What is the Financial Tracking Service (FTS) and How to use it?

What is FTS?

The Financial Tracking Service (FTS) is a centralized source of curated, continuously updated, fully downloadable data and information on humanitarian funding flows. Government donors, UN-administered funds, UN agencies, NGOs and other humanitarian actors exchange data and information with FTS in order to provide:

  • a timely and continuously updated picture of funding flows into existing humanitarian operations
  • funding progress against humanitarian response plan and related appeal requirements, sectoral breakdown and information on existing gaps
  • visibility on who is funding what across humanitarian operations

FTS collects, curates and publishes all data reported to it through designated focal points within organizations. Some of this funding may contribute to collectively agreed objectives, activities and projects within Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs) while other data may fall outside existing appeals.


What kind of humanitarian funding flow data and information does FTS provide?

FTS provides information on humanitarian funding made in the form of pledges, commitments, and paid contributions. The funding type is declared by the reporting organization.

FTS counts ‘Commitment’ and ‘Paid’ contributions towards the overall funding situation as these are reported after a signed agreement or transfer of monies, respectively; while a ‘Pledge’ is recorded in FTS but not counted towards any totals until it is formalized into a commitment or paid contribution.

FTS does not record or provide information on planned contributions or contributions reported through media/social media. Such information is only used for follow-up with FTS focal persons to collect verified primary information.

With increasing pledges made by donors in the different public events held in relation to the increasing humanitarian needs across the globe, it has become even more critical to differentiate between a pledge and an actual commitment of contribution given the sad conclusion that most pledges never materialize.


Is FTS centralized or decentralized?

FTS, as part of the Humanitarian Program Cycle (HPC) tools, uses a centralized, collaborative approach. It consists of a team based in Istanbul, Turkey that works closely with stakeholders in the field and HQ to ensure that the funding information is accurate and up to date.

Reporting to FTS comes largely from agreed to focal points, some in HQ location and an increasing number of them from regional location. These focal points are agreed to by the key stakeholders. While FTS welcomes information from all stakeholders it will favor the official channels as agreed to with the stakeholders to ensure the information responds to official submissions and accountable. With that said, the information no matter if it comes from HQ or region is always curated, triangulated, verified and then uploaded to FTS for public consumption.

Historically, all donors report from capitals and EU countries report into EDRIS, an automatic system in ECHO that then shares the information with FTS.

WHO, UNFPA , WFP, UNHCR, UNICEF have centralized reporting structures. Official reports can only come from their HQs. At their request, FTS is not permitted to publish any figure reported from their country offices without each agency HQ verification and consent.

FAO, IOM and UNDP have decentralized reporting structures, therefore country representatives report to FTS.

NGOs vary and report from HQ and regional levels.


How can humanitarian partners report to FTS?

FTS is a voluntary reporting mechanism and all public and private organizations making contributions towards humanitarian outcomes in a given country are welcome to report to FTS. To ensure submissions are correctly reflected, a minimum standard of information must be submitted to FTS. Reporters are encouraged to submit information using the   financial information submission form which includes the following fields:

  • Source organization – All acronyms spelled out
  • Recipient organization– All acronyms spelled out
  • Destination Country
  • Response plan or appeal name (and project code, if applicable)
  • Brief project description
  • Type of funding (financial, in-kind)
  • Status (pledge, commitment, paid contribution)
  • Amount in original currency
  • Amount in US $
  • Annual portions in US$ for Multi-year (MY) grants (Year 1, Year 2...)
  • Decision date
  • Sector/field cluster
  • Anonymize recipient organization name? (Yes/No)
  • Details on cash-transfer programming; multiyear award (provide the amount per year breakdown);un-earmarked/core funding (see the earmarking modalities in the Glossary)

Who reports to FTS?

  • If you are a Donor: ECHO and the 28 EU member states report their humanitarian contributions to the European Emergency Disaster Response Information System (EDRIS) on a continuous basis. EDRIS information management systems then transfer data to the FTS team. The data is then prioritized for curation (verification and validation) alongside other incoming information on a daily basis. To complement their EDRIS process, some EU member states have centralized FTS focal points (i.e. a designated person or department reports in HQ), that helps with the curation process of EU submitted financial data. Government donors that do not report through EDRIS (i.e. non-EU Member States) report to FTS directly through a designated representative (either their permanent missions in Geneva or New York; field offices; or ministries at HQ level). Donor representatives at country level liaise directly with HQ FTS focal points to ensure the correct financial information is uploaded to FTS and to ensure consistent funding data at all levels.
  • If you are a UN Agency, Fund or Programme (UNAFP): UNAFPs report to FTS their financial humanitarian contributions through a centralized mechanism, with focal point submitting regular reports from their Headquarters. Some report to FTS from regional hubs. If you are a UNAFP in the field, please liaise directly with your FTS focal point at HQ or region.
  • If you are an Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs): International, national, and local NGOs normally report to FTS using the standard template. If you are in a field operation and you wish to report, please ensure to report the details as required by the FTS template available online.
  • If you are part of the Private Sector: Private sector entities are encouraged to report to FTS using the standard template where in-kind contributions can also be recorded.
  • If you are an Affected Governments (i.e. where a humanitarian crisis is taking place): Affected governments can also report and register contributions on FTS by using the standard template.
  • If you are Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) or Country-based pooled funds (CBPF) Fund focal point: CERF data is provided by the CERF Secretariat and cross-checked by the FTS team against both donor and recipient agency reports. Country-based pooled funds (CBPF) data comes from various sources, including the UNDP Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office and OCHA’s OCT. Information on CBPFs allocations is provided through OCHA Grant Management System (GMS).


