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Click here to view the FTS Definition of humanitarian aid for statistical purposes.


"14 point" format A standardised on-line contribution reporting format, containing 14 data fields, which is used by the European Commission and by European Union Member States to transmit reports of humanitarian funding actions. (Some non-EU governments have adopted this form for reporting to FTS.) EU Member States should complete and transmit the on-line form to ECHO as soon as possible whenever a funding commitment for humanitarian action is made. ECHO then automatically copies the forms to FTS. Form elaborated jointly by ECHO and OCHA.
Allocation of unearmarked funds An allocation of unearmarked or loosely earmarked funds to specific clusters/sectors, activities or projects. These amounts are often indicative figures that are subject to changes, as many UN agencies may re-allocate unearmarked funding to other emergencies or activities once earmarked funds have been received.
Appeal Consolidated or Flash Appeal.
Appeal year Calendar year of the Appeal. (Most Consolidated Appeals run January-December. If not, or if it is a 3/6-month Flash Appeal, then the appeal year is that of the majority of the implementation period:
e.g., a 6-month appeal starting on Dec. 26, 2004, would be designated as a 2005 appeal. Appeals exactly split between two calendar years, e.g. a 12-month appeal starting July 1, by custom are designated as being in the year in which they started.
Appealing Organization
(or Agency)
A humanitarian organisation (UN Agency, NGO, or Red Cross / Red Crescent) using the Consolidated Appeal Process to request funding for a specific project that it will implement; i.e. listing its project(s) in the Appeal.
Appealing Organization
(or Agency)
Parent Organization
An umbrella organisation that contains multiple humanitarian organisations; or, the aggregate of several chapters of an organization. E.g., “Oxfam International” is the parent organization of Oxfam-UK, Oxfam-Canada, NOVIB etc.; “MSF” is the parent organization of MSF-France, MSF-Spain etc.
Area of destination Region within the recipient country, such as Chechnya within Russian Federation, where the funded action will be implemented.
Budget year Fiscal/Accounting year of the donor.
CAP Country Team The group of all participating organisations (incl. UNCT, NGOs, donors, Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement) in the Consolidated Appeals Process (i.e. those providing input into the common humanitarian)
Carry-over Previous year's carry-over stocks (i.e. stocks physically in-country at 31 December) and carry-over contributions (i.e. funds committed by the donor at 31 December), not spent or used in the previous year, and now to be applied to projects in the current year.
Channel = Appealing Organization (UN Agency, Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, NGO).
Commitment Creation of a contractual obligation regarding funding between the donor and appealing agency. Almost always takes the form of a signed contract. This is the crucial stage of humanitarian funding: agencies cannot spend money and implement before a funding commitment is made; once it is made, they can begin spending against it, using cash reserves.
Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) The CHAP is a strategic plan for humanitarian response in a given country or region and includes the following elements:
(a) A common analysis of the context in which humanitarian action takes place;
(b) An assessment of needs;
(c) best, worst, and most likely scenarios;
(d) Stakeholder analysis, i.e. who does what and where;
(e) A clear statement of longer-term objectives and goals;
(f) Prioritised response plans; and
(g) A framework for monitoring the strategy and revising it if necessary.
Complex Emergency A humanitarian crisis that requires an international response that goes beyond the mandate or capacity of any single agency. (IASC, December 1994) Complex emergencies are typically characterized by: extensive violence and loss of life, massive displacements of people, widespread damage to societies and economies, need for large-scale, multi-faceted humanitarian assistance, hindrance or prevention of humanitarian assistance by political and military constraints and significant security risks for humanitarian relief workers in some areas.
Consolidated Appeal A reference document on the humanitarian strategy, programme and funding requirements in response to a major or complex emergency.
Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) An inclusive and coordinated programming cycle through which national, regional, and international relief systems mobilize to respond to selected major or complex emergencies that require a system-wide response to humanitarian crisis. A common humanitarian strategy is elaborated through the CAP and an action plan to implement this strategy. Projects included in the CAP support the humanitarian strategy. CAP serves to promote a coordinated strategy, a common fund-raising platform, and to advocate for humanitarian principles.
The CAP cycle includes:
(a) strategic planning leading to a Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP);
(b) resource mobilisation (leading to a Consolidated Appeal or a Flash Appeal);
(c) coordinated programme implementation;
(d) joint monitoring and evaluation;
(e) revision, if necessary; and
(f) reporting on results.

