Development finance standards

Purpose Codes: sector classification


Important notes:


  • The purpose codes for reporting on 2018 flows are available in the codes list. They include new codes for “Remittance facilitation, promotion and optimisation” and for “Facilitation of orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility”.
  • Historical changes to purpose codes since 2010 (xls)
  • Rules on frequency of updates to purpose codes for DAC Sector Classification (pdf)




1. The sector of destination of a contribution should be 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 does not refer to the type of goods or services provided by the donor.  Sector specific education or research activities (e.g. agricultural education) or construction of infrastructure (e.g. agricultural storage) should be reported under the sector to which they are directed, not under education, construction, etc.


2. Some contributions are not susceptible to allocation by sector and are reported as non-sector allocable aid.  Examples are aid for general development purposes, general budget support, actions relating to debt, emergency assistance and internal transactions in the donor country.

Purpose Codes


3. In the CRS, data on the sector of destination are recorded using 5-digit purpose codes.  The first three digits of the code refer to the corresponding DAC5 sector or category.  Each CRS code belongs to one and only one DAC5 category.  Generally, the last two digits of the CRS purpose code are sequential and not hierarchical i.e., each CRS code stands for itself and can be selected individually or grouped to create sub-sectors. (The Governance and civil society, general sector is an exception where purpose codes are hierarchically structured. 


The sequential numbers have, however, been standardised for codes with similar functions as follows:

  • The most general CRS codes end in the sequential number 10.  It refers to policy, planning and programmes; administration, institution capacity building and advice; combinations of activities and unspecified activities falling outside other code headings.
  • The main codes have sequential numbers 20, 30, 40 and 50.
  • The detailed codes have sequential numbers in the range 61 - 79.
  • Sector-specific education, training and research codes have sequential numbers in the range 81 - 89.  Sector-specific services have codes with sequential numbers in the range 91  99.

Identifying the most suitable purpose code  -  Examples (see also: Guidance note on purpose coding water projects)


4. As stated above, sector coding identifies the specific areas of the recipient’s economic or social development the transfer intends to foster. 


Some examples illustrating the choices follow:

a) Construction of housing for experts working on an agricultural development project:  The appropriate code is “agricultural development” (31120) and not “housing policy and administrative management”.

Construction of apartments in three cities: The appropriate code is “housing policy and administrative management” (16030).

b) Privatisation of the National Energy Agency: The appropriate code is “energy policy and administrative management” (23010) and not “privatisation”.

State enterprise restructuring programme: - The appropriate code is “privatisation” (25020).

c) Assistance to Ministry of Education to prepare an education sector programme: The appropriate code is “education policy and administrative management” (11110) and not “public sector policy and administrative managment”.

Training of government officers in project preparation: The appropriate code is “public sector policy and administrative managment” (15110).

d) Rail equipment delivery: The appropriate code is “rail transport” (21030).

Rail equipment production: The appropriate code is “transport equipment industry” (32172).

e) Fertilizer delivery: The appropriate code is “agricultural inputs” (31150) and not “import support (commodities)”.

Import of general goods and services: The appropriate code is “import support (commodities)” (53040).


5. Within each sector, care should be taken to allocate supplies, equipment and infrastructure to the most specific code available. 


For example:

a) Construction of a tuberculosis clinic: The appropriate code is “tuberculosis control” (12263) and neither “basic health infrastructure” or ínfectious disease control"(12250).

District hospitals rehabilitation programme: The appropriate code is “basic health infrastructure” (12230).

b) Primary school books delivery: The appropriate code is “primary education” (11220) and not “education facilities and training”.

Paper supply for printing school books: The appropriate code is “education facilities and training” (11120).


6. Sector specific education activities are to be included in the respective sectors, either in a specific education code or in a general code. 


For example:

a) Upgrading of an agricultural training centre: The appropriate code is “agricultural education” (31181).

b) Environmental training course for mineral resource department:The appropriate code is “Mineral/mining policy and administrative management” (32210) and neither “environmental education/training” nor “advanced technical and managerial training”.


When the purpose code does not match precisely the activity being reported


7. Within each sector or category, the first purpose code listed (sequential number “10”) is defined to include activities falling outside the other code headings.  When using this code, give as much detail as possible in the written description.


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