultimate beneficiary sector of the financial transaction.

Figure 2.3. Private finance is mostly mobilised in industry, mining, construction, energy and banking and business
Average 2012-16, 2016 constant prices, USD billion commitments

Source: (OECD, 2016[27]), “OECD DAC survey on amounts mobilised from the private sector by official development finance interventions 2012-2015”. Estimates for the year 2016. See also the Annex at the end of this document.


In order to reflect the new trend, this report uses the data collected on the amounts mobilised alongside ODF information to provide a cross-sectoral overview of officially supported resources in support of the SDGs.

Beyond the measurement of how much private finance is mobilised towards the SDGs, another critical aspect for developing countries and the development community at large is how sectoral financing packages actually come together in targeted sectors. TOSSD will provide data that identifies all the actors involved in a given financing package. This will greatly help to bring additional transparency to these financing packages. From a developing country perspective, this information will contribute to an understanding of how countries put together financing packages (See Box 2.7). In order to fully harness the potential of TOSSD data, however, it will be important that the international community complements these data with appropriate tools that can allow for visual representations of financing packages.

Box 2.7. TOSSD: How do sector financing packages come together in the 2030 era?

In 2016 and 2017, the OECD carried out two country pilots in Senegal (Delalande and Gaveau, 2018[15]) and the Philippines (Delalande, Halvorson-Quevedo and Sangaré, 2018[25])) to gather the perspectives of developing countries on TOSSD. These pilots revealed that TOSSD could greatly contribute to a greater transparency of financing packages in key sectors. This would be particularly so in countries where financing is scarce, or the risk perceived as highest. In these contexts, putting together financing packages sometimes requires more financing engineering than in countries where money is more easily available. TOSSD would inform developing countries and providers alike about how different financing packages come together in different sectors.

For example, Figure 2.4 shows the financing package of a toll highway project between Dakar and Diamniadio, a city located about 30 kms from the Senegalese capital. TOSSD would help capture information that is currently not available in the DAC Creditor Reporting System by collecting data on the contributions of the private company Eiffage and the Compagnie bancaire de l’Afrique occidentale (CBAO – the Banking Company of West Africa) to this financing package.

Figure 2.4. The Dakar–Diamniadio toll highway project

Note: PPIAF – Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility; SENAC – a Senegalese concession company set up by Eiffage.

Source: Updated through country-level interviews from Figure 1 in (OECD, 2014[28])

2.4.3. TOSSD can help trigger policy dialogue with emerging providers while filling-in critical sectoral data gaps coming from non-traditional providers

TOSSD aims to capture resources from all providers, including South-South and triangular co-operation providers, whatever the modality used by these providers. To consider the perspective of these providers in TOSSD, the International TOSSD Task Force is, for example, developing a methodology to measure in-kind technical co-operation in the TOSSD framework, a modality that is central to these providers.34

The sectoral implications of this work are numerous. First, by bringing together traditional and emerging providers, TOSSD would help standardise information, including on sectors across a much wider development community, thereby facilitating the analyses of information through a more comprehensive sectoral picture. The latest 2017 Secretaría General Iberoamericana (SEGIB) report on South-South Co-operation in the Ibero-America region (SEGIB, 2017[29]), for example, presents data on 1 475 South-South Co-operation activities. If these activities were available in a format that allowed for the manipulation of these data along the various dimensions available in the report, they could greatly complement information available in the OECD CRS and improve the existing sectoral picture available publicly (See Box 2.8). Seeing the information currently available in the first regional Ibero-American Integrated Data System on South-South and Triangular Co-operation (Sistema Integrado de Datos de Iberoamérica sobre Cooperacíon Sur-Sur y Triangular – SIDICSS) alongside data available in the OECD CRS would provide a very advanced sectoral picture on development co-operation.35

Box 2.8. Example of an area of collaboration on sectors with South-South co-operation providers: approaches to institutional strengthening

The latest 2017 SEGIB report on South-South co-operation in the Ibero-América region (SEGIB, 2017[29]), supported by Spain as a main funder for more than a decade, presents data on 1 475 South-South co-operation activities. From a sectoral perspective, the report is mainly based on the OECD Creditor Reporting System sector classifications, but with a methodology that has been adjusted over time to reflect the specificities of South-South co-operation. An interesting feature of the report is that activities are clustered along priority policy areas. The most important priority area for South-South co-operation providers is “institutional strengthening”. This represents more than 21% of bilateral South-South co-operation projects and more than 17% of regional South-South co-operation projects. This is an area of action that the OECD Creditor Reporting System is not in a position to capture easily and represents an interesting subject for policy dialogue between the two communities of providers.

In order to capture the evolving nature of some of the interventions by DAC and non-DAC providers, the DAC is also taking a number of initiatives to include a wider range of activities supported by its membership. For example, starting in 2016, the DAC has implemented a “Triangular Co-operation” code in the OECD CRS that allows members to report their bilateral triangular co-operation (Benn and Luijkx, 2015[30]). Germany has been the first member to report information in the OECD CRS using this new code, with 10 programmes for approximately USD 11 million in 2016.36 Germany has been supporting, for example, projects on climate change, health and governance issues in various regions.