For more information see
Contribution The payment or transfer of funds or in-kind goods from the donor towards the appealing agency, resulting from a commitment.
Contribution type Describes the donation as cash or in-kind (see definition).
Contribution year Calendar year in which the funding commitment is made.
Decision date Date on which the donor is reported to have made the funding commitment for that item.
Donor country Refers to funding by a national government. All funding from other sources (corporate, foundation, individuals, ecclesiastical) is designated as being “private”.
Donor organisation Where applicable, agency within national government, or private organisation, making the contribution.
Donor parent organisation Headquarters of donating organisation (e.g. UNICEF National Committees have UNICEF/NY as its parent organisation).
Donor's project code Any code that donors may attribute to a project or funding item for their own internal tracking purposes (as distinct from CAP Project Code assigned by OCHA). Example:
Earmarked Contribution Funding for which the donor specifies the exact use (project and destination) for the contribution. (See also “Unearmarked Contribution.”) Note that in reality, there are degrees of earmarking: funds can be earmarked to the level of country (e.g. Sudan) or crisis (e.g. Tsunami), province (e.g. Darfur), sector (e.g. health), or—the most restricted level—project (e.g. UNICEF North Darfur Nutrition Project). FTS treats any funds earmarked at least to the level of country as earmarked; if the donor does not specify project and sector, FTS attributes the funds to “Sector not yet specified”.
Emergency An emergency is the larger "crisis" that calls for immediate humanitarian response.
Emergency year Calendar year of the outbreak of the Emergency
FTS A web-based, searchable contributions tracking system which reflects all humanitarian funding reported to OCHA. Includes contributions to Consolidated Appeals, natural disasters, and all other humanitarian aid as reported to OCHA. In-kind contributions, with a dollar value reported by the donor or recipient entity, are also recorded.
GLIDE number A unique identifier number for an emergency (GLobal unique disaster IDEntifier number). The system that generates the numbers (also cited on ReliefWeb) is managed by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters ( For more info see
Humanitarian aid An intervention to help people who are victims of a natural disaster or conflict meet their basic needs and rights. Because FTS is mandated to track all humanitarian aid, it was necessary for FTS’ stakeholders to develop a Definition of humanitarian aid for statistical purposes, which serves as the criterion for posting funding information on FTS.
Implementing Partners Organisations that collaborate with the “appealing organisation” to implement a project, usually under a sub-contracting relationship. These can be national government institutions, national or international NGOs, or other organizations such as private sector. FTS users should bear in mind that it is difficult to represent the several channels that funding may pass through: for example, a donor government may fund an international NGO, which in turn funds a national NGO, which in turn funds local government, etc. In these cases, FTS shows the primary funding transaction between international donor and recipient agency (in this example, the international NGO).
Implementing Period The project duration or appeal duration (the latter being equal to the maximum implementation period of its constituent projects). FTS users should bear in mind that with chronic emergencies, a project often flows without interruption from one year to the next; in these cases, the “implementation period” (e.g. one year, for a one-year Consolidated Appeal) is a frame within which to measure goals, outputs, and funding needs.
In-kind Non-cash assistance in materials or services (e.g. food, tents, secondment of staff).
Private Funding from any private source (individuals or organisations), i.e. not from national governments, are represented as "Private,” irrespective of the national origin of the private funds. The private organization is named if applicable; if the reported funding is a lump sum of individual donations, then the source is labelled simply “private.” “Private” appears on the drop-down list of donor countries; for details about donor organization, choose that option from the “build table” function.
Natural Disaster A serious disruption of the functioning of the society, causing widespread human, material or environmental losses that exceed the ability of affected society to cope using only its own resources.
Original Requirements Net appealing amount (per Project or Agency) at issuance of Appeal (Total budget - available resources = requirements). See also “Revised requirements”.
Other contributions (to projects not listed in the Appeal) Contributions reported by donors for emergency assistance, but not applied to projects listed in a Consolidated Appeal. These contributions are recorded by OCHA to reflect overall humanitarian aid flows. Donors and recipient agencies should report all such funding to FTS (or to ECHO via the 14-point system) as soon as it is committed.
Paid contribution Same as “contribution.” Also refers to in-kind.
Pledge A non-binding announcement of an intended contribution or allocation by the donor. Can be specific as to appealing agency and project, or specify only the crisis (e.g. a pledge for the Darfur crisis or for the Sudan Consolidated Appeal).
Project Code Consolidated appeal Project Code, a unique identifier code for each Appeal project. The code abbreviates the country, year, and sector. Example: BDI-05/A01 represents a project in the Consolidated Appeal for Burundi for 2005, in the Agriculture sector.
Requirements Covered (in %) Total resources available divided by revised requirements (or original requirements if no revisions have occurred). Essentially, this shows the funding response per project, agency, sector, or appeal in proportion to requirements.
Revised requirements Changes in project or Agency budget resulting from new costs and/or external factors. See "Guidelines for CAP revisions request".
Sector A technical grouping of project activities. The FTS follows standardised sector definitions per the guidelines for CAPs (though other such groupings exist). Sectoral definitions and boundaries, while always arbitrary to some degree, do reflect reality in that many agencies have sectoral specialisations, and many emergencies cause humanitarian needs that are particularly acute in certain sectors. Sectoral analysis of requirements and funding is therefore critical.

