Term Definition
Affected country

The country where the emergency is taking place.

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.


The FTS database records flows of funding, and draws boundaries around (combinations of) flow properties to calculate totals. Examples of common boundaries are a response plan/appeal or a combination of a (donor or affected) country and a year. Drawing a boundary classifies the flows in the database into those crossing the boundary inward (incoming flows), those originating and terminating within the boundary (internal flows), those crossing it outwards (outgoing flows), and a fourth category that is not displayed  - those that are irrelevant to the boundary because they originate and terminate outside of it.


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.

Cash Transfer Programming (CTP)

CTP refers to all programs where cash (or vouchers for goods or services) is directly provided to beneficiaries. FTS refers to all other humanitarian assistence as traditional aid. For more information, see the Cash Learning Partnership. 

Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)

CERF pools contributions from donors – mainly governments but also, foundations, companies, charities and individuals – into a single fund that has an annual target. This money is set aside for immediate use at the onset of emergencies, in rapidly deteriorating situations (rapid response) and in protracted crises that fail to attract sufficient resources (underfunded emergencies). See: <http://www.unocha.org/cerf/about-us/who-we-are>

Child flow

The FTS database allows funding flows to be linked together to represent funding cascading through the implementation chain from primary donors to field implementers. When flows are chained together in this way, any flow downstream of the flow being viewed is referred to a as child flow. All child flows have a parent flow upstream. 


Clusters are groups of humanitarian organizations (UN and non-UN) working in the main sectors of humanitarian action, e.g. shelter and health. They are created when clear humanitarian needs exist within a sector, when there are numerous actors within sectors and when national authorities need coordination support. http://www.unocha.org/what-we-do/coordination-tools/cluster-coordination

Cluster not yet specified

This is funding that has not yet been allocated to a specific sector - most usually where donors have provided unearmarked funding and where we have yet to receive agency reports as to the specific allocation.

Common humanitarian funds (CHFs)

Common humanitarian funds (CHFs) are country-based pooled funds (CBPFs) that provide early and predictable funding to NGOs and UN agencies for their response to critical humanitarian needs. See: <https://docs.unocha.org/sites/dms/Documents/CHF%20Overview%20Sept12%20fi...

Consolidated appeals process (CAP)

The consolidated appeal process (CAP) was the tool used by humanitarian organizations to jointly plan, implement and monitor their activities prior to September 2013.


The payment or transfer of funds or in-kind goods from the donor towards the appealing agency.

Decision date

The date on which a donor is reported to have made a funding commitment.

Donor government

The government contributing funds and/or in kind goods for an emergency. The funding can be channelled through UN agencies, funds, NGOs and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and sometimes directly to the affected government.

Donor organization

A donor organization can be a government, UN agency, fund or private organization making a contribution.


Earmarking is the practice of specifying the purpose of a funding allocation. In reality, there are degrees of earmarking: funds might be earmarked to the level of a country, crisis, sector, population or project for example. FTS treats any funds specified 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”.


The European Disaster Response Information System (EDRIS), managed by the European Commission Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), contains data on contributions to humanitarian aid by DG ECHO and European Union (EU) member states. This information is transmitted electronically to FTS. See: <https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/hac/index.cfm>


An emergency is a crisis that calls for a humanitarian response. The emergency may or may not have a humanitarian response plan, flash appeal or regional response plan.

Flash appeal

An inter-agency humanitarian response strategy to a major disaster that requires a coordinated response beyond the capacity of the government plus any single agency. The plan addresses acute needs for a common planning horizon, normally up to six months.


FTS tracks funding flows, which is the term used to describe individual funding records in the FTS database. Funding flows can be linked together; any flow upstream of the flow being viewed is referred to as a parent flow and any flow(s) downstream are child flows. Boundaries classify relevant flows into the categories incoming, internal and outgoing

Funding progress

The term 'funding progress' is an alternative to 'Percentage of requirements met' - i.e. the funding received as a percentage of either the initial or revised requirements.

Humanitarian aid

An intervention to help people affected by natural disasters and conflict to meet their basic needs and rights. Criteria for the inclusion of pledges and funding in FTS can be found here: https://fts.unocha.org/exception-docs/AboutFTS/FTS_criteria_for_posting_... FTS Definition of humanitarian aid for statistical purposes.