What happens to the information that is reported to FTS?

The information that is reported to FTS undergoes a curation process, verification and validation, and is then uploaded to the system with the final goal of informing humanitarian decision making. The standard time for processing varies according to the information submitted and depending on the quality of data provided. The diagram below summarizes the process.

What is the role of Cluster Lead Agencies (CLAs) in FTS?

At the country level the Cluster Lead Agencies (CLAs) liaise with OCHA to determine the cluster’s financial requirement and to monitor progress against the requirements. CLAs do this by coordinating closely with their membership and with the OCHA County Office to verify the accuracy of funding data on FTS.

Clusters can also play a role in identifying cluster information or cluster level breakdown for funding that is recorded in FTS but is shared across multiple clusters or does not have any cluster attributed to it. This improves the overall granularity of information and provides a better insight into funding gaps at the cluster level.

[Note: More detailed information is found in the FTS Tutorial Page]


How can OCHA field offices help FTS?

OCHA field offices and FTS work closely together, often aided by a country level Focal Point that helps to coordinate information into the system and out of the system. Main support by country operations to FTS includes, advocating to donors and other stakeholders to report to FTS through their HQ focal points to help ensure accuracy, integrating FTS training into existing HPC refreshers and capacity building efforts, and informing FTS of any support requirements. Country focal points can also provide feedback to FTS team on data discrepancies, missing information, and additional information such as sectoral breakdown, or funding attribution towards a plan.

[Note: More detailed information is found in the FTS Tutorial Page]


Does FTS take into consideration field level financial tracking?

Indeed. FTS works with all stakeholders on financial tracking including field to collect granular information. It is not uncommon to receive multiple reports on the same funding contribution (with varying level of details). FTS team uses data curation methods to triangulate the information and present it in a way that is complete, coherent, and non-overlapping.

Some operations in the field develop and maintain their own parallel humanitarian funding spreadsheets to track funding at the field level. While information in such matrices may give an overview and some clues for FTS to follow-up, such systems are not automatically inputted into FTS given the threshold upheld by FTS in terms of posting only information that comes from agreed to focal points that is then curated, triangulated and verified. When field level financial tracking is inconsistent with FTS it is often due to:

  • Inconsistent ingestion and curation methodologies
  • Lack of clarity on inclusion/exclusion of funding towards a plan.
  • Double counting

The use of corporate standards awarded by the HPC tools, including FTS helps provide more consistent and reliable information. With that said, given the goal of FTS to ensure timely and accurate funding flows information it is committed to pursuing all information it receives and ensuring it meets the agreed to standards before reporting it. This enables its users to ensure the information on the platform is not accurate but the most up to date information available.

What are the biggest weaknesses of FTS?

FTS was designed at a time when humanitarian funding flows were significantly smaller than what we see today. In 2021 alone the FTS team manually curated, validated and processed over 30 billion dollars in humanitarian monies across the globe. $20 billion of those monies went to coordinated humanitarian response efforts. In comparison as recent as 2014 the same number of people processed half the amount. Because the demands on the service are growing so exponentially, FTS has embarked on a transformative process to ensure it is fit for purpose. Its transformation guarantees a strong business continuity with tailored improvements in the short term. Along with timely and accurate information on funding towards coordinated response efforts around the world, improvements like a more user friendly platform, better financial tracking of multi-year plans and regional response plans, more timely sectoral funding flow information, up to date information on funding awarded to national and local organizations are being rolled out. Its transformation will also introduce degrees of automation to help with processing and timeliness, without compromising the triangulation function that makes FTS the most reliable global system in place and a better integration with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) to continue the effort to make funding flows transparent, reliable and informative, particularly in relation to advocacy and decision making.


When was FTS established?

FTS is managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).It was established in 1992 as a follow-up toUN General Assembly Resolution 46/182,Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations a resolution that created a framework for humanitarian assistance and coordination, and which remains the basis of OCHAs mandate. FTS is rooted in and operates in support of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and the humanitarian programme cycle (formerly consolidated appeal process (CAP).FTS policies such asreporting andcriteria for what’s included as humanitarian aidare collectively determined by theIASC. The FTS team is part of the Monitoring and Tools Section (MATS), within OCHA's Analysis, Planning and Monitoring Branch (APMB), relocated to Istanbul, Turkey in 2021.