Each appeal project can have only one sector identification, though it may have multiple themes (see definition of Themes below).

The standard sectors are:
Coordination and Support Services;
Economic Recovery and Infrastructure;
Mine Action;
Protection / Human Rights / Rule of law;
Shelter and Non-food Items;
Water and Sanitation.

(“Multi-sector” is reserved for projects with no one dominant sector.) If funding is given in an unearmarked fashion and not yet applied by the recipient agency to a particular project and sector, FTS shows the funding under the heading “Sector not yet specified.” See FTS Definition of humanitarian aid for statistical purposes for detailed lists of which activities are assigned to which sector.
Shortfall See unmet requirements
Stakeholder An individual or group who has an interest in and influences activities, programs and objectives.
Status The status of a particular funding item, which is critical to understanding how much funding is actually available to agencies on the ground. FTS recognises three statuses (see below): pledge, commitment, and contribution. Nearly all official contributions are preceded by a commitment; sometimes the commitment is preceded by a pledge. The critical factor is that agencies cannot spend funds and implement the project on the basis of a pledge; only a legally binding funding commitment from a donor (or the actual contribution) allows an agency to spend. FTS users should be aware that some agencies use the word “pledge” to refer to a commitment. FTS counts only commitments and contributions as funding towards an appeal (i.e. to calculate the % covered). Pledges are shown in a separate column, as indications.
Status: Commitment Creation of a contractual obligation regarding funding between the donor and appealing agency. Almost always takes the form of a signed contract.
Status: Contribution
(also “paid contribution”)
The payment or transfer of funds or in-kind goods from the donor towards the appealing agency, resulting from a commitment.
Status: Pledge A non-binding announcement of an intended contribution or allocation by the donor. Can be specific as to appealing agency and project, or specify only the crisis, or be unearmarked (to be allocated among crises at the recipient agency’s discretion). As a practical matter, agencies typically do not spend internal reserves and start project implementation against a non-binding pledge; they must wait for a commitment (see above). On FTS tables, “uncommitted pledges” are shown as indications only, and are not counted towards the % coverage of an appeal. Sometimes, a donor makes a large general pledge towards a certain emergency, and then makes a series of smaller specific commitments to agencies and projects; in these cases, the figure under “uncommitted pledge” reflects the uncommitted balance of the full original pledge.
Strategic Monitoring A process that enables assessment of the progress and effectiveness of a given CAP Strategy (humanitarian action plan) and, if necessary, its modification.
Theme Themes allow further financial analysis according to project groups such as gender, IDPs, etc. This enables keyword searching of funding amounts. A project may have multiple themes.
Total Resources Available Carry-Over + Contributions and commitments.
Unearmarked contribution A contribution (or commitment) for which the donor does not require the funds to be used for a specific project, sector, crisis or country, leaving the recipient organisation to decide on allocation of funds to specific projects. (See also “ Contribution.”) Because there are degrees of earmarking (e.g. to a country or crisis, or a sector), FTS treats as “unearmarked” any funding that is not earmarked at least to the country level. (For example, funding earmarked to “Africa,” or to “East Africa,” is treated as unearmarked on FTS.) A growing phenomenon is funding not even earmarked to a particular recipient agency, e.g. directed at the UN’s Central Emergency Revolving Fund, or to a Consolidated Appeal to be distributed by the UN Resident Coordinator’s office among various appeal projects and agencies.
Unmet requirements Revised requirements (or original requirements if no revisions occurred) minus total resources available. (Also called “shortfall”).

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