Humanitarian programming cycle (HPC)

The humanitarian programme cycle (HPC) is the coordinated series of actions undertaken to prepare for, manage and deliver humanitarian response. The HPC process in each country is owned and managed by humanitarian actors on the ground. The first step in the planning cycle for protracted crises is coordinated needs assessment and analysis, the outcome of which is a humanitarian needs overview (HNO) detailing the key humanitarian issues. Based on the HNO, the country team formulates a response analysis with targets and boundaries, sets strategic objectives and develops cluster plans aimed at meeting those objectives. These strategic country objectives and cluster plans form the humanitarian response plan (HRP), which is the primary planning tool for the HC/HCT. In sudden onset emergencies such as floods or earthquakes, a preliminary response plan/flash appeal (PRP) produced in the first few days of the event serves as the initial planning tool.

Humanitarian response plan (HRP)

The humanitarian response plan (HRP) articulates a shared vision of how to respond to the affected population’s assessed and expressed needs. It is a management tool for response and supports decision-making by the humanitarian country team. It has two interlinked components: a country or context strategy, with strategic objectives and indicators; and cluster plans, with objectives, activities and accompanying projects. Together they detail how the strategy will be implemented and how much funding is required. HRPs also serve as fundraising tools, which can be shared with donors and partners to communicate the strategic priorities of the response. Needs and requirements are recorded in FTS and summarised in the annual Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO) each December. A status report is published at mid-year.


The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) is an inter-agency forum for coordination, policy development and decision-making involving the key UN and non-UN humanitarian partners. The IASC was established in June 1992 in response to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/182 on the strengthening of humanitarian assistance. General Assembly Resolution 48/57 affirmed its role as the primary mechanism for inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance.Under the leadership of the Emergency Relief Coordinator, the IASC develops humanitarian policies, agrees on a clear division of responsibility for the various aspects of humanitarian assistance, identifies and addresses gaps in response, and advocates for effective application of humanitarian principles.


Non-cash assistance provided in the form of materials or services (e.g. food, tents, secondment of staff).

Incoming (flow)

Incoming flows are flows which cross a given search boundary inwards. If the boundary is e.g. an affected country and year, flows originating in donor countries or multilateral organisations attributed to the country are incoming flows, as is carry-over from a previous year.  To avoid double-counting, incoming flows should never be added to internal flows.

Initial requirements

This is the net overall amount requested to fund an appeal/response plan at launch. Requirements can be revised during the plan or appeal's lifetime.

Internal (flow)

Internal flows are flows which originate and terminate within a given search boundary. If the boundary is e.g. an affected country and year, flows representing reallocations of funding within the country are internal flows. To avoid double-counting, internal flows should never be added to incoming flows


Multi-sector' refers to projects and activities with no one dominant sector and often applies to UNHCR assistance for refugees. (Note this is different to 'sector/cluster not yet specified'.)

Other contributions (to projects not listed in the response plan/appeal)

Contributions reported by donors for emergency assistance but not applied to projects listed in a response plan/appeal.

Outgoing (flows)

Outgoing flows are flows which originate within and terminate outside a given search boundary. If the boundary is e.g. an affected country and year, flows representing carry-overs to the next year are outgoing flows.

Outstanding pledges

FTS shows the 'outstanding' (not 'total initial') pledge amount. Pledges might or might not include verbal pledges of financial support made at pledging conferences.

Parent flow

The FTS database allows funding flows to be linked together to represent funding cascading through the implementation chain from primary donors to field implementers. When flows are chained together in this way, any flow upstream of the flow being viewed is referred to as the parent flow. All parent flows have one or more child flows downstream. 


A non-binding announcement of an intended contribution or allocation by the donor. The recipient organization and response plan or project are not necessarily specified. As soon as a commitment is reported to FTS against a pledge, the amount in the pledge column is reduced accordingly. FTS tables therefore show the 'outstanding' (not 'total original') pledge amount. The information is reported to us directly by donors and agencies and may or may not include verbal commitments made at pledging conferences.

Private contributions

Private contributions represent funding that has not been provided by a donor government. They include contributions from both individuals and the private sector.

Regional response plans (RRPs)

An inter-agency response plan, coordinated by UNHCR.

Total funding

Total funding includes contributions, commitments and carry-over unless otherwise specified.

Traditional aid

Traditional aid refers to all humanitarian assistence that is not cash-transfer programming, whether it be provided by funding projects or distributing in-kind goods and services. In other words, traditional aid refers to all assistance that is not cash-transfer programming


See 'Earmarked'.

Unmet requirements

The outstandng amount required to meet a response plan or appeal's requirements.