The OECD’s Development Co-operation Directorate has also established an online repository of triangular co-operation projects (OECD, 2017[31]). This is based on its 2015 survey of triangular co-operation activities, which collected 450 projects from 62 countries (OECD, 2017[32]), and additional activities that were shared later on. These added up to over 500 triangular initiatives. These activities, currently not recorded in the OECD CRS, represent critical complementary data to that already available in this database. These data facilitate understanding of the current development co-operation landscape by sector. Triangular Co-operation projects may not always have large budgets, but they may have a big impact on partners and the lives of people in the target groups. For instance, a Triangular Co-operation project that Brazil has been implementing with the World Food Programme on human milk banks started working with USD 30 000 and has been scaled up to work in nine Latin American and African countries, reaching millions of people.

An OECD working paper focusing on triangular co-operation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region (Casado-Asensio and Piefer, 2018[33]), helped collect another 53 projects in addition to those in the repository. The paper, confirms that triangular co-operation is happening in regions beyond Latin America. Triangular co-operation in the MENA region is more than a niche modality and represents non-negligible volumes of assistance for 68% of technical co-operation projects in this region having a budget over USD 1 million. This information, currently not available in the CRS, reveals the composition of Arab providers’ support to sectors. The focus is on economic infrastructure and services, notably, transport and storage (20% of their co-operation for about USD 700 million), energy (15%), and industry, mining and construction (9%).

Overall, it appears clear that both South-South co-operation and triangular co-operation would provide valuable information if it was seen in conjunction with existing DAC CRS reporting. TOSSD has a strong potential to provide this common framework of reporting and provide an improved sectoral picture of development finance.

2.4.4. TOSSD “satellite” indicators can help expand the global picture on sectors

The TOSSD framework is expected to include the tracking of external financing for development much beyond official finance. It does this by also looking at private finance mobilised through official interventions, as well as other private flows, such as FDI, remittances or private philanthropy (see Table 2.2) This is very much in line with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) (United Nations, 2015[2]).

A good example of the potential contribution of TOSSD to providing increased transparency on sectoral flows for development is the example of private philanthropy, the growth of which was much welcomed at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa37. The private philanthropy “satellite indicator” of the TOSSD framework would be informed by a regular collection of data on Global Private Philanthropy for Development. This would build on the recent OECD survey38 that managed to collect activity-level data and detailed information from major philanthropic foundations active in development co-operation. Even though tracking an expanded set of flows does not come without challenges (See Box 2.9), initiatives such as the OECD DAC Survey can fill critical sectoral data gaps and has the potential to change the perspective on some specific SDGs. Prior to this ground-breaking exercise, no publicly available source of data on the activities of private philanthropic foundations in development, aligned with international statistical standards and comparable to traditional aid by sector, was available. The survey revealed a total contribution by private philanthropic foundations of USD 23.9 billion during the period 2013-15, or USD 7.96 billion per year, on average.

Box 2.9. TOSSD will need to overcome some of the barriers in the existing system

TOSSD holds great promise for standardising the information on a wider range of flows from a larger number of providers. However, there is a legitimate risk that some of the challenges faced by the current OECD DAC system (see Sections 2.2 and 2.3 in this chapter) may also be present in the TOSSD framework. When implementing TOSSD, providers could, therefore, pay special attention to a number of key dimensions.

A new architecture involving a wide set of actors: New mechanisms, taking into account political dimensions, will need to be put in place to allow for the participation of all actors. For example, the International TOSSD Task Force39 is implementing an observer mechanism that allows for the participation of major emerging economies in the process. This mechanism will help to bring their perspectives into the process. A better sectoral picture may come at a cost in the short term. For example, getting data from emerging economies may mean accepting only aggregated sectoral information at first.

Staff capacity: Collecting a wider set of flows requires additional capacity to manage the amount and increased complexity of information that underpin these flows. From a sectoral perspective, knowledge of the SDGs and an understanding of the various financial instruments and partnership modalities with the private sector, will be increasingly important.

Information technology systems: Investment in current systems will be needed to avoid duplication of efforts. DAC providers should, for example, continue investing in the CRS, as this system will remain the backbone of the TOSSD framework (to avoid parallel data collection processes, it is anticipated that the DAC CRS reporting will be used to produce TOSSD data for these providers.) Other systems and strong partnerships should be used to complement the information beyond official information.

The potential of private philanthropy to contribute to the global picture of support to sectors in developing countries is particularly visible in the health and population policies/programmes and reproductive health sectors, as shown in Figure 2.5. Overall, during the period 2012-16, private philanthropy is estimated to have contributed USD 3.3 billion dollars annually to the “health” and “population and reproductive health” sectors in developing countries. This makes private philanthropy the third biggest donor in these two sectors and the largest donor when looking solely at the health sector. Private philanthropic foundations, particularly the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which accounts for an estimated yearly average of USD 2.2 billion of this USD 3.3 billion of contributions to the “health” and “population and reproductive health” sectors, represent important actors in the delivery of SDG 3 – “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.

