Term Definition
Affected country

The country where the emergency is taking place.

Affiliated NGO

NGOs/CSOs that are affiliated to an international organization through inter-linked financing, contracting, governance and/or decision-making systems. This category does not include local and national organizations that are part of networks, confederations or alliances wherein those organisations maintain independent fundraising and governance systems.

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. In FTS a carry over contribution relates to a lump sum carried forward by the recipient organization with no specific original donor identified.

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 assistance modalities as traditional aid. The CTP can be of three types: cash, mobile phone transfer and vouchers. 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: <>

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. The activation of clusters is based on a consultatvie process and the proposal is transmitted to IASC Principals and Global Clusters for approval within 24 hours. The Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator is informed accordingly. Visit the link for additional information on the Activation of Cluster  and their ToR.

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.


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.

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: <

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”.

Earmarking modalities

Earmarking modalities are identified as Unearmarked, Softly earmarked, Earmarked, Tightly earmarked based on the different degrees of flexibility of contributions in alignment with the Grand Bargain definition: Unearmarked includes fully flexible core contributions and core contributions; Softly earmarked would include core contributions with limitations, contributions directed to a geographical region or a strategic objective and directed to a Country-Based Pool Funds; Earmarked includes contributions directed to an aid organization's county operations and directed to sub-objective/target; Tightly earmarked covers contributions directed to a specific project and/or directed geographically and thematically, tied financial.


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. Follow the link to see more on the ECHO and EU members states funding:


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

Flow date

The date on which the funding flow was pledged, committed or paid. If this date is not available, FTS uses the decision date or as last resort, the date the information was reported to FTS. 

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.

Gender Marker

The IASC Gender Marker is a tool that measures, on a 0-3 scale, whether or not a humanitarian project is designed to ensure women/girls and men/boys will equally benefit and/or if it will advance gender equality.  If the project has potential to generate gender equality results, the marker predicts whether the gender results are likely to be limited or significant.  The gender marker codes in FTS can facilitate country-comparative data on the percentage of projects designed to advance gender equality that were prioritized and funded.  With the 2019 Humanitarian Planning Cycle (HPC), a Gender and Age Marker will replace the IASC Gender Marker and will be applied to those HRPs that have opted for a project-based costing methodology.

Gender with Age Marker (GAM)

The IASC Gender with Age Marker (GAM) looks at the extent to which essential programming actions address gender- and age-related differences in humanitarian response.  It strengthens the original IASC Gender Marker, in use since 2009, by including age and, most significantly, by adding a monitoring.component.  WIth the 2019 Humanitarian Planning Cycle (HPC), the GAM replaces the previous IASC Gender Marker and will be applied to HRPs that have opted for a project-based costing methodology.

When applicable, the new GAM coding will be available on the data tab of each HRP page, in the “View by” drop down options. For additional information on the GAM see:

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: 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

International NGO

NGOs not based in an aid recipient country and carrying out operations in one or more aid recipient countries.

International Private Organizations and Foundations

Organizations run by private individuals or groups as a means of enterprise for profit, that are not based in an aid recipient country and carrying out operations in one or more aid recipient countries.

International Society

This organization sub-type includes the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Local and National Private Organizations and Foundations

Organizations run by private individuals or groups as a means of enterprise for profit, that are based in and operating within their own aid recipient countries and not affiliated to an international private sector organisation.

Local NGO

Local NGOs/CSOs operating in one specific, geographically defined, subnational area of an aid recipient country, without affiliation to an international NGO/CSO. This category can also include community-based organisations and local faith-based organisations.


In line with the HFTT Localization Working Group and Grand Bargain Workstream 2, FTS has re-aligned its database to accomodate updated organizational types and sub-types.  This change will allow for more visibility on the amount of humanitarian funding received by local and national actors.  Note that as this work is in progress, some organizations still remain uncategorized.  For more information on localization, including the definitions used to categorize the organizations in the FTS database, please see the below materials:

HFTT Localization Definitions Paper

Grand Bargain Categories for Tracking Funding to Local and National Actors

For more information on each NGO category in FTS, please see the related glossary terms: Local NGO, National NGO, International NGO, Affiliated NGO, Uncategorized NGO


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'.)

