Development finance standards

In-donor refugee costs in Official Development Assistance (ODA)


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DAC members can count the costs of assisting refugees in donor countries as ODA. To preserve ODA integrity and allow comparability among members, the DAC endorsed in 2017 the five clarifications to the reporting directives and encourages members to start applying them.

Five clarifications:

Rationale for counting in-donor costs as ODA 
Underlines that refugee protection is a legal obligation and that providing assistance to refugees may be considered a form of humanitarian assistance.
Eligible categories of refugees
States that categories must be based on international legal definitions. Asylum seekers and recognised refugees are covered.
The “12-month rule”
Reaffirms that beyond 12 months, expenditures are outside the scope of statistics on international flows. 
Eligibility of specific cost items
Explains what cost items may or not be included in reporting, e.g. temporary sustenance (food, shelter, training) is eligible but not costs for integrating refugees into the economy of the donor country.
Methodology for assessing costs 
Emphasises the need for a conservative approach.

The changes are aimed to improve the consistency, comparability, and transparency of DAC members reporting of ODA-eligible in-donor refugee costs.

Report on the implementation of the clarifications on ODA reporting of in-donor refugees costs

This paper describes the work of the DAC Working Party on Development Finance Statistics on this topic over the last three years and highlights the lessons learnt in the course of collecting and reviewing the models used by members for calculating their ODA-eligible in-donor refugee costs. It summarises the outcome of the Secretariat’s validation process and gives recommendations for improvements needed.

DAC member profiles on ODA in-donor refugee costs

DAC members adjusted their methodologies for calculating in-donor refugee costs in ODA to be in line with the five Clarifications that were agreed in 2017. 

Compare DAC members’ methodologies for reporting in-donor refugee costs in ODA with our comparison tool.