• Background paper
  • 25 September 2017

An introduction to ODA modernisation

Demystifying the process of ODA modernisation for the development community


Cordelia Lonsdale, Rob Tew

The process of ODA modernisation – or ‘aid reform’ – being led by the OECD DAC will affect all official development assistance (ODA). This background paper is part of a series of materials prepared by Development Initiatives to demystify the process of ODA modernisation for the development community.

The OECD DAC – the membership group of developed countries that provide ODA, or aid – has embarked on a process of modernising its system for how aid is monitored, measured and reported, potentially changing the fundamental nature of ODA. The rule changes are expected to be adopted at the High Level Meeting in October 2017.

This background paper provides an overview of the drivers behind aid reform, what the process and timelines for change look like, and a summary of the key changes expected,  unpacking what the technical changes mean for how aid is reported and the potential impact on ODA levels. Modernisation includes changes to rules on ODA loans and debt relief; new purpose codes and sector codes; changes to in-donor refugee costs; the introduction of new forms of aid aimed at ‘mobilising’ private investments for development; and new peace and security related activities.

The paper also explores implications for policy and practice, and for anyone who works with ODA data – including researchers, data analysts, journalists and other data users.

It deals in more depth with content introduced in the animated presentation ‘Changing the rules of aid: Understanding ODA modernisation’, and supports the interactive webinar delivered by Development Initiatives’ ODA topic experts Cordelia Lonsdale and Rob Tew. You can view the webinar recording below.Lonsdale


Learn more about ODA modernisation

Blog: New private sector instruments seen by stakeholders as the most important change to ODA

Animated presentation: Changing the rules of aid: understanding ODA modernisation