Multiple value parameters

The FTS database handles ambiguity in several ways. One of these is by allowing a flow to be linked to multiple values of destination parameters, such as to multiple destination countries (for e.g. regional funding) or multiple destination years (multi-year contributions). This is typically used in cases where such details are provided but a breakdown is unavailable, thus the flow to multiple destinations will be recorded. Search queries return all flows relevant to the boundary specififed, including any flows with valued shared on the boundary, which is to say with multiple values for a parameter included in the boundary, but in those cases, the flows to multiple years or countries will not be included in the totals for the individual years or countries. 

Multiple value parameters are easily recognizable in Data Search results and downloads as they are coloured blue and separated with a | (pipe) character.

National NGO

National NGOs/CSOs operating in the aid recipient country in which they are headquartered, working in multiple subnational regions, and not affiliated to an international NGO. This category can also include national faith-based organisations.

Some of the NGOs currently in the National NGO category will likely be re-categorized as Local NGOs following the process to refine and review organizational types and sub-types.  Note that this means that the National NGO category likely includes an undertermined number of Local NGOs.  For additional information, please check the glossary entries for Local NGO and Localization.

New money

This flag is applied to flows to explicitly identify them as initial contributions to the humanitarian system and ensure that they will not be categorized as reallocations lower down the funding chain for any given query scenario.

Other funding

We refer to 'Other funding" or funding "outside the appeal" as to all reported humanitarian funding not towards the Response plan/appeal, therefore outside the Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs) activities or projects.

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. 

Parked - flow type

A ‘parked’ flow refers to a funding flow that initially may not be allocated to specific organizations or sectors, but for which additional information is forthcoming. ‘Parked’ funding is usually a parent flow (see glossary for parent flow) with a number of linked child flows. Parking a parent flow allows the children to reflect the source information from the linked parent. Parked records are either major funding decisions (e.g. ECHO decisions that begin as a large funding envelope without destination organizations) where the information on recipients is determined at a later time (and added as child flows), or multi-year funding records where yearly contributions are broken down as child flows of the 'parked' flow.

Pass-through funding

Pass-through funding refers to downstream funding allocations (e.g. Donor to UN Agency to NGO, Donor to International NGO to Local NGO, etc.). 


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.

Red Cross/Red Crescent National Society

National Societies that are based in and operating within their own aid recipient countries.

Regional response plans (RRPs)

An inter-agency response plan, coordinated by UNHCR.


Sector refers to a discrete technical area of humanitarian action. Differently from countries where a cluster system is activated and the Cluster Lead is accountable to the Humanitarian Coordinator, we refer to "Sectors" when the Government has the responsibiity for coordination. In FTS the data option "View by Sector" applies exclusivley to Country pages, while "View by Sector/Cluster" applies exclusively to Appeal pages. In general, each contribution, supporting activities towards a plan/appeal and outside a plan/appeal, is assigned to a technical area of humanitarian action. Follow the link to read more on the differences between Sector and Cluster. 

Shared on boundary (multiple value parameters)

The FTS database handles ambiguity in several ways. One of these is by allowing a flow to be linked to multiple values of destination parameters, such as to multiple destination counties (for e.g. regional funding) or multiple destination years (multi-year contributions). This is used typically in cases where such details are provided but a breakdown is unavailable, thus the flow to multiple destinations will be recorded.

When searching for flows in relation to a given boundary, flows with multiple values relevant to the search boundary are returned, but not included in totals for that parameter. For example, a search for all flows to destination year = 2017 will include flows with multiple destination years 2017, 2018, 2019, but their value is not added to the totals for 2017 since no specifc breakdown is available. Likewise, a search for flows in relation to the boundary destination country = Lebanon will include flows with multiple destination countries Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, but will not be included in totals for any of those countries.

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

UN Agency

Agencies and offices of the United Nations system.


Organizations for which a category type is not yet applied.


See 'Earmarked'.

Unmet requirements

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