Figure 2.5. Private philanthropy as a whole is the third biggest donor to the health sectors and is critical to achieving SDG 3
Average 2012-16, 2016 constant prices, USD billion commitments

Note: SDG 3 is “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.

Source: For ODF, (OECD, 2018[34]), “International development statistics (database)”, For private philanthropy, calculations based on philanthropic information in (OECD, 2018[35]), Creditor Reporting System, and (OECD, 2017[36]), the OECD survey on Private Philanthropy for Development 2013-15 (with estimates for 2012 and 2016). See also the Annex at the end of this document. Assessed/core contributions to multilateral organisations were excluded to avoid double counting.



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← 1. See for more information on the Ibero-American Integrated Data System on South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SIDICSS). The latest report using this data is available at

← 2. The database is available at The Private Participation in Infrastructure Projects Database records the total investment in infrastructure projects from private participation since 1990. It covers a wide range of infrastructure-related sectors (water, energy, transport and telecommunications), including at activity level.

← 3. For more information see: The database has been jointly developed by the Bank for International Settlements, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank (WB). It brings together external debt data and selected foreign assets from international creditor/market and debtor/national sources.

← 4. The service tracks cross-border greenfield investment across all sectors and countries worldwide, with real-time monitoring of investment projects, capital investment and job creation.

← 5. The database is available at: Climate Funds Update is an independent website that provides information on the growing number of international climate finance initiatives designed to help developing countries address the challenges of climate change.

← 6. For a definition of official development finance see para. 31 in (OECD, 2018[10]).

← 7. The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

← 8. Other challenges not described in this section, but which may also have implications for the quality of sectoral analyses, include, for example, challenges related to data provided in national languages; the use of acronyms, which makes it hard for the user to interpret the data; or varying levels of aggregation of data, which prevents users from accessing activity-level information – recognising that for some providers, such as the United States, the number of records makes it almost obligatory to aggregate some of the information.

← 9. In the current system, reporters are required to report their activities against one sector only, even if the activity focuses on more than just one sector. This system is being improved with a “multiple sector coding system” – as described in the same section.

← 10. This new system will be implemented in 2018 for 2017 flows, with a trial period of three years.

← 11. For more information on these issues, see (OECD, 2018[10]). Key word searches in particular do not necessarily allow for good analysis of certain topics as these types of searches heavily depend on the quality of descriptive information provided in the data reporting.

← 12. Through a comparison between Table 2 in [DCD-DAC-STAT(2017)15] and the table in Annex 2 in [DCD/DAC/STAT(2013)4]. The years refer to the year of assessment, 2012 or 2017, not the year of the flows considered.

← 13. Some of the loans are extended at an interest rate of 2% with a grace period of 9 years and a maturity of 20 years. The concessional character of a loan, from the point of view of the OECD DAC, differs from the one applied in Senegal.

← 14. All providers reporting to the CRS, in 2015 commitment terms.

← 15. See also Figure 7.13 on page 156 in (OECD, 2017[3]).

← 16. Non-DAC providers account for more than 5% of ODF to this sector.

← 17. For an example of classification by a multilateral organisation, see that of the World Bank at:

← 18.

← 19.

← 20. As of 20 June 2018, based on the list provided at

← 21. Available at, under the section “Globalisation”, the OECD.Stat database provides FDI financial flows in main aggregates, by partner country and by industry; FDI income by partner country and by industry; and FDI positions by main aggregates, by partner country and by industry. FDI information is also available in the OECD IDS online databases (OECD, 2018[34]).

← 22. The Investment map is available at It is a web-based tool that helps Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) assess which sectors in their countries have successfully attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and it assists them in the process of prioritizing sectors for investment promotion.

← 23. Available at; the UNCTADStat provides annual FDI figures (inward and outward flows and stock) since 1970.

← 24. See in particular paragraphs 35 to 49 in (United Nations, 2015[2]).

← 25. See:

← 26. Every year, the OECD DAC provides the UN with key financing information to develop the Sustainable Development Goals Report. See for example the section on “the Partnerships for the Goals” in (UN DESA, 2017[39]).

← 27. For a full list of SDGs and targets, see (United Nations, 2017[38]).

← 28. For more information on how purpose codes are updated, see the “Rules on frequency of updates to purpose codes for DAC Sector Classification at:

← 29. For more information on TOSSD, please see:

← 30. See:

← 31. For more information on the work of the International TOSSD Task Force, see:

← 32. See in particular paragraphs 35 to 49 of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (United Nations, 2015[2]).

← 33. For more information on this OECD work strand, see:

← 34. See the papers related to the measurement of technical co-operation in

← 35. This would also require discussions of the respective methodologies and definitions used in both systems.

← 36. Data was reported in 2017 on 2016 flows (disbursements, current).

← 37. See in particular paragraph 42 in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (United Nations, 2015[2]).

← 38. For more information on the work strand on private philanthropy at the OECD, see:

← 39. For more information on the TOSSD Task Force, see

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